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CARA LANE CAPE: This is Cara Lane Cape and today I'll be interviewing Anthony "Tony" Wilhoit, at the Department of Public Advocacy in Frankfort Kentucky. It is July 6, 2012, and in this interview with Mr. Wilhoit, we will be discussing the history of the Department of Public Advocacy, as well as, his involvement and experiences as the first Public Advocate within the agency. When did you serve as Public Advocate and how did you become the first Public Advocate?

ANTHONY WILHOIT: Actually it was Public Defender then (laughs), there was no Office of Public Advocate. It was Office of Public Defender. I was appointed by Governor Ford in 1972. The Governor appointed from a list of five nominees and these were furnished by the Kentucky State Bar Association. They went to the Governor and he chose his pick out of those five. I served from '72 till late 1:00'74. So a couple months longer than two years I guess.

CAPE: What made you decide to take on that responsibility?

WILHOIT: Well, I was interested in it. I had been in private practice as a young lawyer back then and you got appointed to defend indigent people charged with crimes.Usually it was the young members of the bar, that's how I guess you earned your stripes. I had seen that that maybe wasn't the best way in the world to provide defense for indigent people. I remember a good friend of mine who was my same age; we were out of law school together. I remember he had to take two whole weeks out of his law practice, which he needed desperately to do; he was like me, we were living from paycheck to paycheck essentially. Because he had 2:00been assigned a murder case, did a great job, but that made me think. Then later I became a Police Judge and that is kind of the equivalent of what a District Judge is now. I got to see every Monday morning all these criminal defendants, some of whom if they had just been able to afford lawyers, might have gotten a better deal than they did. Then I became County Attorney and was interested in it then. We got a roster system going in Woodford County. I approached the Circuit Judge about that and even got the older lawyers on it, the more experienced lawyers. I remember one lawyer, gracious old gentleman; I kept the roster for the Circuit Judge and his name came up, he came to court, bowed to the judge, and said if your honor pleases, I haven't handle a criminal case in 3:00over twenty years, but I will be happy to pay one of these young man to do it, out of my own pocket. So you know things like that made you think there's got to be a better way. I had nothing to do with the passage of this legislation, but I was very interested in it when it did pass. I had talked to some people and some friends, and I was just interested, thinking maybe I could get this thing going with my experience. Part of my experience as County Attorney was I helped the County Treasurer prepare the budget every year. So I was kind of familiar with budgets and how to prepare budgets, and how to run departments and things, and I thought well, maybe I can do this. And Governor Ford agreed (chuckles), for better or worst.

CAPE: So, once you were appointed what was your overall vision for the program?


WILHOIT: Well, I guess my vision was, coming out of the practice of law and with my background, was to make the Public Defender's Office and offices, and participate in organizations, the best criminal defense lawyer firm in Kentucky. I tried to run it like a law firm.

CAPE: Who was the key players in the criminal justice system at that time?

WILHOIT: Well, certainly the judges, the old Kentucky Court of Appeals very influential then, and the Chief Justice. The circuit judges are very key players in the criminal justice systems and the prosecutors.

MONAHAN: Who was the Chief Justice and the Attorney General?

WILHOIT: Let's see the Chief Justice then was, was it Judge Palmore when we 5:00first started, I believe he was, and Judge Reed later, or vice versa. I can remember, Palmore was when I was sworn in, because he spoke at our first conference.

MONAHAN: Do you recall who the Attorney General was?

WILHOIT: Yeah, Ed Hancock, I believe was the Attorney General.

CAPE: Who were the political supporters and enemies of the new public defender program?

WILHOIT: Well, the principle supporter of the new Public Defender program was Governor Ford and back in those days, that was a pretty big stick, then surprisingly a lot ofprosecutors and a lot of judges. I can't say that we had 6:00any true enemies. We had people who didn't understand and you have to educate them. The common complaint I got was I went into all the counties was, why should we pay our tax money to defend criminals? There are a lot of kids that need feeding, people can't afford to go to school, why is this money going to defend criminals? So that was the attitude you had to overcome. I can't say there were any real enemies.

MONAHAN: How did you respond to them?

