News Around the State

Published 12:09 pm Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kentucky lawmakers vote to limit some attorneys’ fees

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kentucky have given final approval to a bill to limit how much money outside attorneys make while representing the state in legal fights.

The bill cleared the House on Thursday and goes to Gov. Matt Bevin.

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Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear says the bill would limit his ability to recruit outside attorneys to represent the state in complex lawsuits.

Supporters say the bill seeks to maximize the amount from a settlement or judgment that goes to those hurt by a transgressor’s actions.

The bill would set limits on contingency fees paid to outside lawyers.

Under the bill, those fees would be capped at 20 percent of a settlement or judgment up to $10 million. Fee percentages would shrink for amounts above $10 million.

Kentucky man indicted for fatal shooting of police officer

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man has been formally charged in the fatal shooting of a police officer last week.

John Russell Hall was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on charges including murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, among others. WYMT-TV reports Hall is accused of killing Pikeville Police Officer Scotty Hamilton.

Hamilton was killed March 13 while patrolling the Hurricane Creek area with a state trooper. The two came upon a suspicious vehicle and spoke with occupants. The two had separated to search for more possible suspects when shots were fired. The trooper later found Hamilton with a fatal gunshot wound.

Four other people — Michael Slone, Gregory Slone, Amanda Dotson, and Jeanne Blackburn — have been charged in the crime with hindering prosecution.

Ex-Miss Kentucky gets probation for bringing pot into prison

LIMA, Ohio (AP) — A former Miss Kentucky who tried to smuggle a small amount of marijuana into an Ohio prison for her boyfriend won’t have to spend time behind bars.

The Lima News reports 28-year-old Kia Hampton, of Louisville, Kentucky, received probation Wednesday during a hearing in Allen County in western Ohio. Authorities say Hampton was found with a marijuana-filled balloon at the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution in May 2017.

While prosecutors pushed for a prison sentence, the judge said Hampton seemed remorseful. She could have received three years in prison.

Hampton was crowned Miss Kentucky in 2010 and became the first black woman to represent the state in the Miss USA pageant.

She told the judge Wednesday she wants a “fresh start” and attributed her behavior to “foolishness.”

Bill to charge fees for disabled parking heads to governor

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky could soon begin charging a fee for multiple disabled parking placards.

The state Senate passed House bill 81 on Wednesday. The bill would charge $10 for a duplicate disabled parking placard. Disabled people can still get the first placard for free.

Kentucky stopped charging fees for disabled parking placards in 2009. In 2008, the state had issued 32,000 placards. The next year, the state issued more than 209,000 placards. Disability advocate David Allgood said the explosion in placard has made it difficult for disabled people to find parking.

Republican Rep. Jerry Miller, the bill’s sponsor, said he hopes the fee will cut down on the number of placards issued.

The House passed the bill earlier this month. The bill now heads to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk.

Police: Former university worker forged checks

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (AP) — Police say a former Northern Kentucky University administrator bilked the school out of thousands of dollars.

WCPO-TV reports Michelle Hall is scheduled to be sentenced later this month after she pleaded guilty to theft and forgery.

Hall was an assistant director of admission at the university, and she handled deposit checks. A police report says Hall changed 292 checks written to the university into her name, and cashed them for a total of more than $18,000.

A Campbell County grand jury indicted Hall in November on charges of theft and forgery. NKU fired Hall on Jan. 4 and she was arrested the next day.

Police caught on to Hall’s scheme after a student’s mother noticed that a check she wrote had been altered to “M R Hall.”