Western Kentucky prosecutor to resign rather than face impeachment

Andrew Wolfson (Louisville)

      One of the two Kentucky commonwealth attorneys facing impeachment for misconduct in office has decided to resign.

      Rick Boling, elected prosecutor in Christian County, will resign Feb. 28, according to Rep. Jason Nemes, who last week introduced resolutions to consider the impeachment of Boling and Ronnie Goldy Jr., the elected prosecutor for the 21st Judicial Circuit.

      Boling also told Christian County’s circuit judges his intention to resign.  He did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

      The Courier Journal reported in January 2020 that Boling cited false information in seeking a pardon from former Gov. Matt Bevin for Dayton Jones. Boling, who received campaign contributions from Jones’ grandparents, later apologized to voters and the victim, who was 15 years old and unconscious when he was sodomized and nearly died of his injuries.

      A state hearing officer also found Boling misled a jury in an arson and manslaughter trial when he said he was unaware of any evidence that the defendant was intoxicated. In fact, a detective had told him she was “out of her frickin’ mind” at the time of the crime. The Supreme Court reversed the defendant’s conviction, finding Boling had engaged in prosecutorial misconduct.

      A hearing officer said Boling should be suspended from practicing law for five years — a recommendation is still pending before the Supreme Court. 

      Nemes said a committee appointed to consider impeachment of both men will decide whether to suspend proceedings against Boling, who if impeached and found guilty could be barred from seeking any future public office.

      Boling and Goldy both were expelled from the Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Association, and the Supreme Court temporarily suspended Goldy from practicing law.

      The Courier Journal disclosed in July that Goldy had exchanged 230 pages of Facebook messages with a defendant promising to do favors in court in exchange for nude images of her.

      Goldy and his attorney did not respond to messages Monday about whether he intends to contest his potential impeachment.

      A special prosecutor, Kelly Sharpe, of Mason County has been appointed to fill in for Goldy, but Boling has continued to prosecute cases and was in a murder trial Monday.

      His attempt to win a pardon for Jones ignited a furor in Western Kentucky, in part because of the seriousness of the victim’s injuries.

      Jones pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years for sodomy, wanton endangerment and producing pornography, for making a Snapchat video of the assault.

      But after Boling secretly lobbied Bevin, the governor commuted his sentence to time served and he was released.

      Bevin claimed the only evidence implicating Jones came from co-defendants trying to get leniency, but a Courier Journal review of the case shows the governor was wrong — that other witnesses besides the co-defendants implicated him and Jones implicated himself.

      Federal prosecutors were so furious about the commutation that they won the indictment of Jones on a federal pornography charge — production of child pornography — to which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight years in federal prison.

      This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Rick Boling resignation Kentucky commonwealth attorney

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