Whitesburg KY

Judge Craft orders Keyes’s name stricken from ballot

The Letcher Circuit Judge has invalidated the candidacy of a Deane man accused of running for election to an office for which he is not qualified.

Ellis Keyes filed to run for 47th District Commonwealth’s Attorney in spite of the fact that he does not hold a Kentucky law license, and has never represented anyone other than himself in court. The Kentucky Constitution requires that a person have a valid Kentucky law license, and that he or she practice law for at least four years in order to hold the office of commonwealth’s attorney.

Incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison Banks filed suit asking that Keyes’s name be removed from the ballot, and asking to recover reasonable court costs associated with contesting the candidacy.

Letcher Circuit Judge James W. Craft II ruled Tuesday that Keyes is not qualified under Kentucky law and must be removed from the ballot.

At a contentious court hearing last Thursday, Keyes testified under oath that he had graduated from Loyola University School of Law, but had not received a degree. He told The Mountain Eagle earlier that he had graduated from Loyola University School of Law “about 1974.”

Adam Collins of Hindman, Banks’s attorney, asked Keyes to produce proof that he graduated, but Keyes said he didn’t have to.

“You didn’t ask me to bring proof and I didn’t bring proof,” Keyes snapped. “I don’t need proof. I said I did.”

The student records office of Loyola University, reached by phone this week, said a student with Keyes’s name and birthday attended the university for a short time, but never graduated.

“He did attend here for about a semester and a half, but it was not in law and he did not graduate,” a clerk at the university said.

Keyes, the clerk said, attended the university in its music program.

The hearing last week began with Keyes demanding that Craft step down from hearing the case because Craft had “never rendered a favorable judgment to me.” Keyes also claimed Craft had no jurisdiction to hear the case, and that no one would “suffer injury” if he ran.

He also took on the bar association, which under the authority of the Kentucky Supreme Court administers the tests all lawyers are required to pass. Keyes called the bar association a “special union” and said it is “incompetent and insane.”

“The bar association is a subversive organization and the judge is a member of the bar association,” Keyes said.

Craft overruled Keyes on all counts, and again overruled him when Keyes tried to delay the hearing by saying he had not received 10 days notice, and was not prepared. He had sought to delay the hearing another month.

Craft, reading from the court file, said Keyes had 14 days notice, and had filed an answer to the suit.

“I read your motion. It’s very well written, very well researched, so I think you’ve already had adequate time,” Craft said.

Keyes did gain a few more days after reading from an anti-government web site for about 20 minutes. Keyes asked for a 10-minute recess to do more research, with the intent of coming back to court to make more oral arguments. Craft instead gave him until Monday to submit more arguments in writing. Keyes on Monday submitted some of the same cases he had read aloud from the Internet, and Craft ordered him removed from the ballot on Tuesday.

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