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Judge Nickell files for re-election
Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Shea Nickell

PADUCAH, Ky. - Judge Shea Nickell has filed for re-election to the Kentucky Court of Appeals for Division 1 of the First Judicial District. In addition to other judicial duties, Nickell currently serves as chairperson of the Court’s personnel committee. 

“It has been a high honor to serve as an appellate judge,” Nickell said. “Decisions of the Court of Appeals have far-reaching consequences. I’ve always sought to interpret the law honestly and to apply the law fairly and impartially, while protecting our common values and maintaining integrity on the Court. In seeking re-election, I hope to remain a positive force as the Court continues its important work.” 

Nickell is a 1984 graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law. Prior to serving as an appellate judge, he practiced law twenty-two years, serving as a trial attorney, prosecutor, and public defender, and teaching as a college instructor at Murray State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1995, the Kentucky Bar Association named Nickell the Outstanding Young Lawyer. 

Nickell’s 2014 campaign committee will be chaired by Raymond McLennan, a retired federal Internal Revenue Agent and chairperson of the Paducah Power Company, along with Buel Stalls, a retired Murray businessman and civic leader. Both have extensive experience in running political campaigns. John Halicks, a Paducah accountant, will serve as campaign treasurer. 

When first elected in November 2006, Nickell’s campaign raised and spent over $180,000, and he received roughly 60% of all votes cast, including 80% in the Jackson Purchase area and 90% in his home county of McCracken. In that election, Nickell was endorsed by a wide range of statewide organizations, including the Kentucky Right to Life, AFL-CIO, Mine Workers, Fraternal Order of Police, and Professional Firefighters. In addition, his political advertisements, handled by the Stewart Media Group of Frankfort, received several industry awards for creative excellence. 

The Court of Appeals hears appeals of decisions rendered in the Commonwealth’s trial courts. Cases are not retried before the appellate judges. Only the record of the original court proceeding is reviewed, with attorneys arguing legal issues to the judges for an opinion affirming or reversing and remanding the trial court’s determination. The Court’s published opinions are thereafter cited as legal precedent. In limited circumstances, a party may appeal a decision of the Court of Appeals for further review by the Kentucky Supreme Court. 

Fourteen appellate judges serve on the Court of Appeals, with two elected from each of the seven appellate judicial districts. Judges are divided into panels of three to review and decide cases, with the majority determining the decision. The composition of the panels changes throughout the year, and the panels do not sit permanently in one location, but travel to various locations within the Commonwealth to hear arguments. Nickell has been able to bring the Court to western Kentucky on numerous occasions, with sessions having been held in Bardwell, Cadiz, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, Mayfield, Paducah, Russellville, and Smithland. 

Division 1 of the First Judicial District includes the counties of Allen, Ballard, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Crittenden, Edmonson, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Hopkins, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Muhlenberg, Simpson, Todd, Trigg, and Webster. The general election will take place next November. 

Over the years, Nickell has also been involved in numerous civic organizations. He is a past club president, district governor, state chairperson, Eye Foundation trustee, and international committee member for Lions Clubs International, and is a former chairperson for the four-state Lions Clubs/WPSD Local 6 “Telethon of Stars.” He is an Eagle Scout and served as a board member of the former Shawnee Trails Boy Scout Council. A Master Mason, Nickell has also been active in various wildlife preservation organizations, and was recently recognized by Ducks Unlimited as a Life Sponsor. Nickell is a also member of the Sons of the American Revolution, has served as a local museum board member, and lectures on regional history. 

Nickell is an ordained deacon at Heartland Worship Center, and has served as music director at Concord United Methodist Church and First Baptist Church in Paducah. He is married to Dr. Carolyn Sue Watson, a Paducah pathologist, and is the son of two former teachers, Anna June Nickell and the late Carl Duane “Red” Nickell.

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