Whitesburg KY
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Federal judge rules against candidate

A Letcher County man who was removed from the election ballot in 2018 for failing to meet state requirements for office has lost his case in federal court.

Ellis Keyes, of Love’s Branch, attempted to run for the office of 47th District Commonwealth’s Attorney but was disqualified because he had not been a practicing attorney and had in fact didn’t have a law degree. Keyes then sued in U.S. District Court in Pikeville, challenging the assertion he was not qualified. The Kenvictims. tucky Constitution specifically says that, “No person shall be eligible to the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney unless he shall have been a licensed practicing lawyer four years.”

Keyes acknowledged to the court that he was not an attorney, but insisted that he could run anyway. Keyes, who has filed numerous lawsuits in many different courts, acted as his own attorney in the case.

U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell disagreed. On September 2, she granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison Banks, whom Keyes had challenged in the election. While granting the motion, Caldwell did not adopt a recommendation by the magistrate judge that Keyes be labeled, as Banks requested, a “vexatious litigator” and be barred from filing another suit on the matter.

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