WILHOIT: Well, I told you, I think, Ed before, when Governor Ford appointed me, they swore me in, in Louisville. We sit down immediately thereafter and he told me, the bad news is you got to get this system up and running in ninety days,and that was from him. Actually, the mandate of the Court of Appeals, which had ordered the new system had not come out yet, but he wanted it done in ninety 7:00days. So, I hit the road(chuckles), pretty soon thereafter. I would go to fiscal courts to try to get officials from the towns and cities, where we might be able to get money from them to supplement the money we had, because we probably didn't have enough money. Well, we didn't, to run the whole system. The way it was back then, for each circuit judge in a judicial district the state allotted $14,000. So if you had one circuit judge say for three counties, then they had $14,000.It was my job to get in those three counties in that district, raise more money, and get a program going in that county. I can remember when I 8:00appeared in Pulaski County and I made my spill to the Fiscal Court and that was the very first question that came up. Hand went up, Mr. Wilhoit why should we pay tax money to defend criminals when we've got so many other problems in Pulaski County. I started to answer, I said, well esquire, and with that Hal Rogers, who was the Commonwealth Attorney spoke up and he said, what it boils down to is I can't prosecute them if Mr. Wilhoit can't defend them. Then I went on with my usual speal about you know we're in law enforcement, too. I've been in law enforcement almost all the time I've practiced law. Of course I guess you're in law enforcement when you practice law. Our end of it is nobody had to go to jail or prison, or be punished unless their proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The Commonwealth's job is to prove guilt beyond reasonable 9:00doubt and you have to have both of us.That's how our laws are enforced. I have to say, I didn't run into any enemies anywhere and found the counties very cooperative, the people, you just needed to educate them. Once they realized well, this is pretty necessary, we did okay, we did okay. We had it up and running in the time the Governor had given us. I'll never forget I was coming back from Western Kentucky I'd been out and it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I had gotten the flu or something and I was up-chucking and stopping the car. I finally rolled my overcoat up and put it up against the window of the car and drove home that way.Got home about two o'clock in the morning. That was about the most miserable Thanksgiving I ever spent. Fortunately, no fiscal courts were meeting the next day or the following 10:00Saturday, so I didn't have to get back on the road again until Monday.

CAPE: What kind of programs or organizational decision, major ones, did you made while you were Public Defender?

WILHOIT: Well, I guess the basic decisions, when I was sworn in, I was it. There was no staff, no secretary, no telephone (chuckles). Governor Ford provided us with offices in the Capitol then. We were on the front end of the Capitol on the opposite side from the Governor's mansion. We had a set of rooms back there, I think there were two great big rooms and we kind of divided one. So my first job was to hire some people. In the process of being screened by the Bar, I had run into a Bar attorney. Back then the Kentucky Bar Association consisted of Henry Harned who was the director, a secretary, and Bill Ayer, I 11:00believe. There may have been one other lawyer in there. Bill Ayer, I immediately hired him because he knew his way around and he impressed me as being a sharp young lawyer. I got on the phone that same day and called David Murrell whom I had worked with when I was county attorney. Dave back then was working for the Attorney General. When I had tough legal questions about criminal lawyer, they would always put me on with David whom I had known in law school. But I was impressed with the phenomenal knowledge he had of criminal law and procedures, so that was one guy I wanted to get. I think at that time he was maybe working for AppalReD, or had just left there, but I was able to get him. So I started out with Bill Ayer and David Murrell me and two great secretaries (laughs).


CAPE: Mr. Ayer and Mr. Murrell did they have specific rules that they played themselves?

WILHOIT: Well, I asked David because of his experience in the attorney general's office and handling appeals down there, lots of them, to set up our appellate section, because the statue directed that we would handle criminal appeals for local lawyers, just like the attorney general did for prosecutors. Now local lawyers still handled their own appeals if they wanted to and they would receive some compensation but not much. None of them did, for a lot of reasons. It was a good system because if you had to go after the local prosecutor, it was a lot easier to have those guys in Frankfort do it than a lawyer down there who's going to be working with that same prosecutor. There was 13:00a different attitude among members of the Bar back then from what I see now. There was more collegiality and we were professionals.It's not us versus you. We're in this thing together, we're all in law enforcement. We're going to do our thing, you do your thing.We understand, you understand what we have to do. I can't say that now, it's if you don't agree with me you're evil (laughs). The permeates our politics and everything else.

CAPE: What were the funding and workload realities during your term?

