The battle between state Rep. Robert Goforth (R-KY), and a group of petitioners continued Monday morning when the petitioners filed a motion alleging wrongful dismissal of his impeachment from the House.
Goforth, who represents a small portion of Berea and Madison County, was indicted in September on strangulation and assault charges against his wife stemming from an incident which took place in April 2020 at his home.
Because of this indictment, a petition signed by 10 Kentuckians was presented to the House of Representatives on Jan. 12 calling for Goforth's impeachment. But just a month later, the Impeachment Committee dismissed the petition after hearing testimony from two law professors, Josh Douglas and Paul Salamanca.
At that time, the two stated Goforth could only be "expelled" from the House, not "impeached," and the incident was "disturbing, but irrelevant."
However, the motion filed Monday morning states the Impeachment Committee "ignores the power of discipline" cited in 'Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure, section 561' and calls for other action to be taken.
The document proclaimed the two law professors "ignore precedent from the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, who is charged with ensuring that legislators follow all ethical rules, and takes a hard line in favor of the House acting promptly and forcefully in deterring member misbehavior."
Furthermore, the motion states the House does have the power to discipline Goforth and the IC should recommend action in any report it makes to the full House.
"The professors wrongly insist that Goforth can only be 'expelled' or 'removed,' which ignores the obvious solution: The IC should recommend mandatory counseling for the protection of the Goforth family and the public," it reads.
The motion also calls for wrongful dismissal due to "continual skirting of open meetings requirements," which have allowed unsound advice.
"Had the chair simply given notice of the testimony and afforded the petitions an opportunity to be heard, the glaring errors in the professors' testimony would have been immediately corrected," the petition reads. "Instead, the chair rushed to dismiss the petitions based upon the untested opinions of his selected.
"This is a disservice to the House."
In addition, the motion said the expert opinions of the professors do not have the advantage of achieving some desirable end, the petitioners share.
"No injustice is averted, and no harm is prevented by following the advice to "do nothing." The opinions are merely an academic exercise preventing action on a critical issue," it reads. "...Put plainly, if the IC wants to do the right things and grant the relief as requested by the concerned citizens, no other power could alter that. It is for the House to decide what action to take, not a court, and not 'experts.'"
Petitioners urged the IC to send a strong message to the state that the Kentucky House of Representatives does not tolerate domestic violence. It will take action to ensure victims and perpetrators receive the assistance they need to avoid future problems.
"The IC can correct this by simply recommending to the full House that is require mandatory domestic violence counseling for Robert Goforth," it stated.