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Judge Shea Nickell Running for Supreme Court Seat
By West Kentucky Star Staff
FRANKFORT - Judge Shea Nickell has filed to run for the Kentucky Supreme Court to fill the unexpired term of recently retired Justice Bill Cunningham.

Judge Nickell has served twelve years on the fourteen-member Court of Appeals and was recently elected Chief Judge Pro Tem by fellow judges.  He served seven years as chairperson of the Court’s personnel committee, assisting with the hiring of all central office appellate staff attorneys and development of their research, analysis, and writing skills.  He continues to serve on the Judicial Compensation Commission, chaired by Chief Justice John Minton of the Kentucky Supreme Court, working with staff at the Administrative Office of the Courts, circuit court clerks, and other trial and appellate judges to shape judicial budgetary priorities.

In a Tuesday press release, Nickell said he has brought numerous panels of the Court of Appeals to western Kentucky courtrooms to allow local attorneys, students, and private citizens greater knowledge of the workings of the Court. He says he has also championed fair compensation for appellate clerks and staff attorneys and greater cost-saving utilization of developing technologies.

Nickell will not seek Governor Bevin’s appointment to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, stating “To accept a temporary appointment I would be forced to abandon the important duties I was elected to perform on the Court of Appeals.”  Instead, he plans to maintain his focus on producing fair and well-reasoned decisions on the lower appellate court, while asking voters to select him as their permanent Supreme Court Justice in the November election.

Judge Nickell expressed his hope that several well-qualified, service-minded senior, retired, or retiring judges or attorneys from across the First Appellate Judicial District will allow their names to be considered for the temporary appointment without seeking election.

A native of Paducah, Judge Nickell majored in both political science and communications at DePauw University before graduating in 1984 from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was elected president of the Student Bar Association.  He practiced law twenty-two years prior to becoming an appellate judge, serving as a trial and appellate attorney, prosecutor, and public defender, and as a college instructor at Murray State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In 1995, the Kentucky Bar Association named him the Outstanding Kentucky Young Lawyer.

He is married to Dr. Carolyn Watson, a Paducah pathologist, who serves as a trustee of the Kentucky Medical Association and as music director at Paducah’s Highland Baptist Church.  His parents, now deceased, were each retired school teachers and principals.

The First Appellate Judicial District includes the twenty-four counties of Allen, Ballard, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Crittenden, Edmonson, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Hopkins, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Muhlenberg, Simpson, Todd, Trigg, and Webster.

The judicial election is nonpartisan.

Published 06:13 AM, Tuesday Feb. 05, 2019
Updated 08:46 PM, Tuesday Feb. 05, 2019

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