• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Shaw not seeking reelection as Commonwealth’s Attorney

Commonwealth’s Attorney Gordie Shaw will not seek re-election after withdrawing from the upcoming May primary.

“At the end of this term,” said Shaw, 57, “I will have been in office 20 years. So it seemed appropriate to me to give Keith (Eardley) an opportunity to be commonwealth’s attorney…”

Eardley, a Scott County Democrat and currently an assistant prosecutor under Shaw, and Georgetown attorney Sharon Renee Muse, a Republic, are running unopposed in the May primary election.

After Shaw leaves office, the Versailles native said he’d like to “somehow assist law enforcement here in Woodford County. No, I’m not sure what the role would be,” but he did not rule out helping prosecute criminal cases in this circuit when his term ends.

Shaw began his 28-year career prosecuting criminal cases in the 14th Judicial Circuit (Woodford, Bourbon and Scott counties) as an assistant under longtime Commonwealth’s Attorney Gentry E. “Sonny” McCauley Jr. on two different occasions. He was appointed commonwealth’s attorney when McCauley retired in 1999, and has been elected and reelected to the office ever since.

“His (McCauley’s) office was known for being an office with integrity,” said Shaw. “…I wanted to keep the office’s reputation of being a place of high-integrity. And then I lucked out to have people working with me here who were just dedicated to the job. It doesn’t matter that they don’t get paid overtime. They come in anyway.”

Versailles Police Chief James Fugate described Shaw as “absolutely great” to work with from his perspective as a patrol officer, detective and police chief.

“Any kind of case,” said Fugate, “it’s important to have a great relationship with your prosecutors and we’ve always been fortunate in having that with both our commonwealth’s attorney and county attorney.” He said Shaw was always accessible and “willing to help, assist (and) give advice even if that means a phone call in the middle of the night – 2, 3 in the morning.”

With a heavy caseload, including some very serious cases, Woodford District Judge Mary Jane Phelps, who prosecuted cases with Shaw as assistants under McCauley, said, “Gordie has served the people of the 14th Judicial Circuit very well in his years as commonwealth’s attorney.”

Shaw not only managed the prosecutor’s office, he regularly prosecuted cases in Woodford, Scott and Bourbon counties, she added.

“Outside of my family,” said Shaw, “Tony Wilhoit (a former Kentucky Court of Appeals judge, Woodford County attorney and executive director of the Legislative Ethics Commission) probably had the biggest influence as far as me going to law school and becoming a prosecutor.”

After graduating from Chase College of Law in 1987, Shaw said he learned the ins and outs of prosecuting criminal cases under Tom Lockridge, the former commonwealth’s attorney for Garrard and Jessamine counties, and McCauley.

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