The Kentucky Supreme Court will soon decide whether beleaguered Christian County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Boling should be temporarily suspended from practicing law.
A show-cause order signed Friday by Chief Justice John Minton gives Boling 20 days to provide any reason for why he should not be temporarily suspended from practicing law.
The order cites three instances of professional misconduct—the most recent being in a grand jury proceeding that led to the indictment of Seth Henderson for manslaughter in connection a fatal drug overdose where Henderson was accused of providing the narcotics to the victim.
Christian Judge Andrew Self last week dismissed the indictment, ruling in favor of attorney Olivia Adams’ motion that Boling “knowingly presented false or misleading evidence to the grand jury” when he misrepresented the parties involved in text messages and the dates they were sent. Boling claimed during a hearing he did not know he was wrong about the texts at the time of the testimony.
Justice Minton summarizes the two other instances of misconduct by Boling in the order—the first when he wrote a letter to former Governor Matt Bevin on his office letterhead advocating on behalf of convicted sex offender Dayton Jones, who pled guilty to his role in the video-recorded sexual assault of an unconscious 15-year old male that was posted on social media. Governor Bevin ultimately commuted Jones’ sentence, but he would be federally indicted on child porn charges and accepted a plea deal.
Justice Minton notes Boling in his letter questioned the integrity of former Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor, Christian Circuit Judge John Atkins and Jones’ attorney.
A proposed consensual disciplinary action from the Inquiry Commission was presented to the Supreme Court in 2020 that would have suspended Boling for 60 days, but that suspension would have been probated, meaning he would have continued practicing law. Justice Minton writes the Supreme Court rejected that solution, finding the punishment “woefully inadequate.”
They ordered the sides to negotiate further and then came a second complaint against Boling when the Supreme Court overturned the attempted murder and arson conviction against Karen Brafman due to prosecutorial misconduct. Boling was caught on recording in that trial admitting he knew Brafman was under the influence of a substance during her alleged crime, but he then argued against a voluntary intoxication jury instruction on the grounds no such evidence existed.
A second consensual discipline motion was presented in February of 2021 that included a 120 day suspension, with 60 to be probated for two years, but again the Supreme Court found that to be inadequate and ordered Boling and the Bar Association to continue negotiations.
Multiple deadlines and extensions passed without a new compromise.
Justice Minton says Judge Self’s order to dismiss the Henderson case combined with the two other instances caused the Supreme Court to deem “this show cause order necessary so that it may proceed to consideration” of Boling’s “temporary suspension from the practice of law without any further delay.”
Click here to read the entire order.