Quick Takes

Kentucky House committee advances impeachment articles against suspended prosecutor

By: - February 7, 2023 6:02 pm

A Kentucky House impeachment committee has advanced three articles of impeachment against a suspended elected prosecutor accused of asking a defendant for nude photos and videos in exchange for prosecutorial favors. 

The Kentucky Supreme Court suspended Ronnie Goldy — the commonwealth’s attorney for the 21st Judicial Circuit serving Rowan, Menifee, Bath and Montgomery counties — last year following a Louisville Courier-Journal report that found Goldy exchanged hundreds of pages of social media messages with a defendant. The defendant had testified that in exchange for photos, Goldy withdrew warrants and had cases continued. 

In its fifth meeting, the seven-member committee unanimously adopted a final report regarding their inquiry into Goldy’s conduct and along with the three impeachment articles against Goldy. 

“The committee finds that the conduct is sufficient to warrant impeachment, removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust, or profit under this Commonwealth,” said Rep. Daniel Elliott, R-Danville, the chair of the impeachment committee. 

The impeachment articles state Goldy committed impeachable offenses including the inability to provide legal services because of his suspension, his inappropriate communications with a defendant that violated the public trust and using his office to receive inappropriate personal information from a defendant in a “quid pro quo” relationship.

An attorney representing Goldy did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Association, a state group representing the elected prosecutors, kicked out Goldy from its membership after the group became aware of information about Goldy that was “well below” the standards set for commonwealth’s attorneys. 

The committee had previously heard from other commonwealth’s attorneys earlier this month asking about the precedence of elected commonwealth’s attorneys being removed from the association and the appropriateness of the allegations against Goldy. 

According to a 1991 report detailing the impeachment process in Kentucky, a majority of the House of Representatives must approve an article of impeachment for an elected official to be impeached. If an article of impeachment is approved, a committee of state representatives will appear before the state Senate to prosecute the article. The Kentucky Senate would hold a trial for the elected official, and two-thirds of senators present would be needed to convict and remove the elected prosecutor from office. 

The impeachment committee did not address the status of an inquiry into the conduct of a second commonwealth’s attorney, Rick Boling. Boling, the elected commonwealth’s attorney for the 3rd Judicial Circuit representing Christian County, was also expelled with Goldy from the Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Association. 

Boling had reportedly falsified testimony that led to an indictment. He also wrote a letter to former Gov. Matt Bevin asking for a pardon of a sex offender, Dayton Jones, claiming without proof that the conviction of Jones was a political vendetta against Jones’ grandparents, whom at one point had reportedly donated to an election campaign for Boling. Boling had subsequently apologized for writing the letter. 

Boling announced last month he would resign instead of facing the impeachment committee.

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Liam Niemeyer
Liam Niemeyer

Liam covers government and policy in Kentucky and its impacts throughout the Commonwealth for the Kentucky Lantern. He most recently spent four years reporting award-winning stories for WKMS Public Radio in Murray.