BARDWELL — Ballard County resident Mark Medlin now officially sits on the bench for the 59th Judicial District, as the new district judge took the oath Wednesday morning in a courtroom at the Carlisle County Courthouse.
Gov. Andy Beshear appointed Medlin, of Kevil, this month to take over the district judge role for Ballard and Carlisle counties. There were two other nominees for the vacancy: Dawn E. Stacy and Grace Eleanor Stewart, both of Kevil. Medlin is replacing District Judge Louis Keith Myers, who has retired.
“It’s an extraordinary honor and very humbling, obviously,” Medlin told The Sun, noting he thought the other nominees are “very exceptional” lawyers.
“... It’s really kind of beyond words to describe what it means for the governor to reach out that way and entrust a pretty important responsibility to me.”
Medlin was swore in by First Judicial Circuit Judge Tim Langford. His wife, Shelley Medlin, helped him put on the judge’s robe in front of a crowd of supporters.
“He has served as master commissioner in Ballard County, which is one of the counties that I serve in and he has done that job very well,” Langford told The Sun. “He had to resign that job earlier this morning in order to become judge. I’ve known him for years and see him practice law and also work as master commissioner. He’ll do a good job as district judge.”
Medlin described the district court as being “closest to the people.”
People may visit district court because of a death in the family, or a traffic violation, or another matter. The court handles a variety of issues, such as civil cases that involve $5,000 or less, probate matters, misdemeanor offenses, traffic offenses, ordinance violations, juvenile cases, domestic violence, evictions and more.
“It’s my goal to make sure that the court is respectful, that it’s impartial, that it’s just and equitable, and those will be my goals going forward as a judge,” Medlin said.
Medlin grew up in Ballard County, spending half the time in La Center and half the time on a farm just outside of La Center. He’s been a Ballard County resident for most of his life. He graduated from Ballard Memorial High School and attended the University of Kentucky, where he earned his law degree.
Medlin said he worked at a Paducah law firm for about 12 years and has been out on his own since 1997. He has handled different legal matters through his practice. His legal experience includes criminal and civil cases, as well as trust, estate and real estate work.
Medlin only had praise for his judicial predecessor. Myers was also in the audience Wednesday, and Medlin planned to do a “passing of the gavel” at the district court in Ballard County.
He said Myers did an exceptional job in his “24-plus years.”
“That’s a full generation of time he’s spent on the bench. He started as a very young man. I’m starting as kind of an old man. We were friends all the way back to high school, played ball together,” Medlin said.
“He was an excellent judge, a compassionate, caring judge, (and) wanted to make sure that people were respected and that they were given second changes and opportunities to redeem themselves if they made mistakes. It’s not only literally, but figuratively, it’s going to be big shoes to fill.”
As an appointed judge, Medlin said he will complete the rest of Myers’ term and he plans to run for election next year to keep the seat. It’s a nonpartisan position. He wants residents to know that his only promise is that everyone will receive respect, and he’s a “believer in the rule of law.”
“They will be treated with impartiality, with justice and equity,” he reiterated. “(That) will guide my determination.”