State House impeaches Commonwealth’s Attorney Skip to content

State House impeaches Commonwealth’s Attorney

Senate expected to try case

2 min read

Via press release from House Leadership

The Kentucky House of Representatives voted in a unanimous, bipartisan vote today to impeach Commonwealth Attorney Ronnie Lee Goldy, Jr. after considering details of an impeachment petition. House Resolution 30, which had the articles of impeachment attached, includes evidence of wrong-doing and misuse of the power and authority associated with his office.

“To execute the duties of commonwealth attorney, trust is integral,” noted Representative Daniel Elliott, who serves as House Judiciary Committee Chair and chaired the Impeachment committee. “The citizens that a Commonwealth Attorney serve should be able to have faith that the duties instilled in him or her must be carried out. When is enough, enough? We must send a message that this kind of conduct will not be tolerated.”

This is the first time since 1991 that the House has moved forward with an impeachment petition. Sections 66-68 of the Kentucky Constitution prescribe the process for the impeachment and removal of public officials and grant the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment. Responsibility for trying the impeachment lies with the Senate, and the Constitution requires the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators present to convict and remove the office-holder. In addition, the Constitution also prohibits an individual who has been impeached and removed from holding “any office of honor, trust, or profit under this Commonwealth.”

Goldy’s impeachment began with the filing of HR 11 on January 5. That measure directed the House to appoint a committee to investigate any alleged misconduct committed by Goldy based on the Supreme Court’s decision to suspend Goldy from the practice of law.

Committee members met several times in January and early February to review evidence and hear from three commonwealth attorneys who also serve as members of the Commonwealth Prosecutors Advisory Council.

Evidence included roughly 190 pages of messages, illicit in nature, between Goldy and a female criminal defendant. The messages indicated that, in exchange for sexually-explicit photographs, Goldy would intervene in ongoing criminal cases.

In testimony before the impeachment committee, three members of the Commonwealth Prosecutors Advisory Council noted that not only is communication of this nature inappropriate, but communication between a criminal defendant and a commonwealth attorney constitutes a misuse of the power the office holds and a betrayal of public trust.

Due to the committee’s findings, a resolution with articles describing the impeachable offenses was filed earlier this week as HR 30. The articles included three details that defined the grounds for impeachment:

Article 1: Highlights the fact that the Kentucky Supreme Court issued a suspension rendering Goldy unable to fulfill his duties in office.

Article 2: Highlights the grotesque nature of Goldy’s communications with the defendant.

Article 3: Highlights the quid pro quo committed between the defendant and Goldy.

As the impeachment and removal process continues, the Speaker of the House must appoint a committee of House members to lay the articles of the case before the Senate.

Goldy has served as Commonwealth Attorney for the 21st District, which includes Bath, Menifee, Montgomery, and Rowan counties since 2013. He has submitted a letter of resignation, effective February 28. However, that resignation does not preclude him from holding office in the future.


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