In a Letter, Kentucky Prosecutor Asked Former Grand Jurors to Support a Judicial Candidate

In the days leading up to Tuesday’s primary election, Kentuckians tended to get a lot of mail soliciting support for candidates.

Maybe it’s a postcard touting (or criticizing) a candidate. Maybe it’s an official-looking letter from a commonwealth’s attorney urging former grand jurors to support a candidate for circuit court judge. 

That’s the case in Northern Kentucky, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting revealed today.

In his latest story, the KyCIR’s James McNair reports on  a letter sent by Kenton commonwealth’s attorney Rob Sanders asking the recipients to support James Redwine, his assistant commonwealth’s attorney and a candidate for circuit court judge.

From KyCIR: In Judge’s Race, Kentucky Prosecutor Turns to Grand Jury

Unlike trial jurors, grand jurors’ names are usually kept secret. In the KyCIR’s story, critics question the appropriateness of these letters.

Redwine faces four opponents in his race to fill the Circuit Court vacancy left by the retiring Martin Sheehan. All said they had seen copies of the Sanders endorsement letter. They reacted with varying degrees of concern.

“I’m concerned about the use of the seal of Kentucky and the office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney to endorse a candidate who will be adjudicating cases in front of the endorser,” said Bob Winter, a lawyer in private practice.

Candidate Kathy Lape was also disturbed by the letter.

“People go into service as a juror — and then they end up on someone’s campaign list?” she said. “That’s terrible. There’s something wrong with that.”

You can read the full story here.

The KyCIR also wants to see more questionable campaign mailers. If you have one, you can reach them at investigate@kycir.org.

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