Notice of appeal filed in officer, magistrate case

The Clark County attorney filed his notice of appeal this week challenging a judicial ruling that a city police officer can continue to serve as a county magistrate.

Clark County Attorney William Elkins and his attorney Rob Johnson filed the notice of appeal on Tuesday to challenge Clark Circuit Judge Brandy Oliver Brown’s Aug. 19 ruling in the case.

The case centers around Travis Thompson, a Winchester Police officer who was elected to the Clark County Fiscal Court in November 2018.

Elkins has argued that holding both positions violates a state law which prohibits a person from holding a municipal office and a county office at the same time. He has also said the oath Thompson took to be magistrates voids the oath he took as a police officer.

In her ruling, Brown wrote that being a police officer does not meet the statutory requirements to be a municipal officer, and that being a police officer is incompatible with being a magistrate.

“In summary, there is no statutory or constitutional provision specifically prohibiting Mr. Thompson’s concurrent employment as a city police officer and county magistrate,” Brown wrote.

At the time of Brown’s ruling, Elkins said he disagreed and cited an 1890 state law which lists a police officer as a municipal officer.

“I think it’s an incorrect ruling,” Elkins said at the time.

Thompson’s attorney Brian Thomas said everyone else, including the City of Winchester’s attorney and letters from the Kentucky Attorney General’s office and the League of Cities, agreed that a police officer is an employee, rather than an office-holder of the city.

“The only person who believed this was not permitted was Mr. Elkins,” Thomas said at the time.