PIKEVILLE – A new hearing for Knott County Judge-Executive Randy Thompson and three others convicted of vote buying in the 2006 election was denied this week, and they have now been ordered to begin serving their respective sentences next month.
Thompson, along with John Mac Combs, Ronnie Adams, and Phillip Champion, were convicted during a jury trial in 2008 for using public funds to influence the general election in 2006. It was during that election that Thompson won his first full term in office. He was originally appointed to the office by former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, and later won a second term during the 2010 election.
In 2009 Thompson was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison, though he and his codefendants have remained free while appealing their convictions. Combs, Adams, and Champion were each sentenced to 36 months, 32 months, and 18 months respectively.
In September a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed their convictions, and attorneys for each of the men filed requests for a new hearing before the full court. Those requests were denied on Monday.
“The panel has further reviewed the petitions for rehearing and concludes that the issues raised in the petitions were fully considered upon the original submission and decision of the cases,” the Court’s order reads. “Accordingly, the petitions are denied.”
Thompson and his codefendants were originally ordered to surrender to authorities to begin their sentences on Nov. 6, but received an extension while their requests for an appeal were ongoing. After their latest appeal was denied, U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ordered each of the men to voluntarily surrender to their assigned correctional facilities by 2 p.m. on Dec. 6, according to court records.
Thompson’s attorney had also requested that in the event his request for a new hearing was denied, Thompson could remain free until the first of the new year so that he can transition his office to a new judge-executive. Tatenhove noted in his order, however, that Thompson has had sufficient time to ready any such transition.
“This Order applies to all defendants in this case, including Ronnie Adams, who has now had the opportunity to provide his medical documents to the Bureau of Prisons, and Randall Thompson, who has had over four years to facilitate an adequate transition of the operations of the Knott County Judge Executive’s office,” the order reads.
Thompson can still appeal his conviction to the United States Supreme Court, according to Kyle Edelen with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. According to the Court's own statistics, however, the Supreme Court only hears roughly 1 percent of the cases presented to them for review.