Just to Make You Feel Better About Kentucky

We just spotted an amendment to House Bill 195, an act relating to the justice system and declaring an emergency, that will blow your mind.

Retain original provisions except amend KRS 64.090, relating to sheriffs, to add a $40 fee for service of domestic violence or emergency protective orders

Here are the specifics from the SCS, page 15:

For service of domestic violence or emergency protective orders, to be paid by the respondent … $40.00

(2) Sheriffs may charge and collect a fee of forty dollars ($40) from any person not requesting the service of the sheriff on behalf of the Commonwealth, any of its agencies, or the Department of Kentucky State Police for the services provided in subsection (1) of this section where a percentage, commission, or reasonable fee is not otherwise allowed. If a percentage, commission, or reasonable fee is allowed, that amount shall be paid. If payment is specified from a person other than the person who requested the service, then the person specified shall be responsible for payment.

Charging perpetrators of domestic violence $40 for protective orders.

Can you imagine? Actual progress in Kentucky!

So much for jeopardizing the Violence Against Women Act funding and making us look more ignorant and barefoot to the rest of the country.

More on the Kentucky Equality Federation, as We Previously Promised

In April 2008 nearly all of the General Advisory Council of the Kentucky Equality Federation resigned. But according to a Wikipedia article that’s no doubt maintained by KEF’s leader Jordan Palmer (formerly known as Brian Day, prior to a name change), the council (nine of the 14 members) was “terminated” after the organization condemned the Kentucky Fairness Alliance. And we all know Wikipedia is a bastion of accuracy and honesty. So you know everything you read is 100% truthful.

Why’d these people abandon the organization? Let’s explore the issue a bit…

We have learned, through several months of research, that the Board of Directors/General Advisory Committee is usually composed of Palmer, his mother Nancy Couch Bowling, a guy named Paul and a friend of Palmer’s named Casey. Occasionally that board structure fluctuates when Palmer has a disagreement with anyone or when he feels (we believe) that his authority is threatened. Or when someone departs the organization on their own accord, obviously.

During 2007 Palmer was in charge of KEF’s finances. And by finances, we mean there is not a system of checks and balances and the organization shares/shared a bank account with Palmer’s records removal service. Without a segregation of funds and with no system of accounting, there is no way to prove where funds have been appropriated and there’s no way to determine if, how or when funds were received. After interviewing a half dozen former directors/council members of the organization, we are still unable to get clear answers.

One of the major financial issues we have uncovered (and previously reported): KEF won money from MySpace and it (according to MySpace and all other accounts) wasn’t intended for Palmer individually, as he has suggested in comments on this very website. According to the six people we have interviewed, KEF won the funds by popular vote of MySpace membership. Since there’s no separation of funds and accounting, it’s pretty clear how the MySpace award could easily disappear. Palmer and the KEF officially settled with the Office of the Attorney General and were legally required to disperse funds to several university organizations which had been promised the money. See our previous stories here and here.

According to one of our sources, suspicions of fraud were reported to major KEF contributors and donations stopped rolling into the organization. The board/council then planned a surprise for Palmer, telling him that they wouldn’t allow him to be the sole individual responsible for funding and financial management. Palmer refused to comply, as you’ll see below, and the organization at that point fell apart with nine individuals walking away. Within a few weeks the Office of the Attorney General launched a major investigation.

Read the rest of this exposé and peep salacious emails leaked to us by former board members after the jump…

Read moreMore on the Kentucky Equality Federation, as We Previously Promised

The Latest Installment from AG Jack Conway

Kentucky consumers can be assured that my office is continuing to investigate allegations of price gouging in the wake of January’s ice storm. We have received more than 550 complaints related to gasoline prices, hotel rooms, generators, kerosene and other storm related necessities. My Office of Consumer Protection is currently investigating each complaint and sending notices to retailers to allow them to respond. If we find that these retailers were reaping excessive profits during the time of a disaster, I will take action.

Because of the extent of the storm damage across the Commonwealth, Governor Steve Beshear has extended the period for filing price-gouging complaints for another 30 days. If you suspect that you’re a victim of price gouging, send us the information at icestormcomplaints@ag.ky.gov. When possible, please include digital photos or scanned copies of receipts. You may also call my office at 888-432-9257.

Cybercrimes Legislation Passes House 97-0

I am also pleased to report that we are a step closer to enacting legislation that will better protect Kentucky children from Internet predators. The Kentucky House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the cybercrimes legislation that Representative Johnny Bell and I are promoting during this legislative session. I am hopeful that the bill will find the same bi-partisan support in the Senate.

Budget Cuts

While protecting consumers and improving cybersafety in the Commonwealth have been top priorities, I have also been tasked with maintaining the mission critical services of the Office of the Attorney General during a time of unprecedented budget cuts and a lingering economic recession.

