Former judge accused of rape, human trafficking indicted on more Kentucky charges

Image result for timothy nolan kentucky

By Karla Ward

kward1@herald-leader.com

Criminal charges continue to pile up for a former judge accused of rape and human trafficking in Northern Kentucky.

Former Campbell County District Judge Timothy Nolan, 70, was indicted by a Campbell County grand jury Thursday on eight additional felony charges. Those included two counts of human trafficking; one count of attempted human trafficking with a minor; one count of third-degree sodomy; one count of rape of a female over 12; two counts of unlawful transaction with a minor under 16 – controlled substance; and one count of unlawful transaction with a minor under 18 – controlled substance.

Nolan, of California, Ky., is accused of crimes involving 22 victims, including eight juveniles, the Kentucky attorney general’s office said in a news release Thursday. The crimes allegedly occurred between 2010 and May of this year.

Prosecutors have accused Nolan, who served as a judge in the 1970s and 1980s, of using drugs, money and threats to coerce women and juveniles to have sex with him.

Thursday’s indictment is the fourth issued against Nolan since May and brings the total charges against him to 28 felony counts and two misdemeanors.

His attorney has suggested that the charges are the result of a political vendetta.

Nolan is being held in the Campbell County Detention Center. His next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 27, and Nolan is scheduled to go to trial on Feb. 27.

Karla Ward: 859-231-3314, @HLpublicsafety

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(KY) “…the state has a good reason to "curtail citizens’ possession of a narcotic, hallucinogenic drug."

Homegrown2017

Kentucky judge dismisses challenge of medical marijuana ban

  • By adam beam, associated press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Sep 20, 2017, 4:57 PM ET

Kentucky’s ban on medical marijuana has survived an initial test in court, with a judge ruling Wednesday that the state has a good reason to “curtail citizens’ possession of a narcotic, hallucinogenic drug.”

Twenty-nine other states have legalized marijuana in some way, the most common being for medical purposes. While Kentucky lawmakers have embraced hemp — the fibers of the plant that are used to make rope, clothing and other products — and other uses for the cannabis plant, they have failed to consider a number of proposals that would let people use marijuana as medicine.

Frustrated, three people sued the governor and the attorney general earlier this year and asked a judge to throw out the ban because “denying sick people safe medicine” is unjust.

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate rejected that argument, ruling the state had good reason to ban the use of marijuana. He also said the state legislature has “discretion to regulate what is harmful to the public health and wellbeing.” He told the plaintiffs their only option was to persuade the state legislature to lift the ban.

“The Bevin Administration applauds Judge Wingate’s decision to follow the law and dismiss this lawsuit,” said Woody Maglinger, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. “Any change to Kentucky law should go through the legislative process.”

The people who filed the lawsuit could appeal the ruling. Their attorney, Dan Canon, said they have not made a decision yet.

“We respect the court’s decision, but we strongly disagree with it,” Canon wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “Our clients have said all along that they want the government to stop intruding into the relationship between them and their physicians.”

The plaintiffs all say they use marijuana as medicine. Amy Stalker said she used marijuana with a prescription while living in Colorado and Washington state to treat irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She said she has struggled to maintain her health since moving to Kentucky to care for her mother.

Danny Belcher says he uses marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his service in the Vietnam War. And Dan Seum Jr., son of Republican state Sen. Dan Seum, said he uses marijuana to ease pain from his inoperable spinal problems.

Seum Jr. said doctors prescribed him Oxycontin, an opioid-based painkiller that is highly addictive and had led to a surge of overdose deaths in the state.

“I don’t want to be addicted to those type drugs,” Seum Jr. said. “Although cannabis, it doesn’t take (the pain) away completely; it allows me to function a little more. I can function and still not be addicted.”

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Police used hidden video camera, microchips to track marijuana found at ex-sheriff’s farm

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By Bill Estep

bestep@herald-leader.com

September 18, 2017 11:49 AM

Former Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman allegedly supplied marijuana plants to two other men to grow on Peyman’s farm, a state police detective testified Monday.

Peyman was a participant in the state’s experimental effort to develop hemp as a commercial crop for farmers.

Darren Allen, the state police detective, said he suspected that Peyman and the two men allegedly involved with him thought police would think the marijuana was hemp.

