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Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Am VERY Proud Of My VERY Good Friend, Kentucky's Chief JustIce John Minton.

Minton honored at annual Law Day
By JUSTIN STORY, The Daily News

Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton’s tenure as a Warren Circuit Court judge was commemorated Wednesday with the unveiling and dedication of a portrait that will hang in the courtroom where he once presided.

The ceremony took place during the Bowling Green-Warren County Bar Association’s Law Day 2012 program at the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center.

Painted by Bowling Green artist Angela Kuprion, Minton’s portrait will hang in Circuit Courtroom A in the Warren County Justice Center alongside those of several other circuit judges who have served over the years in Warren County.

Minton served as a circuit judge from 1992 to 2003 before being named a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge.

In 2006, Minton was appointed by then-Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher to the Kentucky Supreme Court and was sworn in as chief justice in 2008.

During a brief speech accepting his honor, Minton thanked those who enabled him to pursue his dreams and took a moment to specifically recognize community leader Cora Jane Spiller, who Minton said has worked tirelessly in making sure the city’s history is recognized and preserved.

“We would not have this portrait dedication or any portrait dedication in the last decade without Cora Jane,” Minton said.

Minton’s portrait will hang in the courtroom where Warren Circuit Judge John Grise currently serves.

“None of his predecessors I believe have exceeded his abilities and none of his successors I know have come close to approximating them,” Grise said of Minton.

The ceremony Wednesday was the high note of the 55th annual Law Day celebration by the local bar association.

This year’s event took place amid grim budgetary forecasts that have led several states to reduce funding for their judiciary systems.

Last year, 42 states cut funding for their court systems, and Kentucky court employees will be furloughed for three days this year after state lawmakers reduced the budget for its judicial branch. About 3,700 court workers across the state will be affected by the furloughs.

Florence attorney William T. Robinson III, the current president of the American Bar Association, said the American court system plays a crucial role in protecting rights and that it is essential that courts receive adequate funding to carry out their role in government.

“This is something so precious ... and we’re treating it like another line item in the budget,” Robinson said. “This is an issue for all the citizens of this country because it is your freedom that is at stake.”

The Law Day celebration honored a few local attorneys for their work in the community.

Dwight Burton of Bowling Green won the association’s Pro-Bono Publico award, given to the member of the Warren County Lawyer’s Care Program for outstanding commitment to pro-bono work in the community.

Burton has represented several clients in civil cases who could not otherwise afford an attorney. He said that getting justice on behalf of those clients was a “rewarding feeling.”

Rebecca Simpson of Kentucky Legal Aid was honored with the Gwyneth Davis Outstanding Public Service Award for her commitment to causes enhancing justice and civil rights.

Joseph Huddleston, a former Kentucky Court of Appeals judge who died last year, was recognized with the William H. Natcher Award honoring retired or deceased bar members whose life represented serving public interest over personal interest.

Huddleston’s wife, Heidi, accepted the award on his behalf.

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