Update: Prosecutor’s Electioneering Push to Former Grand Jurors Doesn’t Pan Out

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Kenton County Justice Center, the focus of a judicial race that has spawned a questionable campaign mailer sent to grand jurors.

James McNair / Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

Kenton County Justice Center, the focus of a judicial race that has spawned a questionable campaign mailer sent to grand jurors.

Kenton County prosecutor Rob Sanders tactic of using quasi-official stationery — complete with the seal of Kentucky — to send former grand jurors an endorsement of his assistant in a circuit court judge’s race didn’t pan out.

Sanders’ assistant, James Redwine, received only 41 percent of the vote for the vacant 1st Division Circuit Court judgeship in Kentucky’s third most-populous county. Donning the robe will be Kathleen Lape, a private practitioner who had scored the highest in a September poll of the Northern Kentucky Bar Association. She drew 59 percent of the vote.

Rob Sanders, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the 16th Judicial Circuit

Rob Sanders, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the 16th Judicial Circuit

As reported by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting in May, the one-page “Dear Grand Juror” letter was mailed before the May 20 primary to more than 500 people who had served on Kenton County grand juries. Such jurors work with prosecutors behind closed doors to decide whether or not to hand down criminal charges. Lape and two other candidates questioned the practice of hitting up grand jurors for their votes.

Neither the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission, which investigates complaints of misconduct by judicial candidates, nor the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, which enforces the misuse of the Kentucky state seal, would say if they were investigating the matter.

Reporter James McNair can be reached at jmcnair@kycir.org or (502) 814.6543.