Friday, August 25, 2017

Three Candidates Chosen to Replace Judge Stine


The Judicial Nominating Commission has named the three candidates that will be considered by Governor Matt Bevin to be appointed to replace Judge Fred A. Stine in Campbell County's Circuit Court.

Local attorneys, Joe Grimme, Jeffrey Sanders and Dan Zalla were the three candidates chosen among six applicants. Bevin will have 60 days to make his decision and the appointment will finish out Stine's term which ends in December 2018.

Joe Grimme. FTM file. 
If more than two candidates file to run for the seat after the appointment, the race could be on the May 2018 primary. A general election will follow in November 2018.

Grimme is a partner in the law firm of Fessler, Schneider & Grimme and previously served as a prosecutor for the Campbell County Attorney’s Office. He is also a Campbell County deputy master commissioner.

Sanders has had his own law practice for nearly 20 years.

Jeffrey Sanders. LinkedIn. 

Zalla has his own law practice and a mediation service. He served as an appointed Kenton County Circuit Court judge from August 2006-January 2007.

Local attorneys Jim Kidney and Norb Gettys also applied to the commission.

The most surprising name that entered the fray was Kentucky House Representative Joe Fischer. 
Fischer, a lawyer by profession, practices corporate law for Ohio National Financial Services and represents Campbell County in the Kentucky legislature.

A longtime conservative stalwart in Frankfort, he met with the nomination commission today and withdrew his name, citing the opportunity to work in the heavily-weighted Republican majority during the general assembly.


When a judicial vacancy occurs, a notice of vacancy is sent in the judicial circuit or the judicial district affected. Once nominations occur, the individuals interested in the position return a questionnaire to the Office of the Chief Justice, who then meets with the local Judicial Nominating Commission to choose three nominees.

The commission has seven members. The membership is comprised of the chief justice of Kentucky (who also serves as chair), two lawyers elected by all the lawyers in their circuit/district and four Kentucky citizens who are appointed by the governor. The four citizens appointed by the governor must equally represent the two major political parties, so two must be Democrats and two must be Republicans.

Locally, Fort Thomas attorney, Tim Schneider, was the attorney recently nominated by his peers to serve on the committee, along with Fort Thomas attorney, David Bender.

The citizen members of the committee are Barbara Weber, Deborah Peluso, Jim Schack and Ken Moellman Sr.

Most recently in March of 2016, the commission recommended the appointment of then Campbell County Chief Assistant Courty Attorney, Cameron Blau, to serve the 17th Judicial District in Campbell County. That appointment came after former judge, Gregory T. Popovich, resigned during the middle of his term.

Blau was chosen over retired attorney, Bob Monfort, and attorney and former City of Newport Commissioner, John Hayden.

Blau went on to defeat four other candidates in the November election to retain the seat. Fort Thomas attorney, Joe Grimme, came up 756 votes shy in his first bid at public office. Abby Voelker, Hayden and Andrea Janovic rounded out the rest of the ballot.

This story will be updated. 

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