Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

October 3, 2012

Injunction requested in KJA case

By Leeann Akers - Managing Editor
Journal-Times

Oct. 3, 2012 — A motion for an emergency temporary injunction has been filed in Franklin Circuit Court in the case of the Kentucky Jailers' Association vs. the Northeastern Regional Jail Authority.

The motion is scheduled to be heard Wednesday, Oct. 3, in Franklin Circuit Court.

In the motion, KJA lawyer Jim Deckard asked that the Kentucky Department of Local Government be barred from taking action on an interlocal agreement between Boyd and Carter counties until the case has been heard in Franklin Circuit Court.

The DLG has 60 days to approve or disapprove an interlocal agreement once it is submitted. If the DLG does not respond to a submitted interlocal agreement within the 60 day time limit, the agreement is considered to be approved under KRS 65.260.

The KJA argues that the agreement, if approved, would strip oversight of the Boyd and Carter jails from the elected jailers, R.W. Boggs in Carter and Joe Burchett in Boyd, merging the oversight of those jails under one authority.

According to the motion, the DLG is in agreement with the KJA, and believes that the question of the validity of the agreement should be determined in Franklin Circuit Court.

Deckard argues that the NRJA violates the “statutory framework” for a regional jail authority, which was created by the General Assembly in 1994; that the duties of the jailers, established by statute and by the state constitution, are “unlawfully impeded” by the authority; and that the Carter Fiscal Court’s approval of the enabling legislation for the authority is invalid because the May 29 meeting at which first readings of the two measures were approved was held in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act.

The suit seeks a declaration of the plaintiffs’ rights, along with a final judgment incorporating those rights, plus all other relief to which the plaintiffs may be entitled.

The part of the case which addresses the May 29 special is also part of a case in Carter Circuit Court. Renee Stewart, represented by Attorney Sebastian Joy, and Carter County Attorney Patrick Flannery filed a suit in response to an opinion of the Attorney General’s office which stated that the AG could not determine if the May 29 meeting violated the Open Meeting Act.

The case was slated to be heard in Carter Circuit Court on Sept. 25, but Judge Rebecca Phillips recused herself on Sept. 21. Circuit Judge John David Preston of Lawrence, Johnson, and Martin counties has been appointed to the case, which is now set to be heard on Nov. 2.