While the Judicial Nominating Commission awaits its final appointments to begin the selection process for Circuit Judge of the Family Court Division of the 42nd Judicial Circuit serving Marshall and Calloway Counties, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) confirmed two retired judges have agreed to temporarily fill the vacancy.
Rob Mattingly, who served on the bench for more than 20 years, recently resigned to return to private practice and accepted the appointment as City of Benton Attorney. Jamie Neal with the Office of Public Information at the AOC said the judicial nominating commission (JNC) which selects three candidates for the vacancy is not yet completely formed and the JNC secretary confirmed they're awaiting Gov. Matt Bevin's four citizen appointments.
In the meantime, Neal said, retired Judges Jill Clark and James Adams have agreed and are assigned to serve as special judges in the 42nd Judicial Circuit until an appointment is made by the governor. The governor will choose from three nominees selected by the JNC, who will be presented in alphabetical order. That nominee will fill the role until a special election can take place; the date has not yet been announced.
A Murray attorney recently announced her candidacy for the upcoming election and as of last week, is the only who has made a formal announcement. Stephanie Judy Perlow said she has practiced family law in the 42nd Judicial Circuit since 2008 and practiced in Michigan a few years prior to returning home to western Kentucky where her practice has almost exclusively dedicated to all areas of family law.
"Every day I meet good people that are going through some of the darkest days of their lives. Over half of marriages end in divorce, many of which involve children and grandparents," she said. "Our family court shouldn't be an assembly line and families shouldn't be reduced to a case number. My vision is to use the family court in a way to help children and families obtain the tools they may need to ensure that their darkest hours will soon give way to a bright new day."
Perlow said what she looks forward to hearing on the campaign trail is ideas of improvement from families who have been through the family court system. She noted many of the procedures are bound by statute but "we can always strive to be better."
Perlow is a graduate of Murray State University and Western Michigan University-Cooley School of Law. She has served two terms as Calloway County Bar Association President and regularly volunteers with Murray and Calloway County schools.