I have joined many Kentucky families in doing some serious belt tightening. Since taking office, my budget has been cut by about 20%, taking this office back to funding levels last seen in 1999. However, I assure you our budget cuts and streamlining of operations have in no way affected our commitment to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth, pursue our priorities and protect our citizens.

Read the rest after the jump

Read moreThe Latest Installment from AG Jack Conway

Rick Spent 17 Hours in Jail, I Was Pissed

By now you’ve all read Rick’s tale of being arrested and spending seventeen hours in jail. While I believe, as I say below, Rick is responsible for his failure to be a responsible driver and that it’s stupid of him to have let something so simple turn into a nightmare scenario, the system is so jacked up that I have to vent/complain for a few minutes.

At 3:58 I received a call from Pre-Trial telling me that Rick would be out within an hour. Then it took four hours to find out that he was still there, after getting the run-around from Metro Corrections– people telling me throughout the afternoon that he was there and that he wasn’t there, with some individuals refusing to answer questions, literally hanging up.

I was given the run-around by the Clerk’s office until finally demanding that someone give me a solid answer (so, maybe I called an elected official to find out, whatever). It’s then that the guy at the window determined there was never a bail/bond set, that the judge had released Rick on his own recognizance at 4:00 or so in the afternoon. I was assured then that he would be processed within a couple hours by Metro Corrections and that it’d be best to wait for him.

Unfortunately, from there, Rick was never released. And “Roger” and other individuals at Metro Corrections gave me constant contradictory answers. For a while he was an inmate, for a while he wasn’t. On two occasions while trying to get an answer, I was told he’d already been released and picked up.

Read the rest of this mess and find out why I was in rare form after the jump…

Read moreRick Spent 17 Hours in Jail, I Was Pissed

Letcher County Coroner Has Resigned

The Office of the Attorney General announced this morning Letcher County Coroner John Cornett is resigning as part of a plea agreement. Guilty on seven counts of doctor shopping– or, technically, unlawfully obtaining a prescription for a controlled substance by fraud.

His wife, Andrea, a nurse at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital, also pleaded guilty to four counts of theft of a controlled substance. The couple were indicted in November 2008 after a KSP investigation.

He’s resigning from his elected office today and has been sentenced to pre-trial diversion for three years. Both Cornetts will undergo treatment.

Update: Cybersafety Legislation Promoted Today

Today Attorney General Jack Conway and Rep. Johnny Bell of Glasgow outlined legislation that will help protect Kentucky children from scary MySpace perverts and Secret Internet Fatties (SIFs).

House Bill 315 has 21 co-sponsors and prohibits registered sex offenders from using social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. It also creates the crime of phishing, a popular internets practice criminals use to represent themselves as someone they’re not by using private personal information (assuming your identity) they’ve stolen.

“This bill is the result of combing through the Kentucky Revised Statutes and bringing our laws up to date with changes in technology,” General Conway said. “I’ve listened to law enforcement officers and parents in every corner of the Commonwealth, and this is legislation we desperately need to help keep Kentucky families safe from online predators and criminals.”

Some highlights of HB315:

  • Requires sex offenders update their email addresses and online identifiers with the registry in a similar fashion as they update their physical addresses.
  • The bill codifies the Kentucky State Police Department’s current practice of making emails available in a searchable database that is accessible to the public. The bill would further require that online profiles, such as those used on MySpace or Facebook, also be included in the searchable database. Email addresses will be removed from individual pages on the registry because of the concern that sex offenders may use these email addresses to communicate with each other or create online communities.
  • Amends Kentucky’s stalking statute to include cyberstalking, recognizing that threats or harassment can take place online and in person.
  • Closes a loophole in current law by clarifying that is a crime for a person to transmit live sexually explicit images of themselves to minors over the Internet or other electronic network via webcam or other technological devices.
  • Allows police to seize personal property, such as a computer or car, which has been used by a predator in the commission of sexual offenses against children.
  • Grants administrative subpoena power to the Office of the Attorney General when investigating online crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. This gives investigators direct access to secure relevant information that will help officers identify perpetrators in these cases.

The legislation is being presented at this very moment by Rep. Bell and General Conway during a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee in room 171 of the Capitol Annex in Frankfort.

Protecting You From MySpace Perverts

Praise Allah and Jeebus that Attorney General Jack Conway is protecting us from the MySpace perverts!

Honestly, though, despite the crap we give him over cyber safety initiatives, this is a good deal. Because keeping Kentucky children safe from secret internet fatties (SIFs) is important.

The AG and Rep. Johnny Bell will outline their expanded cybersafety legislation tomorrow morning at a press conference and in the afternoon before the House Committee on the Judiciary.