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John Knox Mills Runs for Circuit Judge

July 18, 2008

By Dean Manning, The Sentinel Echo, London, Ky.

Jul. 17–After 17 years serving as district judge in Laurel and Knox counties, John Knox Mills is seeking the vacant circuit judgeship.

Mills, who was back on the bench for the first time in a year after serving a tour of duty with the Kentucky National Guard in Iraq, announced Monday that he is running for the judgeship that has been vacant since Judge Roderick Messer retired in June.

“I felt like the time was right,” Mills said of his decision to run. “I have the opportunity and I feel I’m ready to take the next step.”

Mills admitted that he has some big shoes to fill with the precedents Judge Messer set such as the establishment drug court, but he looks to continue what Messer has begun.

“Judge Messer was a pioneer,” Mills said. “Because he is a senior judge, we will still have him around.”

While acknowledging some of the procedural differences between district and circuit court such as dealing with felonies as opposed to misdemeanors, 12 people on a jury instead of 6, and more complex civil cases, being a judge at any level is about applying the law in a fair and impartial manner.

“You are going to see cases like the CTA Acoustics civil suit, which was one of the most complicated cases I have ever seen,” Mills said. “Some of the areas of law are different, but it is still about bringing common sense to the bench.”

When not on the bench, Mills leads a full life. He has been married to his wife, Jennifer, for 20 years. The couple has three children.

Mills is a Lt. Colonel in the Kentucky National Guard, an assistant scout master with Boy Scout Troop 529 in Barbourville, a member of the Kentucky Continuing Education Judicial Education Committee and the Kentucky Safe Schools Council.

After graduating from Knox Central High School and the University of Kentucky, Mills attended Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University from which he received is law degree in 1989.

He still resides in Barbourville.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Sentinel Echo, London, Ky.

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