Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette Judge Kenneth H. Goff II, who was appointed Circuit Judge earlier this week, is pictured taking the oath of office for his most recent term as District Judge.

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

Judge Kenneth H. Goff II, who was appointed Circuit Judge earlier this week, is pictured taking the oath of office for his most recent term as District Judge.

Governor Matt Bevin's office announced Tuesday that Judge Kenneth H. Goff II, of Leitchfield, has been appointed to serve as Circuit Judge for the 46th Judicial Circuit, Division 2 of Kentucky.

Goff was appointed by Governor Matt Bevin out of a selection of three nominees to be considered to fill the vacancy left by Circuit Judge Robert A. Miller, who passed away on Sept. 17, 2018.

Goff, who received his juris doctor from Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law, previously served as the District Judge for the 46th Judicial District, a position to which he was re-elected in November of last year.

A press release from Bevin's office states that Goff will serve as Circuit Judge until the position is filled in accordance with the results of the Nov. 2019 general election, pursuant to the provisions of Section 152 of the Kentucky Constitution.

Goff's appointment will become effective after he takes the oath of office for Circuit Judge this Friday at 3 p.m. at the Grayson County Judicial Center, at which time his District Judge seat will be vacated. The public has been invited to attend this investiture ceremony. 

Both the 46th Judicial Circuit and District consist of Grayson, Breckinridge, and Meade counties. Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction that hears civil matters involving more than $5,000, capital offenses and felonies, divorces, adoptions, termination of parental rights, land dispute title cases, and contested probate cases.

Section 118 of the Kentucky Constitution provides that vacancies in the office of Circuit Court Judge are to be filled by the governor from a list of three names submitted by the appropriate judicial nominating commission. There are currently 61 judicial nominating commissions in Kentucky: one for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals; one for each judicial circuit; and one for each judicial district. If the circuit and district have the same boundaries, then one commission serves both.

When a judicial vacancy occurs, the executive secretary of the judicial nominating commission publishes a notice of vacancy in the judicial circuit or the judicial district affected. Attorneys may recommend someone or nominate themselves. After nominations occur, the individuals interested in the position return a questionnaire to the Office of the Chief Justice.

Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton, Jr. then meets with the judicial nominating commission to choose three nominees. Because the Kentucky Constitution requires that three names be submitted to the governor, in some cases, the commission submits an attorney’s name even though the attorney did not apply.

A letter naming the three nominees is then sent to the governor for review, and the governor then has 60 days to appoint a replacement and his office makes the announcement.

Goff was announced on Jan. 7 as one of the three nominees for Miller's seat, alongside Breckinridge County Attorney Bradley Butler and Meade County Attorney Jessica Roberts.