The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last week that it will not allow the case to bypass the Kentucky Court of Appeal.
The court gave no explanation as to why it won’t hear the case, according to the minutes from the latest Kentucky Supreme Court session that were posted on the court’s web site Thursday.
Attorneys for both the Montgomery alcohol petitioners and Grow Trigg, the group that initiated a petition that led to the lift of prohibition countywide last year, will now have to file their paperwork with the Kentucky Court of Appeals, whose web site lists the case as active but doesn’t give a deadline for submitting written arguments.
“We’re going to have to start over again,” said W. E. “Petey” Rogers III, the attorney representing Grow Trigg.
Rogers said he filed the appeal and wanted it to be heard by the Supreme Court so that the issue could be “expedited” and resolved quickly, which he said was in the best interest not only of the citizens of the Montgomery precinct but of Trigg County as a whole.
Now that it has to go through the Court of Appeals, the process could take one-to-two years or more, Rogers said, although he added that he couldn’t give a more exact estimate.
Don Thomas, the attorney for the Montgomery precinct petitioners, said he wasn’t at all surprised by the ruling, as he thinks it is legally a matter for the Court of Appeals anyway.
Thomas also said that although it’s “unfortunate” that the matter won’t be resolved for a year or more, the court ultimately made the right decision.
Trigg County Judge-Executive Stan Humphries said he’s disappointed that the Surpreme Court decided not to hear the case, and also said that since nothing has changed since the appeal was first filed, no other liquor licenses of any kind can be issued in the precinct.
“We had hoped the Supreme Court would bring closure to this issue so that we could more forward,” Humphries said.
In January, 56th Circuit Court Judge C.A. “Woody” Woodall III ruled that a second alcohol referendum could be held in the Montgomery Precinct even though three years haven’t passed since the Sept. 29, 2009, special county election on the issue.
Shortly thereafter, Rogers announced that he would appeal the ruling and ask the Supreme Court to hear the case instead of sending it to the Court of Appeals first.
After the appeal, Woodall ruled in February to stay the election until either the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court rules on the issue, and also ruled that no new alcohol licenses will be issued to businesses in Montgomery Precinct.