When U.S. Congressman Geoff Davis announced he was not running for re-election in the middle of December, it sent shockwaves through the Republican Party.
It also impacted a local judge, but in name only.
Boyd Circuit Judge George Davis was a multiple victim of mistaken identity.
“I’ve had numerous people stop me and say ‘What are you going to do now? Are you going back to practicing law?’’’
Judge Davis said he knew when he saw the headline in the morning newspaper the confusion was bound to happen, even though the story included a photo of Geoff Davis and the secondary headline included the word congressman.
It didn’t matter.
Confusion reigned and it wasn’t the first time.
When Geoff Davis was serving his first term in Congress and Social Security changes were in the air, Judge Davis said a gentleman stopped him at a funeral and said, “‘You’re that Davis.’ He had a real strong grip. He said ‘Let me tell you something. I don’t like what you’re doing to Social Security.’ I told him I’m not that Davis that I was (at the time) the district judge. We still laugh about it.”
He said even the Republican Party can get confused. Judge Davis said a group was coming to speak with Geoff Davis and told the congressman how impressive his advertising signage was.
“Of course,” Judge Davis said, “they were all mine.”
Besides having the same sir name, Geoff and George are close, too. Thus the confusion.
“Just the spelling of his (first) name,” Judge Davis said. “People see that in passing and it automatically registers as me. There’s always been confusion about it. I always prayed that he didn’t get into some scandal.”
Judge Davis came on as circuit judge in 2009, after serving several years as district judge. He’s enjoyed his time on the bench.
Judge Davis said he learned a lot from Dan Venters and Bill Cain, who he worked for as a law clerk doing civil litigation. Venters is on the Kentucky Supreme Court.
“They taught me a lot,” he said. “The way I run my court is, in a lot of ways, the way they operated. This is a more comfortable fit for me.”
Judge Davis said the circuit judge’s caseload is smaller but often more complex. “It’s more mentally stimulating,” he said. “There’s a lot more reading and research involved.”
Judge Davis has dealt with a little bit of everything including medical malpractice and criminal and domestic cases.
He said “95 percent or better” of the criminal cases are drug-related.
“Either a crime of theft, dealing drugs or some type of domestic violence may involve drugs,” he said.
He doesn’t have the solution but said “I know you can’t send the message that there will be no consequences. You have to have consequences to make a deterrent there. I’m for treatment if possible. You offer treatment and they don’t take advantage of it. Most of them enjoy the lifestyle of drugs.”
Davis said his life changed drastically for the better when he and his wife, Marcia, had their first child, daughter Olivia, two years ago.
“I think it’s given me a new perspective on life,” he said. “I look at life more preciously and worry about the future and what her generation will face if my generation doesn’t step up and take over this drug problem and stop it.”
Davis said two weeks before his wife would deliver Olivia, they were rear-ended by someone “whacked out of their mind on pills.”
He also said sometimes things the public doesn’t see, like juvenile court hearings, would be eye-opening.
“I understand why (the hearings are not public); to protect the children,” Davis said. “But if people knew what was happening it would probably benefit the child more.”
Judge Davis said organizations like CASA and For Jamie’s Sake have made a difference “watching over kids.”
But there’s much work to be done on all fronts, with battling the seemingly never-ending drug cycle topping the list of what’s wrong not only here but in society generally.
“We have to get these people away from society in some way,” he said.
As for Judge Davis’ future, it doesn’t include retirement anytime soon, no matter what the “other” Davis decides to do.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.