2018 Outstanding Prosecutor Awards

Outstanding Commonwealth's Attorney

The Honorable Dan Boaz, representing the 2nd Judicial Circuit, which consists of McCracken County

Daniel York Boaz never really had much of a choice. He came from an entire family of lawyers, including his father, Samuel Boaz, who was one of the most honorable and well-liked attorneys in the region. Many of Dan’s uncles were also lawyers—some were “plain ole country lawyers,” some became circuit judges, and one—Kentucky Congressman Frank Albert Stubblefield—served on the Warren Commission that investigated the Kennedy assassination.

Dan graduated from Murray State University in December of 1981 and worked for a while as a juvenile officer for McCracken County, before he was impressed into law school at Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, graduating from there in November of 1985. After passing the bar in April of 1986, Dan returned to Paducah, where he practiced law with his father, and also became a part-time Assistant County Attorney to McCracken County Attorney Fred Grimes. Eventually he became a full time assistant county attorney and was appointed to the office of County Attorney in January of 1997, upon Grimes’ retirement. During his time in office, Dan was twice awarded with the honor of being named Outstanding County Attorney, in 2002 and 2008.

In August of 2009, when Governor Steve Beshear appointed Dan as Commonwealth’s Attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit of Kentucky at Paducah, Dan quickly accepted the position and took his trial skills to a higher level, trying death penalty murder cases, child sex abuse cases, robbery and assault cases and other violent crimes.

The Honorable Shelly Miller, representing the 11th Judicial Circuit, which consists of Green, Marion, Taylor and Washington counties

Shelly Miller is the Commonwealth Attorney for the 11th Judicial Circuit which includes Washington, Marion, Taylor and Green counties. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky in 1989. After graduation, she worked in Washington, D.C., as a legislative intern to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. She then graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1993 and worked for two years a law clerk to United States District Judge Henry Wilhoit, in Ashland and Lexington Kentucky.

She initially practiced with Miller, Miller & Miller, PLC and later with Bertram, Cox & Miller, LLP in Campbellsville. She served as an assistant commonwealth attorney from 2000 until she was elected as the commonwealth attorney in 2012.

Shelly has prosecuted numerous cases in all four counties of the 11th Judicial Circuit. In 2007, she represented Kentucky at the National District Attorneys Associations seminar entitled Child Proof. This seminar at the Ernest P. Hollings National Advocacy Center on the campus of University of South Carolina focused on advanced trial advocacy training for child abuse prosecutors.

She serves as a director on the Board of the Kentucky Distinguished Young Women. She has served as the co-chairman of the School Board at Kentucky Christian Academy. She has served as children’s choir director and adult Sunday school class teacher at the Campbellsville Christian Church.

Shelly has benefitted from the experience and wisdom of many commonwealth attorneys across the Commonwealth of Kentucky on whom she has relied for advice over the years. She appreciates the contributions of her colleagues and hopes to be able to be a resource to others who might benefit from her many experiences in prosecution.

Outstanding County Attorney

The Honorable Kennis Maynard has served as Martin County Attorney from 1990-1994 and again from August 2002 until his planned retirement date of August 31, 2018.

Kennis grew up in Beauty, Kentucky, graduated Warfield High School in 1970, he attended Alice Lloyd College and Pikeville College and worked in the coal mines while he attended law school at Chase – in which he graduated in 1977. Prior to being elected County Attorney, Kennis had his own law practice in Inez, served as the public defender in Martin County, and even co-owned a newspaper, The Martin County Sun.

During his tenure as Martin County Attorney, Kennis started the Martin County S.A.V.E. Program in 2008, which is an organization that counsels to drug addicted individuals in a faith based environment. As a Prosecutor, Kennis believes in responsibility for one’s actions. However, he feels it’s his duty to encourage those struggling with drug addiction to seek treatment and has been a strong advocate for the Drug Court Program in Martin County. Kennis is the epitome of a true public servant, never shying away from helping anyone who graced his door, at home or at the office.

