FRANKFORT, Ky. (WEHT)- Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton swore in J. Christopher McNeill as the newest judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals in a virtual ceremony May 1.
McNeill was sworn in with his family by his side and with wellwishers watching from McNeill’s front door.
McNeill was appointed to the court by Gov. Andy Beshear and will serve Kentucky’s 24 westernmost counties. McNeill succeeds Shea Nickell, who was elected to the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2019.
McNeill is a native of western Kentucky, growing up on a family farm in Fulton County. McNeill practiced law for 20 years, both in a private civil practice and as a staff attorney for the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He also served as the directing attorney for the Public Defender’s Office in McCracken County.
McNeill attended law school at Northern Kentucky University after receiving his bachelor’s and masters degrees from Murray State University. He has previously served as the McCracken County Bar Association President and is a member of both the McCracken County Specialty Court Board and the Rotary Club of Paducah.
McNeill previously served as a member of the Impact Poverty study group sponsored by the United Way and a vice-chair of Paducah Main Street.
Most of the cases heard in the Court of Appeals come from a lower court, such as Circuit Court or District Court. While cases are not retried, judges will review the record of the original trial, with attorneys presenting legal issues to the court.
Fourteen judges serve on the Court of Appeals with two judges elected from seven appellate court districts across Kentucky. Judges are divided into panels of three to review and decide cases.
(This story was originally published on May 8, 2020)