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
Whether the offices of certified court security officer and
county magistrate are incompatible.
by: Robert G. King Powell County Attorney
by: Charles A. English Assistant Attorney General
Because the offices of certified court security officer and
county magistrate are functionally incompatible, an
individual may not simultaneously hold both positions.
OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
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
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.
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...