WILHOIT: Well the funding was, I guess you could say it was adequate. It was from my experience. I knew for example, not too awful long after I took the job, 14:00somebody told me I should go to the National Legal Aid and Defender's Association meeting, and that I could pick up a lot of stuff, and I did pick up a lot of stuff. One thing that I picked up there, that I saw right away that's not going to work in Kentucky, was they were pushing full-time public defenders everywhere. I knew that was not practical for our situation. We were allowed to go into the counties and get groups of lawyers to agree to take all the criminal defense for a certain amount of money. In that way, they would submit plans to me for the defense for all the indigent folks. I would have to approve the plan. 15:00You would be amazed, for example, one of the best plans devised was devised by Jim Chenault, a Circuit Judge over in Madison County, whom a lot of people later thought, well that guy is so antagonistic (laughs) to public defenders he was not. You just have to know him. I mean he was very demanding, but he and his former law partner, who was one of the outstanding criminal defense lawyers in the state, devised this plan, which I used a lot of places.People like this were very supportive. I didn't go into a single county where the circuit judge was not extremely supportive. I remember going one time and there was still a cotton gin, one last cotton gin in Kentucky. I was in far West Kentucky and remarked to 16:00the circuit clerk that this was more like Mississippi than Kentucky. She said, well honey we're closer to the capitol of Mississippi than we are to Frankfort (laughs). The old circuit judge down there just the most gracious gentleman ever, most supportive.He told me, he said, Mr. Wilhoit, our lawyers here try to do a really good job, but these young boys they need help, they need help.

MONAHAN: Was this Hancock County?

WILHOIT: No, this was Fulton. Shoot, I remember every county. I went to all 120 counties and oh gosh, I don't want to do that again (chuckles). Anyway, I realized right away you couldn't go to full-time people. You're paying social security.You're paying retirement.You're paying a secretary. You're paying office rent. If you could get lawyers who are already doing that thing to come 17:00in to it, not only that I tried to get the best senior criminal lawyers in the counties in the plan and they could kind of mentor the younger guys. We hoped in this way we were not only providing the best criminal defense, but we would improve the practice of criminal law in Kentucky. I think we were able to accomplish that pretty markedly. One thing we used to laugh about was, back in the old days, so many appeals the Court of Appeals had to weigh out the question not preserved for error. We made dog-gone sure that the question was going to be preserved for error. Then we started the training program and everybody that participated in the system would come to the training program free, didn't cost you anything. We would get some of the best lawyers in criminal law to come 18:00speak, not only locally here in the state, but outside lawyers. I remember we got Francis Bellotti who later became the Attorney General of Massachusetts. He was an expert on breathalyzers and defending drunk drivers' cases. Well after that all of a sudden, in drunk driving cases they knew to ask, well, have you calibrated that machine? When did you calibrate it last? Have you done this? The prosecutors are (laughs), whoa!Where did they find out all this from? So I think it really did improve the practice of law. At the same time, very few successful Rule of Criminal Procedure 11.42 motions were filed, very few. I later did a study and this may have been when I was on the Public Defender, what's the 19:00Commission? I was on the Court of Appeals and was briefly…

MONAHAN: Public Advocacy Commission?

WILHOIT: Yeah, we kind of did a little study and it was so much cheaper. Although the system went the other way and I understand why, but it was still so much cheaper to provide defense through these plans and the local lawyers. Who by the way, knew the prosecutors, knew the jurors and things, rather than bringing folks in here from New Jersey and stuff (chuckles), looking for jobs. But it still cost almost three times as much to defend one person where you had the full-time people, as it did for the part-time, well more than three times. There was no evidence of any more successful Rule of Criminal Procedure 11.42 motions or any worse defense. In fact, prisoners in jails probably got visited more often under the old system. But I realize things have changed and it's different.


CAPE: Did you find that there were attorneys that wanted to work for the agency that was interested in the agency?

