Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

January 23, 2013

Brandon Ison: a profile in change

By Leeann Akers - Editor

Jan. 23, 2013 — Doing the right thing has always been Brandon Ison’s main goal.

Ison, a Morgan County native, took his oath into the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney on Jan. 7 in Carter Circuit Court before facing his first official day on the job.

Ison will serve in the 37th Judicial Circuit, which includes Carter, Elliott and Morgan counties.  He has been preparing to take the reins from outgoing Gary Conn.  

“I have been working in the office for a couple of months,” Ison said.  “I’ve been familiarizing myself with the files and spending some time in the courtroom. Gary (Conn) was nice enough to let me come work in the office to prepare for what was coming up on the dockets.”

Ison is stepping into the CA position in the middle of some very complex cases, including homicide, sexual abuse, and a host of drug related felonies.

Ison will prosecute his first trial in Carter County in less than a month. The trial of John A. Rowe, a 28 year old Grayson man facing two counts of first degree sodomy, is slated to begin Feb. 19.

In spite of hitting the ground running, Ison plans to make some big changes in how things are handled from within the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.

Ison will utilize his first assistant, Attorney Derrick Willis, in many preliminary proceedings in Carter County. Ison and Willis attended Morehead State University together, where they became friends.

“Derrick will do a lot of the motion hours and arraignments,” Ison explained. “I will be focused on the A and B felonies and the dockets over in Morgan and Elliott counties.”

Ison’s other assistant, Attorney Eddie Keeton, has been in the business long enough to plan for retirement. Keeton generally presents cases to the grand jury, but plans to retire in June. Ison says that event will mark another transition for his office.

“I plan on taking the grand jury duties myself,” Ison said. “I think it is important to be the first line to review these cases before they are presented to the grand jury. It gives a good way to interact with the public, and they see that side of the job. Also it is a good way to see cases from the beginning to the end.”

Ison said former Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Conn handled some things differently, but Ison hopes his way will work just as well. “This approach will hopefully allow me to be on top of every case,” Ison said. “I hope to not have to ask for a continuance and things will be more fluid in the courtroom.”

Ison admits he has a hard time delegating, but is confident in both of his assistants and their abilities.

“You can’t do it all,” Ison said. “The plan as of now is to let go of some of the docket and take on different cases. We want to get tougher on the drug crimes and hopefully help alleviate some of the problems this area is facing.”

Ison is a graduate of the Appalachian School of Law. He lives in Morgan County with his wife and daughter.

Leeann Akers can be reached at or by phone at 474-5101.