Trial Commissioners, 1906-1975

In 1906 the Kentucky General Assembly recognized that the state's high court, the Court of Appeals, was swamped by its heavy case load and need help. They created a court-appointed officer, the trial commissioner, to assist in this work. 1906 Ky. Acts, sec. 2793. Trial commissioners had the same requirements as elected judges and their responsibilities included writing opinions. In 1924, the legislature expanded the number of commissioners to four. 1924 Ky. Acts, c. 21, sec. 1. In 1942, the legislature authorized the court to appoint former judges with more than eight years experience as commissioner, in addition to the four ordinary commissioners. 1942 Ky. Acts c. 49, sec. 1. (As there was no judicial retirement system at the time, it gave the court a way to provide for senior judges). The system ended in 1975 with the adoption of the new judicial article, which abolished the Court of Appeals and established the Supreme Court. John D. Palmore, Commissioners of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, 1906-1976, Kentucky Bench & Bar (Win. 1991) 12-14.

 

1906-1924 (single trial commissioner)
1. John D. Carroll 1906-1907 (later elected CA judge, 1907)
2. William Roger Clay 1907-1921 (later elected CA judge, 1921)
3. C.C. Turner 1921-1928 (prior CA judge, 1912-1917)

1924-1942 (4 trial commissioners)
4. James P. Hobson, 1924-1934 (prior CA judge, 1899-1915)
5. W. Truman Drury, 1924-1938
6. Prescott Sandidge, 1924-1928
7. John W. Wheeler, 1928 (Mar-Oct)
8. Thomas D. Tinsley, 1928-1930
9. Osso W. Stanley, 1928-1963
10. Charles F. Creal, 1931-1940
11. Charles H. Morris, 1934-1959
12. N. Porter Sims, 1938-1942 (later elected CA judge, 1942)
13. R. Campbell Van Sant, 1941-1951

1942-1975 (4 trial commissioners plus court empowered to appoint former judges with at least 8 years service)
14. Wesley Vick Perry, 1943-1955 (prior CA judge, 1931-1942)
15. Watson Clay, 1947-1971
16. Gus Thomas, 1951 (Jan-Jun) (prior CA judge, 1915-1950)
17. Robert K. Cullen, 1951-1975
18. Beverly B. Waddell, 1951-1970
19. Bernard B. Davis, 1963-1971
20. Roy D. Vance, 1970-1975 (future SC justice, 1983-1991)
21. W. Major Gardner, 1971-1975
22. Walter L. Catinna, 1972-1976