Lyon

FRANKFORT, Ky. (10/9/19) — Rebecca Combs Lyon became the first woman to serve as clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals when she assumed that role Oct. 1. The appellate clerk is appointed and responsible for the custody, control and storage of all appellate records.

CLARIFICATION: Rebecca Combs Lyon is the first woman to serve as the clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals since the Judicial Article was enacted in 1975 and created Kentucky’s modern court system. Prior to the enactment of the Judicial Article, former Gov. Martha Layne Collins served as clerk of the Court of Appeals, then the highest appellate court in Kentucky.

Lyon has served the Court of Appeals in various capacities for more than 30 years. She has been an appellate staff attorney at Central Office, the civil motions panel attorney and deputy chief staff attorney. She has also been an appellate staff attorney for Judges Anthony M. Wilhoit, Paul D. Gudgel, Michael L. Henry and James I. Howard. She most recently served as chief staff attorney for the court.

“Becky has served the Kentucky Court of Justice with distinction for many years,” Court of Appeals Chief Judge Denise G. Clayton said. “She is the ultimate professional and is committed to serving the court and the citizens of Kentucky. The Court of Appeals is fortunate that Becky will continue her service as the new clerk of the court.”

While on hiatus from the Court of Appeals to care her mother, she served as a part-time hearing officer for the Division of Exceptional Children Services in the Kentucky Department of Education from 2001-2007.

Lyon graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in politics and a minor in economics/accounting from Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C., and a juris doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where she was a member of the Moot Court Board. She is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Appellate Advocacy Division, The Central Kentucky American Inn of Court and the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks.

She is married to her former law school classmate, James D. (Jim) Lyon, who is a bankruptcy trustee and attorney. They reside in Lexington and have three children and two granddaughters.

“I’m humbled and honored to serve as clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals,” Lyon said. “A lot has changed over the years, but one thing hasn't – the important role the court plays in the lives of Kentuckians. The citizens of this commonwealth have disputes involving their families, their livelihood and their freedom. They trust the judges to fairly and impartially settle these disputes. It is our job as staff to assist the judges in seeing that these resolutions are expeditious and accessible. I look forward to continuing to work with the talented and dedicated people at the Court of Appeals.”

She succeeds Samuel P. Givens Jr., who retired as clerk Sept. 30 after 30 years with the court system.

About the Kentucky Court of Appeals

The Kentucky Court of Appeals is the lower appellate court. With a few exceptions, most cases appealed from Circuit Court go to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals also handles appeals of a Circuit Court decision on a District Court judgment. The case is not retried at the appeals level. Instead, the original trial record is reviewed, with attorneys presenting the legal issues to the Court of Appeals for a decision.

Fourteen judges, two elected from each of the seven appellate districts, serve for eight-year terms. Court of Appeals judges are divided into panels of three to review and decide cases, with the majority deciding the outcome. The panels do not sit permanently in one location, but move around the state to hear appeals. The Court of Appeals occasionally publishes its rulings on cases, which means that those rulings become the governing case law for all future similar cases in Kentucky.

SurfKY News

Information provided by Leigh Anne Hiatt, Office of the Courts

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