Candidates criticized for false and misleading advertising

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

It is one of the most hotly contested races in the upcoming election here in eastern Kentucky, and it is one people have voted on before.

Current Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott is running against current Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Janet Stumbo.

Stumbo is looking to regain her position on the high court after losing to Scott in 2004.

Recently both campaigns were criticized by the Kentucky Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee for running false and misleading advertisements.

The Kentucky Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee calls one ad by Will T. Scott a "deliberate appeal to racial prejudice."

The advertisement shows two African American murder defendants sentenced to life for murdering pregnant women. He accuses Stumbo of being "soft on crime" because she voted to overturn the conviction.

The committee said that the ad was false and misleading because the two black men were juxtaposed against two white pregnant women who were apparently not involved in the case.

"What we found to be highly offensive was the use of the two black men repeatedly. This is offensive, misleading and false in our opinion," said chairman of the committee William Fortune.

Scott says he used this case because Stumbo was the only dissenting justice.

"We did not pick that because of the color of the defendants. Those were two murder cases," said Will T. Scott.

Fortune does say this ad does not misrepresent her dissenting opinion which is what Scott says he was trying to point out.

"We are just pointing out how reliably liberal she is in the criminal law area, and we are pointing that out and making the contrast," said Scott.

Janet Stumbo was also criticized for one of her ads which she says was a response to previous attack ads. She criticizes one of Scott's dissenting opinions in a child abuse case.

The advertisement stated "as a result out of hunger, to avoid starvation, the child consumed his own human waste."

"That's simply not in the opinion. It says maybe he was eating feces, but it doesn't say anything about avoiding starvation, and we thought that was false it's not in the opinion itself," said Fortune.

"Poor word choice? Fine. I thought the facts of the case merited it, and that was the only complaint about it," said Janet Stumbo.

She says she pulled the ads from media outlets.

She also responded to Scott's claims that she has sided with criminals 59% of the time.

"It's not like I'm looking at a human being and saying I'm on his side. I'm saying I'm deciding this issue this way," said Stumbo.

She also says that percentage is misleading because it only looks at published cases, and she says a large majority of opinions are not published.

The Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee also agreed with Stumbo.

The Kentucky Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee is an independent citizens group to encourage candidates for judicial office to campaign in a dignified way and to not engage in personal attacks and false and misleading statements.

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