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2017 Outstanding Prosecutor Awards

Attorney General Andy Beshear recognized the following prosecutors for their outstanding contributions to the Unified Prosecutorial System during the Aug. 2017 Kentucky Prosecutors Conference.

Commonwealth's Attorney

Hon. Darrell Herald, commonwealth's attorney, representing the 39th Judicial Circuit, which consists of Breathitt, Wolfe and Powell counties

Darrell.jpgDarrell A. Herald is a lifelong resident of Breathitt County. He grew up in a working class household by a mother who taught elementary school and a father who earned two purple hearts in the Korean War before becoming a carpenter. From that family environment, Darrell and his four siblings knew the importance of education. All four of them earned postgraduate degrees.

He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Political Science degree in 1984. Thereafter, Darrell attended the University of Kentucky, College of Law and obtained his juris doctor in 1987. Upon being admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1987, he became a practicing attorney until his appointment by Gov. Brereton Jones as commonwealth's attorney for the 39th Judicial Circuit in 1996 and remains in that position today covering Breathitt, Wolfe and Powell counties.

As commonwealth's attorney, he has tried over 200 felony cases. He has been an active member of the Breathitt and Wolfe County Drug Court team since its inception in 2005 and Powell County Drug Court since 2008.

He and his wife, Susan, have two daughters, Alexandra, a 2015 graduate of the University of Kentucky, and Caroline, who will be a UK graduate in December.

Hon. Allen Trimble, commonwealth's attorney, representing the 34th Judicial Circuit, which consists of McCreary and Whitley counties
Allen Trimble.jpgAllen Trimble is a native of Eastern Kentucky. He was born in Paintsville, Kentucky in 1948. Following moves to London and Richmond, Kentucky, Allen graduated from Madison Central High School in 1966. Last year he attended both high schools' 50-year reunions, claiming that two 50s made it his 100th high school reunion.

Allen graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1970 with a degree in political science. In college, he worked in Frankfort as an assistant to Governor Louie B. Nunn. After graduation from EKU, Allen worked in the gubernatorial campaign of Tom Emberton.

In the fall of 1972, Allen enrolled in the University of Kentucky, College of Law. While in law school, Allen clerked for then U. S. Attorney Eugene Siler, II. After graduating from law school at UK, Allen joined the law firm of Terry Forcht in Corbin. After several years with Forcht &Trimble, Allen formed the law firm of Trimble & Mann, which existed for nearly 22 years. Allen was first elected commonwealth's attorney for the 34th Judicial Circuit comprising of Whitley & McCreary counties in 1987. Allen continued to maintain a private law practice, as well as his duties as commonwealth's attorney for nearly 12 years. Following the addition of a second circuit judgeship, he became a full-time commonwealth's attorney in 2000. He considers it a privilege to be serving in his fifth term (30th year) as commonwealth's attorney (currently the longest serving commonwealth's attorney). He has often said, "By being able just to prosecute what people do and not who they are has allowed me to last this long. When we go into the courtroom, we are prosecuting the crime, not the person."

He has received numerous awards and recognitions and has been involved in a variety of legal programs and community projects throughout his career. Among his favorites were starting a mock trial team at Williamsburg High School and being the coach/advisor for a number of years and serving on the Supreme Court Bar Admissions Review Commission. Allen has been the featured speaker at a number of conferences throughout Kentucky and several other states on the topic of DUI homicide. 

Allen is married to his wife Sherry. Their son, Graham Trimble, practices law in Corbin.

Allen's fifth term as commonwealth's attorney for the 34th Judicial Circuit will end in December 2018. He plans on retiring as commonwealth's attorney and practicing law. He says that the thing he will miss most about the job is the responsibility – "that small bit of satisfaction you get every time when you see somebody go to jail for a crime they have committed, you feel like you have done something for the community as a whole."     

County Attorney

Hon. Mike O'Connell, county attorney, serving Jefferson County

Mike 2.jpgMike O'Connell is a 1971 graduate of Xavier University and obtained his law degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1974. Mike was a civil trial attorney as well as an assistant Jefferson County Attorney in Louisville, Kentucky until 1980, when he was appointed and then twice elected to the Jefferson District Court Bench where he served until 1987 at which time he was appointed and then elected to the Jefferson Circuit Court.  Mike left the circuit court bench in 1990 to return to private practice.  He practiced with the firm of PARKER & O'CONNELL in Louisville. Mike has extensive litigation experience in both state and federal courts.

In 2002, Mike was elected the Bar Governor for the KBA from the fourth Supreme Court District. Prior to his election as a Bar governor he served on the KBA Ethics Committee as well as the KBA Ethics hotline Committee where he authored many opinions for lawyers regarding their prospective conduct.