Allen testified that state police spotted suspected marijuana plants at Peyman’s farm during aerial surveillance in July. The plants were in a tree line and were surrounded by weeds about 350 yards from the industrial hemp on Peyman’s farm in the southern part of Jackson County, Allen said.

State police sneaked to the plants without Peyman’s knowledge, took samples, mounted hidden cameras near the plants and a nearby parking spot, and put tracking microchips in six of the 61 plants at the site, Allen said.

Police covertly checked the plot on Sept. 5 and found that the marijuana had been harvested. The video showed two men who were allegedly involved with Peyman harvesting the plants the day before, Allen said.

Police got a warrant to search Peyman’s barn and house on Sept. 6 and arrested him after finding suspected marijuana plants. The plants were in a hidden room in his barn, Allen said.

There were 71 plants. It is possible that some of the original 61 split while being harvested, Allen aid.

Allen testified that five of the microchips he had put in the suspected marijuana plants at the back of Peyman’s farm were found in plants in the barn.

Tests showed that the plants had a higher level of the “high”-producing chemical than industrial hemp plants involved in Kentucky’s pilot program are allowed to have, Allen said.

The two men who were allegedly growing the pot on Peyman’s farm, Edward Hoskins and Arthur “Fuzzy” Gibson, told police they understood that Peyman was in danger of losing his farm and wanted to get into the marijuana business to save the farm, Allen said.

Both men said Pyeman supplied them the plants found growing on his farm, and that they were growing the pot for him, Allen testified.

Jackson District Judge Henria Bailey Lewis ruled that there is probable cause to forward Peyman’s case to a grand jury for a possible indictment.

She set a hearing for Nov. 7 for Peyman to answer the indictment if the grand jury charges him.

Peyman is charged with cultivating marijuana and trafficking in steroids. He is free on bond.

Sean Southard, a spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, said Peyman left the state’s pilot industrial hemp program after he was arrested.

Bill Estep: 606-678-4655, @billestep1

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Kentucky prosecutors warn against budget cuts during legislative committee meeting

For Immediate Release

September 15, 2017

Kentucky prosecutors warn against budget cuts during legislative committee meeting

FRANKFORT—Kentucky prosecutors today told state lawmakers that they have little to nothing to cut from their budgets.

Governor Matt Bevin requested that most state agencies plan to cut around 17 percent from their current budgets in a letter sent to state officials last week. The cuts are expected to save the state around $350 million, state officials say.  But prosecutors like Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said the cuts would “not only eliminate (specific programs). They would shut down our offices.”

Commonwealth’s attorney and county attorney office budgets both fall under the Executive branch, which the Governor oversees. 

“We’re talking one in three employees in our office if we implement cuts October 1,” said Sanders. By January, he said possibly 50 percent of his employees would be have to be let go, under the plan. Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron said the same scenario would likely play out across the state, with prosecutors in the largest judicial circuits affected the most.

“The bigger jurisdictions are going to bear the brunt of it. Our conservative estimate is the larger officials would have to look at laying off 60 to 70 percent of our total staff. That’s just not doable,” he told the committee.

Cohron said staff cuts would negatively impact the state’s heroin “Rocket Docket”—an efficiency program in place in over 30 of the state’s 57 judicial circuits that puts treatment ahead of incarceration for certain drug offenses. Local jails statewide are on track to save around $50 million by the end of fiscal year 2018 due to the success of the Rocket Docket program, he said.

Staff cuts could also restrict funding for advocacy of elderly, children and domestic violence victims, Cohron said, since criminal prosecution comes first. All non-court personnel, including victim advocates, would “have to be looked at being reduced immediately,” he said, adding that court appearances and timely disposition of cases would also be impacted by reductions.

“There are human costs to this,” he said.

Henderson County Attorney Steven Gold, who is also the president of the Kentucky County Attorneys Association, said the state’s 120 county attorney offices collect child support, serve as a financial watchdog, and advise and assist county governments. They are also a key player all criminal cases in the Commonwealth, he said, “plus mental health, guardianship, child dependency/neglect/abuse, truancy and runaway” cases and more. While Gold said county attorneys “embrace” their work, they need the funding to meet their obligations. Budget reductions would work counter to that, he said.

“If we are to believe that out of the crucible that is court comes justice, we must have good people—well-funded, well-trained people—on both sides to make that justice a result,” he told the panel.

