BY PATRICK CROWLEY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NEWPORT -- Campbell County Circuit Court judges Len Kopowski and William Wehr have announced plans to run for re-election in 1999. All of the state's circuit judge seats are open next year.
Circuit judges hear civil lawsuits of more than $4,000, felony criminal cases, divorces and appeals from the lower district courts, which handle misdemeanors, probate, juvenile and civil lawsuits under $4,000.
Judge Kopowski, 51, of Camp Springs, has been a judge for 21 years -- six years as a Campbell District Court judge and 15 years on the circuit court bench.
Judge Wehr, 48, of Fort Thomas, has sat on the circuit bench since 1988. Prior to becoming a judge, he worked 12 years as a prosecutor and in private legal practice.
So far, no challengers have emerged in either race. Neither candidate has announced members of their respective campaign teams.
In prepared statements, Judge Wehr and Judge Kopowski said they have worked together "in bringing about various improvements to circuit court," including:
Both judges are also active in the community.
- Implementing arbitration and mediation programs in divorce cases and civil disputes.
Helping start a drug court in the county.
- Installing metal detectors in the Campbell County Courthouse and video cameras in the county jail for video arraignments in district court.
- Overseeing the Courthouse Commission in various courthouse renovation and construction projects, including demolition of the old jail and the construction of a courthouse parking lot.
Judge Kopowski has served as president of the Campbell County YMCA, the Campbell County Boys and Girls Club, the Brighton Center Board and the Campbell County YMCA. He also belongs to the Knights of Columbus, the Newport Elks and the Campbell County Game and Fish Protective Association.
Professionally, Judge Kopowski served as Chief District Judge in Campbell County, was appointed by the Kentucky Supreme Court to help revise the state's system of Criminal Rules and helped develop the offenders' Diversion Program in Northern Kentucky.
Judge Wehr serves on the board of the Hosea House Soup Kitchen and the Senior Citizens of Northern Kentucky. He is also a longtime girls' softball coach and belongs to St. Catherine of Siena parish in Fort Thomas, the Newport Elks and the Fort Thomas Optimist Club. Professionally Judge Wehr has served as president of the Kentucky Circuit Judges Association and the Northern Kentucky Bar Association and is a director of the American Judges Association. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Chase College of Law in Highland Heights.