King, 123020 KYAGO, AGO OAG 20-19

Docket Nº:AGO OAG 20-19
Case Date:December 30, 2020
Robert G. King Powell County Attorney
AGO OAG 20-19
No. OAG 20-19
Kentucky Attorney General Opinion
Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Attorney General
December 30, 2020
         Subject: Whether the offices of certified court security officer and county magistrate are incompatible.          Requested by: Robert G. King Powell County Attorney          Written by: Charles A. English Assistant Attorney General          Syllabus: Because the offices of certified court security officer and county magistrate are functionally incompatible, an individual may not simultaneously hold both positions.          OPINION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL          The Powell County Attorney asks whether the office of certified court security officer is incompatible with the office of county magistrate. For the reasons that follow, it is the Attorney General's opinion that these offices are incompatible.          First things first. Magistrates are county officers. See Ky. Const. § 99 (providing for the election of justices of the peace as county officers1). The tougher question is whether a court security officer under KRS 70.030(2) is a state officer or a county officer. This is an important initial determination because incompatibility— whstatutory—turns, in part, on whether the officers are state or county officers.          The Attorney General concludes that a court security officer is also a county officer. That is because a sheriff is a county officer, Ky. Const. § 99, and appoints and revokes the appointments of deputy sheriffs and court security officers at his pleasure. KRS 70.030(1), (2); KRS 23A.090(1). "Before any deputy [sheriff] executes the duties of his or her office, he or she shall take the oath required to be taken by the sheriff." KRS 70.030(1). And although not explicit in Kentucky's Constitution, see Ky. Const. § 99, deputy sheriffs are clearly county officers and not state officers. See KRS 61.080(2) (grouping "deputy sheriff" with other county officers); Ky. Const. § 91 (enumerating specific State officers such as "Treasurer, Auditor of Public Accounts, Commissioner of Agriculture, Labor and Statistics, Secretary of State, and Attorney-General" and not including deputy sheriff). Moreover, deputy sheriffs are logically characterized as county officers because they are "employee[s] of the...

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