Former Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John S. Palmore, who helped shape the state’s modern unified justice system, has died. He was 99.
Harrod Brothers Funeral Home owner Will Harrod said Palmore died Tuesday morning.
Media reported that Palmore chaired a commission that drafted Kentucky’s criminal code, authored more than 800 published opinions and wrote a manual on jury instructions that are still used in courtrooms today. In addition, he helped adopt and implement judicial reforms in the 1970s that brought about the state’s current judicial system.
“There is probably no individual who did more to shape the law in Kentucky in the 20th century than John Palmore,” said current Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton. “He is a towering figure in Kentucky law.”
Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd said Palmore had a profound impact on the state’s judiciary system in his more than 20 years of service.
“It’s fitting he passed on July 4 given he was a great patriot and had an abiding faith in the U.S. Constitution and its promises of equality and justice under law,” Shepherd said.
Palmore was a prosecutor before being elected in 1959 to serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He served as chief justice on the Supreme Court from 1977 until he retired in 1982.
Herrod said the family plans a private service.