Taylorsville woman unsuccessfully attempts to get family court judge John David Myles arrested

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Claims judge did not take proper oath of office, but records reveal oath on file

By Mallory Bilger

A Taylorsville woman who believes she was treated unfairly by Family Court Judge John David Myles unsuccessfully called for the judge’s arrest during court July 2 and was removed from the court room.
Deborah Klotz, of Taylorsville, was representing herself in a divorce case when she questioned if Myles was hearing her case under a proper oath of office. Klotz claimed that Myles did not have proper documentation of his oath filed with the Kentucky Secretary of State and, because of that, he was not legally able to preside over her hearing.
Myles was elected family court judge in Spencer, Anderson and Shelby counties and took office Jan. 1, 2007.
“I executed a citizens arrest,” Klotz told The Spencer Magnet later that Monday. “(Law enforcement) declined to take him into custody. They said they would give it to the county attorney and let them investigate it.”
Kentucky law does require that elected officials take an oath of office, however, the Kentucky Revised Statute addressing oaths does not stipulate a time window in which the written documentation must be filed with the Secretary of State. It only states that an oath must be taken.
The Spencer Magnet was able to obtain Myles’ written documentation of oath filed with the Secretary of State’s office. Magnet reporters also located photos from late 2006 of Myles taking his oath, which was administered by Judge Charles Hickman. A Spencer Magnet reporter attempted to contact Myles, but he declined to comment through a member of his office staff in Shelby County.
Klotz was removed from the court room by two bailiffs when she continued to address the issue repeatedly.  
“ . . . She was affecting a citizens arrest and asked the bailiff to arrest the judge. However, two bailiffs escorted Ms. Klotz out of the courtroom instead,” according to a written statement Spencer County Circuit Clerk Becky Robinson formulated after reviewing the July 2 court tape.
In the statement, Robinson noted that Myles denied Klotz’s  claims in court and twice blamed the circuit clerk for failing to file documentation of his oath properly. According to the statement, Myles recognized that an issue with the filing was brought up four years ago and addressed.
“Judge Myles said there was no reason to recuse himself, (and) that (Klotz) was free to check with the Secretary of State,” the statement said.
Robinson pointed out in her statement  that the judge was incorrect in blaming the circuit clerk for the error. According to KRS 62.020(2), the person administering the oath holds the responsibility of certifying in writing that the oath of office was administered and the date of its administration. According to the statute, the person administering the oath shall file a written certification with the Secretary of State’s office. In this case, Hickman bore the burden of filing the written certification.
“There is one issue that I do want to clarify,” Robinson wrote. “During the proceeding, Judge Myles stated that the circuit clerk failed to get the document to the Secretary of State and that he believed this to be the duty of the clerk. However, according to the statute KRS 62.020, the only time a circuit clerk is required to have any involvement with the written certification that a constitutional oath was administered and the filing of the document in the appropriate office is when the circuit clerk is the person administering the oath.”
Myles was contacted by reporters a second time about erroneously accusing the circuit clerk for failure to file the oath documentation, but, again, no comment was provided.  
According to documentation obtained from the Secretary of State’s office via an open records request, written documentation of Myles’ oath was received Nov. 19, 2008. The Secretary of State’s director of communications, Lynn Zellen, wrote in an email that she had no explanation for the time lapse between the date when Myles took office and the date when his documentation was filed.
“The statutes do not prescribe a time frame within which the oath must be filed, and this office does not have any information regarding the timing of the filing of Judge Myles’ oath of office,” Zellen wrote.
According to statute, Myles did not break any laws regarding his oath of office, making Klotz’s accusations unfounded. Klotz said she pursued the issue because she wanted Myles removed from office.
“I got familiar with Mr. Myles because I went through a divorce, and during the many times I’ve been in his court room, as I stated today, I have not received fairness or impartiality,” she said.
Klotz said she does not expect that Myles will be removed from office, but that she has considered filing a complaint with the state judicial conduct committee.
“I’ll think about doing that,” Klotz said. “It’s not likely they’re going to do anything.”