Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell will seek a second term in office.
The 64-year-old O’Connell is a Democrat who was first appointed to the position by former Mayor Jerry Abramson in 2008. He was elected to serve a full term two years later after defeating Republican Michael Wilson.
The county attorney’s office is responsible for representing the legal interests of Metro government and prosecuting Jefferson County District Court cases. It also covers issues such as child support collection and DUI cases.
O’Connell says since merger it has taken on additional roles and a greater responsibility has come with the office.
“I think it’s a great, important office that does so much important work for the citizens of this community both on the criminal justice side and on the civil side for all the work we do for Metro government. And since the merger it’s just become an office that has so many facets to it,” he says.
Last year, O’Connell came out in favor of lifting confidentiality on juvenile court cases after 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich faced contempt charges for revealing the names of two boys who sexually assaulted her.
In 2011, O’Connell sued the University of Louisville in an effort to obtain records related to the pending U of L Hospital merger with Catholic Health Initiatives and Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare.
O’Connell’s first term hasn’t been without controversy, however.
In January, he penned a controversial letter to local judges demanding they put a stop to lenient sentences for drunk driving cases. District Court judges reportedly found O’Connell’s letter “inappropriate” and “offensive,” and some defense attorneys questioned if it violated Kentucky’s legal ethics rules.
No other candidates have voiced interest in the county attorney race thus far.