The Honorable Stacy Tapke was elected as the Kenton County Attorney on November 4, 2014. Prior to her election Stacy worked as an assistant county attorney, where her duties included handling civil matters for Kenton County, representing the Commonwealth in guardianship jury trials, assisting families with Casey’s Law and mental health petitions, collecting delinquent property taxes and prosecuting misdemeanor and traffic offenses. She is the first woman in Kenton County’s history to hold this office.

She has served in leadership positions in many community organizations, including LEGACY, the Dorothy Wood Foundation for Redwood, the Northern Kentucky Forum, the Northern Kentucky Bar Association the Kentucky Bar Association. and serves as a director for the Kentucky County Attorney’s Association.

Her awards and honors include receiving the first annual Service to Community Award presented by the Kentucky Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division, the Rising Star award by the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, the 2014 Vision 2015 Young Visionary Award, and the LEGACY Legend Award. In 2013, the Cincinnati Business Courier named her as one of the region’s Forty Under 40. Most recently, she was recognized as one of the 2016 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky. She is also a proud graduate of Leadership Northern Kentucky and Leadership Kentucky.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Honorable Michael Foster, Christian County Attorney

Mike graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1969 with a BA degree in Political Science. He later graduated from the University of Kentucky Law School in 1972 and was admitted to the Kentucky Bar Associated in 1973. After returning to his hometown, Mike was elected Christian County Attorney in 1981 and has served as county attorney for the past 33 years. Mike also was instrumental in the re-organization of the Kentucky County Attorney’s Association and previously served as State President of that Association. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors and is very instrumental in the development of legislation in support of the Kentucky’s County Attorneys and County Governments in general. He also serves as a member of the Prosecutors Advisory Council which administers the budget and staffing of the Commonwealth and County Attorneys of Kentucky. Mike was elected as Kentucky’s outstanding County Attorney in 1987, 2001, 2005 and 2011. He is the only four-time recipient of this recognition. Mike is considered one of the leading authorities on local government in Kentucky and is a frequent speaker to various associations dealing with local government both in Kentucky and Nationally.

Ian Sonego Award of Excellence

The Honorable Susan Blake is the Training Coordinator for the Prosecutors Advisory Council. 

She has held that position since 2015. Her responsibilities include coordinating all aspects of training for prosecutors including the Kentucky Prosecutor’s Institute, The Kentucky Prosecutors Conference, webinars and any other events requested by the Council. In addition, she oversees the Child Sexual Abuse Data Collection system and reviews legislation introduced during the sessions.

Susan worked as a prosecutor specializing in child sexual abuse cases for five years prior to joining the Victim’s Advocacy Division of the OAG. During her tenure in that division, in addition to serving victims, she instituted the Kentucky Prosecutor’s Institute and developed the Child Sexual Abuse Data Collection System, as required by statute. She also served as interim director of the VAD before moving to PAC. After 10 years with the OAG, under three attorneys general, she left state government to pursue a position in the private sector. Then in 2015, she returned to a newly created position as PAC Training Coordinator.

She continues to focus on training needs for prosecutors statewide, adding an administrative/employment law training to the agenda. She currently serves as an advisor on the 2018 Kentucky Victims Assistance Academy, a board member for Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board and the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass.

She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, the University of Kentucky College Of Law and is admitted to the Kentucky and New York Bar.

The Honorable Jason Darnall is currently the assistant county attorney in Marshall County. 

Jason was nominated for this award by three of his fellow prosecutors for his talent as prosecutor, his compassion as a victim advocate and his dedication to community. 

Jason has served in the Marshall County Attorney's Office for 14 years, handling the misdemeanor and child support matters, writing all warrants, and serving as special prosecutor for surrounding counties. He is the go-to guy in Marshall County.

When tragedy struck on January 23 at Marshall County High School, Jason was there with his head and his heart.

He was one of the first people on the scene, ensuring that case procedure was properly conducted while consoling students and families.

He served as the point person for the media, the school system, state government and the legal system.

He fought through his own grief to handle this tragic situation with dexterity and humanity.