On Wednesday, November 15, 2023, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission privately reprimanded a judge for participating in a local Republican Party parade prior to taking office.

In an agreed order of private reprimand, the Commission concluded the judge violated rules requiring impartiality and prohibiting endorsements from political organizations during their campaign.

Specifically, the commission’s investigation found that during the campaign and before assuming the bench, the judge participated in a parade with the local Republican Party by providing campaign signs and walking near the party’s float.

The order states this conduct violated rules under the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct requiring judges to act with independence, integrity, and impartiality. It also broke the rule barring judges from seeking, accepting, or using endorsements from political organizations.

While not named in the order, the Commission dealt with the matter through a private reprimand after the judge fully cooperated with the inquiry and agreed to the disciplinary action.

Private reprimands are issued for minor misconduct and kept confidential. They signify the judge was found to have committed an ethics violation but do not involve a public sanction or suspension.

The reprimand serves as a caution to judicial candidates to avoid close affiliation with political parties that could undermine perceptions of impartiality and independence should they take office.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.