Logan County Attorney Joe Ross announced this week his plan to seek election as judge for the 7th Judicial Circuit, making him the second candidate to enter the field.
Ross and Russellville-based attorney Joe Hendricks Jr. will campaign to replace sitting 7th Circuit Judge Tyler Gill, who is retiring effective July 31.
Ross, elected county attorney in 2010, has prosecuted Logan County’s misdemeanor cases and violations and handled many felony cases that eventually go to circuit court to be resolved.
“I have dealt with cases that come before the circuit judge since my first days as an attorney,” Ross said. “I think I’ve got a broad diversity of experience in the Logan and Todd circuit dealing with the type of issues the circuit court deals with on a daily basis.
In additional to criminal prosecutions, Ross as county attorney acts as legal adviser to the Logan County government and the county’s special taxing districts, and is also responsible for child support enforcement, delinquent tax and cold check collection and all juvenile court proceedings.
In addition to his responsibilities as county attorney, Ross maintains a private legal practice that handles civil litigation, domestic relations cases, estate planning, adoptions and property disputes.
Prior to becoming county attorney, Ross was an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in the 7th Circuit, which covers Logan and Todd counties.
In that role, he prosecuted and obtained convictions in a number of serious criminal cases.
Ross long nurtured an interest in the legal profession, and his focus on criminal law developed during his first job after obtaining his law degree from the University of Kentucky, where he worked for Gill as his law clerk, consulting with the judge and performing legal research on criminal and civil matters that made their way to circuit court.
“Getting to see him at work for a year, handling multiple trials every month gave me new respect for the practice of law and more interest in criminal law,” Ross said.
When Ross was 17, an illness caused him to lose his central vision, leaving him legally blind.
A career in law did not seem to be an option as Ross went through college, but he thrived as a student and considered careers in the field of social work.
Ross’ vision returned four years after his illness, and with it his desire to enter the legal field as a way of helping the community and repaying people who helped him as he dealt with his diminished eyesight.
“I knew being an attorney would give me more options than any profession I could think of to do that sort of advocacy,” Ross said about serving the community.