MOREHEAD — Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins on Thursday referred a charge of official misconduct against clerk Kim Davis because of her two-month refusal to issue marriage licenses to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office despite the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that same-sex marriage is legal.
He said Rowan County’s government office had no other action to take against Davis, according to a story in The Morehead News.
Davis has not been issuing marriage licenses for two months since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal and, because of that, she now faces a charge of official misconduct.
“No authority exists for her removal or suspension from the office by Rowan County government,” Watkins told the newspaper. “Kentucky State Government is the only entity that can move to have Kim Davis removed as Rowan County Clerk.”
KRS 522.020 and KRS 522.030 deal with official misconduct in the first and second degree, respectively.
“A public servant is guilty of official misconduct in the first degree when, with intent to obtain or confer a benefit or to injure another person or to deprive another person of a benefit, knowingly commits an act relating to his office which constitutes an unauthorized exercise of his official functions or refrains from performing a duty imposed upon him by law or clearly inherent in the nature of his office or violates any statute or lawfully adopted rule or regulation relating to his office,” according to KRS 522.020.
Official misconduct in the first degree is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable with imprisonment not to exceed 12 months and fines of $500. Official misconduct in the second degree is a Class B misdemeanor and carries a potential punishment of up to 90 days imprisonment and fines of $250.
The charge must be tried in court before a designation of first- or second-degree is placed upon it.
Rowan County Attorney’s Office is prohibited from prosecuting Davis.
The Attorney General’s office refers conflict cases to a prosecutor from another county, Watkins said.