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New filing sheds light on JCC’s case against Jameson

FRANKFORT, KY – The Judicial Conduct Commission submitted supplemental findings of fact, conclusions of law and final order to the Kentucky Supreme Court regarding its proceedings against a former circuit court judge for the 42nd Judicial Circuit, which covers Marshall and Calloway counties, on Tuesday. Ultimately, the supplemental filing reaches the same conclusion as the original; however, it provides significantly more details about the Commission’s justification for removing James (Jamie) Jameson from office.

The JCC brought formal charges against Jameson last June. Following a temporary suspension hearing in August and a final hearing in October, which lasted four days, the Commission entered its final order on Nov. 4. By a 5-0 vote, the judge was found guilty on seven counts of misconduct. Ten days later, Jameson appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the findings of fact and conclusions of law the JCC issued with its final order were deficient, lacking the specificity necessary for an adequate review, and ordered the Commission to supplement the document. 

Noting the high court’s request for supplemental findings of fact and conclusions of law is unprecedented, Tuesday’s filing doubles-down on the Commission’s initial finding that Jameson is unfit for office, reaffirming its decision to remove the judge from his seat and unequivocally stating that Jameson should be barred from serving in a judicial capacity “in the indefinite future.”

At two-times the length of the initial findings, conclusions of law and final order entered by the JCC, the 91-page document filed this week offers a detailed accounting of the JCC’s interactions with Jameson going back to 2016, well in advance of the complaint filed in the summer of 2021 that, eventually, launched the formal proceedings against him.

Between 2016 and 2021, Jameson appeared before the Commission three times. He did not receive formal disciplinary action; however, he was “admonished” (warned) for two of the complaints.

The JCC noted that the 2016 complaint was reminiscent of the formal proceedings against Jameson initiated in June of last year because “it raised strikingly similar issues involving an out-patient substance use treatment program” as well as Jameson ordering defendants to participate in the program.

“His prior appearances before the Commission are relevant,” the document states, “because they show Judge Jameson, more than once, has been cautioned or admonished to maintain his constitutional role of being judge or, phrased colloquially, to ‘stay in his lane’ and not engage in activities reserved to the other branches of government.”

“Judge Jameson did not heed these multiple warnings,” the document continues. “The substantial evidence presented at the Final Hearing clearly and convincingly persuaded the Commission members that Judge Jameson was unable or unwilling to conform his conduct to the constitutional office he held as a judge. He did not turn to the Canons as his guide but was driven instead by personal desires to bring to reality his vision of an in-patient substance use disorder (SUD) center. Those desires, or his “dreams” as he described them, were the catalyst for some of his decisions to violate the Canons. Judge Jameson’s altruistic intentions, however sincerely held and true, do not justify or excuse his serious violations of the Canons, violations established by substantial evidence.”

The November order suggested that factual evidence presented during the proceedings revealed potential criminal activity, particularly evidence around Jameson’s role in developing a request for proposals for the fiscal courts of Calloway and Marshall counties for ankle monitor services and that pursuing criminal charges is beyond the scope of its authority. In the new filing, the JCC used stronger language.

“It is the Commission’s conclusion that there are other, deep-seated issues to be addressed with Judge Jameson, but these are well beyond the jurisdiction of the Commission,” the supplemental findings state. “… The Commission is not tasked with investigating or charging any others who may have been involved in Judge Jameson’s activities or what has been uncovered by this Hearing on the bid rigging ‘issues’ within the counties and among the participants. However, those issues do not, and should not, go unnoticed.”

Now that the supplemental document has been submitted, the case before the Supreme Court may now proceed. Both Jameson and the JCC have requested oral arguments. The court has yet to determine whether it will grant that request.

Sentinel Staff

Jessica Paine
I’m Jessica Paine, founder of The Murray Sentinel. You may know me from my time as a citizen journalist, running the Calloway Covid-19 Count page on Facebook, or you may be familiar with my more recent work for another local news outlet. Being that I’m “from here,” you may have known me since I was “knee-high to a grasshopper,” although you knew me as Jessica Jones. But whether you know me or not, I’m glad you found your way here.

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