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Latest Kentucky news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

Posted at 3:20 AM, Jun 20, 2019

FEDERAL JUDGE NOMINATION-KENTUCKY

Former Kennedy, Kavanaugh clerk tapped for federal judgeship

(Information from: Courier Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A 37-year-old conservative Kentucky law professor who previously served as a clerk for a U.S. Supreme Court justice has been nominated to become a federal judge.

The White House announced Wednesday that President Donald Trump had tapped Justin Walker for the role.

Walker clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. He also clerked for Justice Brett Kavanaugh during Kavanaugh’s time on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Walker is an assistant professor of law at the University of Louisville. He’s also a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl and a member of the conservative Federalist Society.

The Courier-Journal reports he would succeed Judge Joseph McKinley in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. McKinley assumed senior status on the court earlier this month.

Walker awaits U.S. Senate confirmation.

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SEIZED CANDY-THC

Feds warns of THC-infused products that look like real candy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal prosecutor is warning parents to watch out for products that contain the main psychoactive component in marijuana and look like real candy.

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart in Charleston says in a news release the packages can be appealing to children but contain THC.

The statement says an Appalachian drug task force in Kentucky last week intercepted a parcel containing 7.5 pounds (3.4 kilograms) of THC-infused candy. The parcel originated in Mill Valley, California, and was destined for Coconut Creek, Florida. The statement didn’t provide details on how the candy was confiscated.

The candy wrappers had bright colors and promotional characters similar to commercially available products. It contains warnings to keep away from children and animals, yet urges users to “tear and share.”

Stuart says such fake candy contains one-third more THC than a marijuana joint.

FATAL CRASH-CHARTER BUS

Police: 1 dead, several injured in wrong-way crash with bus

BONNIEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police say a passenger vehicle traveling the wrong way on Interstate 65 in Kentucky crashed into a charter bus and a semitruck, killing one and injuring several others.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Jeremiah Hodges told news outlets the smaller vehicle was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes when the crash occurred Thursday morning near Bonnieville.

He says 37-year-old Charles Cartwright of Louisville, the driver of the passenger vehicle, died. Thirty-eight-year-old bus driver Michael Whitefield of Escondido, California, and six of 35 bus passengers were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. The truck driver and a passenger didn’t report any injuries.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said in a statement that all southbound lanes were blocked between Bonnieville and Munfordville for almost 11 hours but were reopened by midafternoon.

SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD

Property belonging to convicted disability lawyer is sold

(Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com)

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky businessman has purchased a large statue of Abraham Lincoln and office space belonging to a disability attorney convicted of fraud and sentenced to 27 years in prison.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Thursday that Jerry Flannery purchased the statue and some 11 acres in Floyd County, including five mobile homes where Eric C. Conn operated his business. He plans to commercially develop the property.

Flannery says he’ll donate the Lincoln statue to a local court for its transfer to Middle Creek National Battlefield, a Civil War site near Prestonsburg.

Conn agreed to pay the government about $5.75 million when he pleaded guilty. Under an agreement, money from the sale of his property would be used to pay that debt.

Flannery didn’t disclose his purchase price.

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KENTUCKY HOMICIDE-DEATH PENALTY

Kentucky prosecutor drops death penalty, saying witness lied

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A death penalty case has unraveled in Kentucky, where a prosecutor said he can’t go forward because a key witness can’t be truthful at trial.

Hardin County prosecutor Shane Young said no physical evidence shows Aaron Pearson was complicit in the murder of 71-year-old Army veteran Norman Hall.

Young said testimony from another suspect, Eloysia James-Venerable, was key to a conviction. She was given a plea deal limiting her time to at least 20 years if she would tell the truth.

But the prosecutor said she’s proven untruthful, and he can’t pursue capital punishment if he’s “not 100% certain” about her testimony.

The News-Enterprise reports that Pearson accepted a plea deal of 15 years on lesser charges. Young said he’ll now pursue a life sentence for his former key witness.

CAR SEARCH-COERCION

Judge: Car search coerced by Kentucky police officer

(Information from: Courier Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A judge has ruled that Kentucky police coerced a man into allowing officers to search his car, leading to charges including violating a protective order by carrying a gun.

The Courier Journal reports Judge Annie O’Connell has since thrown out the evidence and will have the felony charges dropped against Miguel A. Ballard Jr.

Ballard was pulled over last year for not wearing a seat belt, and he refused to allow officers to search his van. Louisville police Detective William Mayo told Ballard that two types of people refuse searches, using an obscenity for one group and describing the other as “people who have something to hide.” Ballard then consented.

The ruling means Ballard will only pay a fine for failing to wear a seat belt. Police spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said Wednesday that an internal investigation is ongoing.

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