Rep. Jason Petrie, R-Elkton, asked how much of a cut the prosecutorial system could withstand. None, Sanders said.

“How much of a cut we can sustain when we’re talking about budget reduction? Zero. Because…we’re already going to be short on funds. We’re already going to be laying people off,” he said.

Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, said government’s top priority is public protection. He encouraged prosecutors to make that clear when working with lawmakers in coming months.

“Don’t be shy about saying ‘why is the state spending money on this when we don’t have enough law enforcement officers on the street? When we don’t have enough prosecutors?” Benvenuti said.

A report on factors affecting the state Department of Juvenile Justice and an overview of KASPER (the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting System) were also presented to the committee.

–END–

Other states allow medical marijuana. Judge asks why Kentucky shouldn’t join them.

Amy Stalker says she had more control over her own health when she lived in Colorado, where marijuana can be legally prescribed as medicine. Stalker now lives in Kentucky, where medical use of marijuana is banned.

By John Cheves

jcheves@herald-leader.com

August 22, 2017 4:55 PM

Frankfort

A Franklin Circuit Court judge on Tuesday asked attorneys for the state why Kentucky should not make medical marijuana available to patients who believe it might help them, given that “we’ve pretty much decriminalized” the drug around much of the nation and even in parts of the state.

Judge Thomas Wingate is considering motions by Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear to dismiss a lawsuit filed in June by three Kentuckians who want the legal right to use marijuana as medicine in the state where they live. Wingate said he expects to hand down a decision on the motion in the near future.

Since 1996, 29 states and the District of Columbia have authorized the medical use of marijuana within their borders. But Kentucky’s General Assembly has rejected several bills to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Wingate noted that attitudes about marijuana have softened. The penalties for marijuana possession vary widely inside the state depending on the attitudes of local law enforcement, he said. Someone might face a $100 fine — if that — in one county but a stiff jail sentence in another, he said.

Wingate asked Taylor Payne, an attorney for Beshear, to justify the state’s absolute ban on marijuana given that his own experience as a judge has shown him many examples of men abusing women while drunk on alcohol, a legal product, but never while high on marijuana.

“So what do you say toward that?” Wingate asked.

“I think that’s an issue for the legislature to address,” Payne replied.

And that was a key point for Bevin and Beshear’s legal teams: The legislature, not a judge, should be the one to decide if Kentucky is ready to loosen its marijuana laws. In every state that has legalized medical marijuana so far, elected lawmakers made that call, not the courts, said Barry Dunn, a lawyer for Bevin.

The Kentucky General Assembly is likely to get another bill on medical marijuana in 2018, Dunn said.

“Let it continue to percolate around there and see what happens,” Dunn said.

Attorneys for the state also said the courts already have decided this issue. They cited a 2000 decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court in a case involving actor Woody Harrelson, who had argued that Kentucky’s marijuana laws were overly broad and should not be used to prevent him from planting hemp seeds in Lee County.

In that case, the Supreme Court found there was “valid public interest in controlling marijuana” and added that “reliance by Harrelson … on great moral issues of the current times is unpersuasive.”

However, the plaintiffs — Dan Seum Jr. and Amy Stalker of Jefferson County and Danny Belcher of Bath County — say they have lobbied the General Assembly to change the law for years without success. (Seum’s father is a Republican state senator.) They claim the state’s cannabis ban violates their rights under the Kentucky Constitution to privacy and to be free of the “absolute and arbitrary power” of the state over their “lives, liberty and property.”

Kentucky violates privacy rights of medical marijuana patients, lawyer says

Dan Canon, a Louisville attorney who represents several people suing to overturn Kentucky’s ban on medical marijuana, says the Kentucky Constitution guarantees a right to privacy and to be free of arbitrary police powers.

jcheves@herald-leader.com

“Our clients have been to the legislature. They’ll continue to go to the legislature,” attorney Candace Curtis told Wingate. “But you’re the only person who can look at the facts of this case and say, ‘Look, this law is arbitrary and it does violate their right to privacy.’”

Smoked or ingested, cannabis has been used as medicine for most of recorded history. It was a legal remedy in the United States as recently as the mid-20th century. In 1970, however, as the war on drugs began, the U.S. government classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the designation intended for drugs, such as heroin, that are supposed to have a high potential for addiction and no medical value.

In their suit, the plaintiffs explain that they have used marijuana for years to help them with a variety of ailments.

