Justice Sam Wright of the 7th Supreme Court District has filed for reelection after serving the 22 counties of his district for the last four years. In addition to Letcher, counties in his district include Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Elliot, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Rowan and Wolfe.
During Wright’s tenure the Kentucky Supreme Court has been faced with some of the most momentous issues in the state’s recent history. Wright says he has carefully considered every case before the court and followed the constitution in his rulings.
Wright was born and raised Thornton. His father was a probation tion and parole officer, and his mother ran a country store. Wright and his sister were raised in an apartment in the back of that small family business, where Wright worked evenings and weekends while attending Whitesburg High School.
Wright attended Hazard Community College, where he obtained an Associate’s Degree. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1978 and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1981. Working his way through college, he spent his summers employed at a coal tipple. After graduating from Law School, Wright returned to eastern Kentucky. He joined the law firm of Cook and Wright in 1982. In 1989 he opened his own law practice.
Justice Wright married his college sweetheart, and they have two sons, who have remained in the region — one as a Wildlife Biologist, and one studying computer programming.
He has worked as a trial judge for more than 23 years, and was elected Letcher District Judge in 1992. Beginning in 1993, Wright was elected Judge of the 47th Judicial Circuit Court for four terms. When he took over as circuit judge the court had the worst backlog of cases in the state. Wright is credited wih eliminating the backlog and transforming the court into one of the most efficient in the state.
While circuit judge, Wright established the first Parent Education Clinic in eastern Kentucky to reduce the harm children suffer in divorces.
In 2004 he obtained a grant to start a Drug Court to help individuals with criminal convictions recover from addiction. The Letcher County Fiscal Court unanimously passed a resolution describing the results achieved by Judge Wright’s Drug Court as “amazingly successful.” Wright obtained another grant in 2015 to expand his drug court.
Justice Wright was first elected to the Supreme Court in November of 2015, and took the oath of office on the Letcher County Courthouse steps on November 23, 2015.