Amicus Briefs

The Amicus Curiae Committee

Members are appointed by resolution of the Board of Directors and are authorized only:

1) to consider requests for the Association to file amicus briefs
2) to recommend to the Board of Directors which requests should be granted; and
3) to facilitate the preparation and filing of the briefs that are authorized.

In determining whether to recommend and/or authorize the filing of an amicus curiae brief, the committee and the Board of Directors will follow the process set forth in the policy specifically adopted to govern such decisions, which is appended to the By-Laws.

Any questions regarding Amicus Curiae brief filings or to request consideration, please contact our Amicus Curiae Chair at You may express your interest to join the Amicus Curiae Committee on your Member Account page.

Current Briefs Under Submission/Previous Briefs Filed:

Commonwealth v. Bredhold, 2017-SC-000436-TG
Upon motion of defense counsel, the circuit judge excluded death as a possible punishment because the defendant, although over 18 at the time of the offense, was less than 21 years old, and because compelling psychological, sociological, and medical evidence showed that imposition of death in such cases was foreclosed by many of the same considerations that justified exclusion of the death penalty for persons under 18 in Roper v. Simmons and subsequent cases. KACDL was asked to work with the National Association for Pubic Defense. After reviewing the brief drafted for NAPD, KACDL joined in the excellent arguments presented. Some 19 other organizations have lined up as amici in support of the circuit court ruling excluding death as a potential punishment. Oral arguments are to be heard on September 21, 2018. 

Commonwealth v. R.S., ET AL, 2017-SC-000587-DG
KACDL was asked to intervene after the Commonwealth’s DR was granted. A Brief dealing with the admissibility of “sex offender” or “registrant” status as a factor in KRS Chapter 620 decisions was filed. Our Brief pointed out that this status was not admissible under Article IV of the Rules of Evidence and the relevant statutes which did list the considerations for decisions in DNA actions. The Brief also pointed out that if sex offender registrant status is allowed as a consideration when DNA actions are brought few plea bargains will be reached because defendants would be unwilling to accept the near-automatic loss of their children as a consequence a plea. KACDL also pointed out that pleas entered without formal advice from the judge would be susceptible to vacation under RCr 11.42 or CR 60.02 and Stiger v. Commonwealth and Lee v. United States.  All briefs in this appeal have been filed. It was sent for assignment on June 20th and is pending a decision as to oral argument.
Sneed v. Burress     Cert Petition        No. 16-8047
On Monday April 17, 2017, the Order List showed that Mr. Sneed's petition for certiorari was denied at the conference of April 13th.  The Amicus Committee consulted with the U of L Brandeis School of Law Practicum and the National Association of Public Defense, the entities that actually drafted the amicus brief. After consideration, KACDL was listed as a signatory on the amicus brief that was filed. Although the time between submisssion of the amicus and the decision on the petition was short, and although the Kentucky Attorney General took the unusual step of refusing to send a letter permitting the filing of the amicus brief, the Supreme Court Order granted the motion to file.
Christopher Walls v. Theodore Custer   No. 2015-CA-001107
A Petition for Rehearing was filed on February 14, 2017. No response was filed by the Corrections Cabinet and no action has been taken by the Court of Appeals. KACDL had filed an amicus brief in support of Mr. Walls' appeal. The appeal was dismissed by Opinion and Order. Consideration of further action in support of discretionary review will depend on the disposition by the Court of Appeals.
Commonwealth v. Joshua Jackson   No. 2016-SC-000530-TG
Commonwealth v. Telly Denson        No. 2016-SC-000531-TG
These are appeals arising from orders of the Warren Circuit Court dismissing aggravated DUI prosecutions in which the Circuit Judge held that prior DUI convictions occurring outside the 5 year lookback period (the law when the convictions were entered) could not be used as predicate convictions, despite the fact that the current DUI charges arose after the effective date of the 2016 ten year lookback expansion. The Commonwealth appealed and obtained a transfer to the Supreme Court. The Amicus Committee secured the permission of the attorney for Jackson and Denson to file an amicus brief. Josh Reho and David Niehaus drafted amicus briefs for submission in these two cases and obtained a majority e-vote for filing the briefs from the Board. They were timely filed in accordance with the Order of the Supreme Court granting leave to file.  The Commonwealth's reply brief is due Monday, April 24th.

UPDATE! 9.28.17

SCOKY dealt a blow to DUI defendants today by upholding the 10-year lookback’s retroactive application. KACDL filed amicus briefs on behalf of the defendants.