Seum is a school football coach who suffers from back pain. Belcher is a Vietnam War veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism and a compression fracture in his spine. And Stalker said she has a long history of health problems due to irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder and the powerful pharmaceutical drugs that were prescribed to her to treat those conditions.

Stalker briefly lived in Colorado, where medical marijuana is legal, and had a valid prescription for it there. But she returned to Kentucky to care for her mother.

John Cheves: 859-231-3266, @BGPolitics

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Kentucky’s Tweeting Governor Blocks Critics On Social Media… And He’s Not The Only One

By Brendan McCarthy and June Leffler June 15, 2017

Gov. Matt Bevin in recent months has turned to social media platforms to slam local media and share his political views directly with followers.

But as Bevin ramped up his criticism and online dispatches, he’s also blocked more than 500 Twitter users from following him, according to records released this week by ProPublica, a national investigative newsroom.

Bevin’s list of blocked social media users — obtained by ProPublica through a records request — includes many people who have shared their disdain for Bevin or President Donald Trump.

Bevin’s not alone in booting folks from following his 140-character messages. Trump has banned more than a few. Even Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had sought to silence some tweeting gadflies.

The practice, however, has potential legal ramifications and could soon play out in court.

Attorneys for several Twitter users blocked by Trump are arguing that his account is a public forum and that the government cannot constitutionally exclude critics, The New York Times reported this week.

The attorneys issued a letter to Trump and hinted that if the blocking continues, a lawsuit could follow.

Bevin’s office released the following statement Thursday:

Gov. Bevin is a strong advocate of constructive dialogue, and he welcomes thoughtful input from all viewpoints on his social media platforms. Unfortunately, a small number of users misuse those outlets by posting obscene and abusive language or images, or repeated off-topic comments and spam. Constituents of all ages should be able to engage in civil discourse with Gov. Bevin via his social media platforms without being subjected to vulgarity or abusive trolls.

The office also issue a tweet — citing a “#FAKENEWS ALERT” — along with a video criticizing the media.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office, which weighs violations of the Open Records Act, has never issued an opinion “about the nature of social media and whether blocking someone violates the open records law.”

To date, no one has filed an appeal challenging a public official’s social media blockade.

Beshear declined to share his views on the matter and called it inappropriate because the office may have to tackle the issue in the future.

Beshear said he has never blocked anyone on Twitter. The Twitter account of his predecessor, Attorney General Jack Conway, had barred several followers. Beshear said he had his staff unblock those users.

(How To Find Out Who Your Favorite Politician Is Blocking On Twitter)

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Biotechnology company opens mosquito factory in Lexington

by Monica Kast

jmkast@herald-leader.com

Image result for Mosquito-fighting company to raise sterile mates in Lexington factory

A Lexington biotechnology company aimed at fighting mosquito-borne diseases such as the Zika virus opened a mosquito factory Wednesday on Malabu Drive.

MosquitoMate, founded by University of Kentucky entomology professor Stephen Dobson, will use the 6,000-square-foot space to raise millions of sterile, non-biting mosquitoes that will act as a “biopesticide” against other mosquitoes that sometimes carry infectious diseases. The company opened a research and development center on Regency Road four years ago, Dobson said.

According to MosquitoMate, the new lab will be able to raise more than 50 million eggs and three million male mosquitoes per week. Those male Asian tiger mosquitoes, or ZAP mosquitoes, do not bite and are sterile, so when they mate with a female mosquito, her eggs will not hatch.

The company and its partners have conducted successful trials in California, New York and Lexington that dramatically decreased the population of biting mosquitoes, according to a news release.

MosquitoMate grew out of research done at UK.

Dobson said MosquitoMate has been operating under an experimental use permit for the last few years, and the Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing its research.

If approved by the EPA, the company plans to sell its mosquitoes to homeowners, “ the people this technology is intended to serve,” he said.

“MosquitoMate has very much to be thankful for,” Dobson said. “We have come very far in just a few years.”

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and UK President Eli Capilouto attended the ceremony and noted the potential economic impact of the company, which plans to add 12 jobs at its new location. The company now has 10 employees.

“This story is a Kentucky story, a story of momentum,” Capilouto said. “There’s a lot more that can come out of the University of Kentucky.”

Monica Kast: 859-231-1320, @monicakastwku

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http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article156202794.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946175/