Does Judge Charlie Cunningham have ethics problems?
Louisville, KY – Does Judge Charlie Cunningham have ethics problems while hearing the latest nuisance case by Jennifer Moore against a Republican candidate for office? On Friday Judge Charlie Cunningham decided against issuing a ruling in the case of 37th Senate District Republican candidate Chris Thieneman.
In what should have been an easy decision and a slam dunk by Thieneman, Cunningham may have played politics in this case in an attempt to get some sort of revenge on Thieneman. His history in previous election cases brings concerns in his ability to be impartial in these type of cases.
Jennifer Moore flat-out did not make her case. When a Judge asks for more evidence AFTER hearing closing arguments and the court has been recessed that is a clear indication the plaintiff did not prove their case, which of course is normal for Moore who continues getting away with wasting the court’s time, and our tax dollars, on these frivilous court cases seemingly in every election.
You can read more about Judge Cunningham and the non decision here.
But now, as Paul Harvey would say, for the rest of the story.
In 2008 Cunningham seemingly tried to benefit Democrats in the election as well only to be overturned at least twice by the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
One such case involves then District 18 Metro Council candidate Michael Perkins, Case No. 2008–CA–001604–I.
After winning the Democratic primary for the right to run in the general election for the District 18 Metro Council seat it seems Mr. Perkins had a change of heart.
On June 5, 2008, Mr. Perkins filed a withdrawal request with the Jefferson County Clerk using KRS 118.212. In that notice, Perkins stated that he would not accept the nomination or election.
Over a month later Perkins wanted to rescinded his withdrawal and was denied by the Jefferson County Board of Elections and the Jefferson County Clerk.
SO what is a Democrat to do in this case? Find a willing Judge to make it happen.
Judge Cunningham issued an order declaring that Perkins was a ‘bona fide’ candidate even though there was no statute that would allow him to make this decision.
Enter the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Their ruling cited the Supreme Court in Beckham v. Board of Education where it was stated,
As with any case involving statutory interpretation, our duty is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the General Assembly. We are not at liberty to add or subtract from the legislative enactment nor discover meaning not reasonably ascertainable from the language used.
The court went even further,
Thus, contrary to the conclusion of the circuit court, we are not free to amend an otherwise plain and unambiguous statute by adding a provision allowing a candidate to rescind an otherwise valid notice of withdrawal. Clearly, this is not a case in which the statute is vague or uncertain nor one in which public policy favors restoration of a candidate who certified to the Clerk that he would not accept the nomination or serve if elected. In fact, the equities fall more heavily against permitting such a rescission.
In the case of Thieneman Judge Cunningham has once again tried to amend even the normal process of a court proceeding by NOT ruling against Jennifer Moore for lack of evidence as clearly she failed in her burden of proof if he requested more.
The Court of Appeals in overturning Cunningham’s ruling in favor of Perkins outlined some of the problems with nuisance requests involving candidates for office. In the case of Perkins they stated the following,
Quite aside from the implications for the candidate who withdraws his name from consideration, there are consequences for the opposing candidate who is entitled to rely upon his or her opponent’s filing of a properly notarized notice of withdrawal. The opposing candidate may have suspended campaigning or fund-raising only to find that the withdrawn candidate has decided to jump back into the race. The impact of these considerations are more properly assessed and addressed by the General Assembly which presumably did not see fit to provide a mechanism for rescission.
There have been consequences for Thieneman in this case. Democrat Perry Clark has enjoyed a distinct advantage in this race due to continuing court proceedings that have already been decided previously. Twice.
Thieneman has already won two challenges against his residency so why was the third allowed? Why was no decision made either way?
Because Cunningham could not rule in favor of Jennifer Moore nor could he comfortably rule against his colleagues who had made previous decisions in this case so he did the next best thing.
Leave the shadow of doubt on Thieneman which will aid his Democratic faithful in the hopes Clark wins Tuesday making his job easier.
Fair? Ethical? The appeals court will decide this one I am sure…….eventually.
But I titled this article challenging Judge Cunningham’s ethics so how does that fit into the picture?
Cunningham’s Overhead Doors.
Approximately 8 years ago the Fort Locks Storage property that Thieneman owns and lives at was being built. Who bid on the door work?
None other than Cunningham’s who did not win the bid.
As a consolation Cunningham’s was given the maintenance work and kept that work until July of this year.
And that is where the ethics problems come into play.
How can Cunningham judge a case against a person he does business with, or did, less than 4 months ago?
Clearly losing a contract on your family business could be considered a problem when you are set to make judgement against the guy who essentially fired you, wouldn’t it? Why did Cunningham agree to take this case when he had a clear conflict of interest?
What a great opportunity to get even and help your party too right?
Judge Cunningham needs to be seriously investigated for his role in this fiasco.
If we cannot expect fair and impartial judgement from the bench then he must be removed from it.
There can be no other outcomes.
Cunningham surely knows this is not acceptable behavior and the case should be thrown out immediately or ruled in favor of Thieneman once again.
Today period. This cloud should be removed prior to anyone voting on Tuesday.
The people and voters of the 37th District deserve and expect better.
Judge Cunningham should be ashamed and embarrassed he has allowed himself once again to get involved in a situation he should have avoided if he can’t do the right thing.
It is time to right this ship and it begins with holding him accountable………