‘Insult to the process.’ Judge who wouldn’t hear gay adoptions skips disciplinary hearing.

By Greg Kocher

A judge did not attend a Friday hearing to answer charges that he violated ethics rules when he objected to handling adoption cases involving gay parents.

Neither W. Mitchell Nance, family court judge for Barren and Metcalfe counties, nor his attorneys attended a hearing of the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission in Lexington.

Nance had announced in October that he would resign effective Saturday night. Nance’s attorneys asked the commission to dismiss the case given his decision to resign.

But Steve Woltnizek, chairman of the commission, said “Whether Judge Nance appears or not, we are required to conduct a hearing.”

Commission attorney Jeff Mando said afterward that it is “not totally unusual” for a judge to be absent, “especially in light of the fact he resigned.”

Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, which advocates for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, said he thought Nance’s absence was “an insult to the process.”

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