In 2008, Mike was appointed Jefferson County Attorney. He was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 and he will be running for re-election again next year. He manages of staff of approximately 400 people including 119 attorneys. During his time as Jefferson County Attorney, he has introduced restorative justice practices in juvenile court and started a pilot project for restorative justice in the adult division of Jefferson District Court. He actively worked for passage of a Senate Bill to establish a pilot project for opening Family Courts. He has pushed for practices and rule changes that bring integrity and fairness to the practice of law in both criminal and civil matters and hold everyone in the system to a high level of accountability and a level playing field within the court system.  He acts as legal representative for all branches of Louisville Metro Government and its 26 member Metro Council.

He currently is representing the interests of all county attorneys in the Kentucky Court of Appeals against attacks to their traffic safety programs by certain Jefferson District Court judges. Under his leadership, his office continues to be on the forefront of prosecutions in the areas of drunken driving and domestic violence—operating specialty units in those areas and a 24-hour Domestic Violence Intake Center. Mike's office was a critical partner in starting Kentucky's first Veteran's Treatment Court. He is very involved in efforts in addressing the role addiction plays in our legal system, including expansion of the use of Casey's law in Jefferson County.

In 2014 Mike was awarded the Commissioner's Leadership Award from Commissioner Veno for outstanding leadership improving child support operations and the 2015 Diversity and Inclusion award from the Louisville Black Lawyers Association. 

Mike is a past board member of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, the Little Sisters of the Poor, Beacon House, Catholic Charities and Jefferson County Juvenile Justice Commission. He currently serves as President of the Kentucky Children's Home Corporation and is a board member of the Louisville Bar Association. He is also the 2017 recipient of the Center for Women and Families' Community Service Award.

Mike has been ranked as a "Top Louisville Lawyer" by Louisville Magazine and a featured attorney in "Closing Arguments That Win" published by the Kentucky Trial Court Review.

He and his wife Ellen celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary in June.  They have three children, Annie, Michael and Matt and two grandchildren, Emily and Drew.

Hon. Bobbi Jo Lewis, County Attorney, serving Anderson County

Bobbi Jo.jpgBobbi Jo Lewis has served as the Anderson County Attorney since 2003.  Prior to this, she was Assistant Anderson County Attorney from 2000-2002 and was employed in the Anderson County Attorney's Office from 1990-2000 as a legal assistant/paralegal/child support coordinator.  Bobbi Jo has worked in every aspect of the County Attorney's office, which is why she is such an outstanding County Attorney.

She currently serves on the board of directors of Bluegrass.Org, and she provides pro bono legal services to the LIGHT Center, a service provider to homeless and needy families, as well as HEROES (Helping Educate Reaching Out Ending Stigma) a nonprofit support group fighting against drugs and addiction. She has also enjoyed serving as an Adjunct criminal justice instructor at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College from 2008 to 2013.

Bobbi Jo graduated summa cum laude from Kentucky State University and received her law degree cum laude from the University of Kentucky, College of Law where she was selected as a member of the Kentucky Chapter of the Order of the Coif. 

Bobbi Jo has often served as Special Prosecutor for surrounding counties, and she is always willing to help her fellow County Attorneys. Bobbi Jo takes pride in the high success rate of the Anderson County Attorney's Office in DUI prosecutions, the most famous of which is the successful prosecution of Billy Gillispie, former UK basketball coach.

A current project that Bobbi Jo has spearheaded and one that is near and dear to her heart is the Crisis Intervention Team, which is a team comprised of members of our Faith community that can be called at a time of crisis for families dealing with a loved one involved in the opioid epidemic.

Bobbi Jo has been married to her husband Donnie, of 33 years. She has three children and three grandsons. Bobbi Jo works tirelessly for Anderson County, and she strives every day to be fair, honest, and just in all of her duties as Anderson County Attorney.  

 

​Ian Sonego Award of Excellence

The award was established by the Prosecutors Advisory Council in 2016 to honor the contributions of Ian Sonego, a former prosecutor, criminal appellate attorney and true champion for Kentucky prosecutors.

Attributes honored by this award:

  • Perseverance in the pursuit of fairness so that both sides in the criminal justice process are heard

  • Integrity in pursuit of criminal justice

  • Continuing pursuit of knowledge and respect for the law

The 2017 award recipent

Perry T. Ryan, Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Kentucky 

Perry.jpg

For the past 27 years, Perry T. Ryan has served as Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, assigned to the Office of Criminal Appeals. He is a criminal prosecutor in the Kentucky appellate courts. In 1984, he graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in history and secondary education. During the 1984-1985 academic year, he taught social studies at Tates Creek High School. In 1988, he graduated from the UKCollege of Law.

Later that year, Attorney General Fred Cowan appointed him as an Assistant Attorney General, and in 1989 and 1990, he served as the counsel for the Attorney General’s Task Force on Drunk Driving. He has written three portions of the Kentucky DUI statutes.