WILHOIT: There were indeed and a lot of young idealist people. I can remember when (laughs), back then we were in the hippy age and I actually remember Governor Ford one time talking to me. He said, Wilhoit, I know you can't get them to cut their hair, but could you at least get them to wear shoes in the Capitol (laughs)? I'll try Governor. But yeah, in the counties we didn't have any trouble, the pay wasn't great. There was also a system that some counties had for fairly long time where if you defended a criminal, if you didn't have a plan in effect, the circuit judge would approve what you got paid, you would 21:00submit to him. Then the circuit judge would submit it to me and I would have to approve it yet again. That got to be kind of burdensome and that made me hustle even harder to get these plans in effect. The most they could get would be $500 for a misdemeanor and a $1,000 for a felony. They could get $30.00 an hour for in court time and $20.00 an hour of out of court time. Now where they had a plan, they had a pot of money that they divided up however the people in the plan decided. But I always thought maybe you could have kept some of the old system if you had just gotten more money appropriated.Because the young lawyers and some of the old lawyers, who had been taken indigent cases, all of a sudden 22:00they're going to get paid. Maybe it's only a $1,000 for a felony, but they were getting nothing before. So there was a lot of interest and the Kentucky Bar Association was very supportive, very supportive. Of course some of the lawyers in the various plans around the state were some of the leaders in the Kentucky Bar Association.So (inaudiable), if I ever needed people to testify before any hearings, hey (laughs), just call them up and they were right there, what do you need Tony (chuckles)?

CAPE: When you say the new and old system, just to clarify we have full-time employees.

WILHOIT: Yeah, right, it's a totally different. I wouldn't begin to know how to oversee a system like this. It's a big job.

CAPE: In terms of keeping accurate case records, how did you all do it?

WILHOIT: Well, you mean in our office or out in the field?


CAPE: Both, if you know how they went about keeping them out in the field, too.

WILHOIT: Well, in the field they kept records and submitted to me, of the cases they handled, what kind of felony, misdemeanor, that sort of thing. We of course kept all of our files. When I went to the NLADA thing they got me a little puzzled, they were talking about you could only have so many cases, this that and the other. Well nobody back then, I am sure they've got it now, and we didn't because we didn't have the time frankly, to develop it, we were too busy doing the work, you know all of a sudden we are handling appeals three or four weeks after we hired the secretary. We were out trying cases and we had to go the prisons, so we didn't get to do it, but nobody had developed a weighted 24:00caseload. Say you could only handle five hundred misdemeanors if you're appointed.You could handle twenty-five DUIs in a day if you did it right (laughs), and as a county attorney, I knew that (laughs). I knew that most of the time there's no defense; you're working on a plea bargain. You make sure that everything was done right, if it is, and your clientele, says yeah, Tony I was drunker than a skunk, what are you going to do? So as county attorney, I dealt with those, so I knew that just cases don't mean anything; it's weighted cases. You get one bad felony and it could take you a month or six weeks. But we never were able to do that. We made fits and starts, but we couldn't, we just didn't have the time.

CAPE: You mentioned early you went to a national meeting, what other type national organizations and public defender organizations, did you get involved in?


WILHOIT: Well back then, Kentucky kind of got the representation of having a good system. So I was called to Rutgers in New Jersey, to talk at a symposium for people. I think the state of New Jersey was getting ready to do something. I remember the Chief Justice of Alabama called me down there.He later became the United States Senator from Alabama and asked me to help them organize there. Then I went out to California and they were having something.But I was too busy to do a whole lot of that. What I did was when I would go to these places I would tell my wife, grab the kids and we'll get in the station wagon and drive. Now the one to California we didn't drive, that would have been our vacation those three days (laughs). So other than that I can't say that we did a whole 26:00lot nationally, but we did gain some national recognition.

CAPE: When this all started, the statute to create the Public Defender program, who were the key players? I know Governor Ford, obviously, who else was key players in getting that passed?

WILHOIT: Well, I tried to remember and of course it's a different world now that you live in. the key player in getting that passed was Governor Ford (laughs), because back then the Governor pretty well worked things out so that his legislation got passed. I can remember a young man I had talked to in high school, who later became Speaker of the House, Bill Kenton. Bill was very much in favor of the bill and he was in the House of Representatives then.

MONAHAN: What about Larry Greathouse and Skip Grafton?


WILHOIT: Skip Grafton was certainly pushing for the enactment of this legislation. They had tried to get it, before Ford was Governor. I recall just vaguely, they had tried to get a full-time public defender system in Louisville and they didn't get it. I think it didn't get pass the Governor, but that would have been Governor Nunn. Larry Greathouse, I worked with Larry only when he was in the Governor's Office. The system could not have had a stronger backer than Larry Greathouse. Larry smoothed a lot of roads for me and would make phone calls if I was having some difficulty in arranging local officials to meet with me. Larry got it done for me. It couldn't have been done without Larry's help 28:00and Governor Ford's. I mean Governor Ford took a personal interest in the public defender system.

CAPE: I know he came and spoke twice, I think, it was…

WILHOIT: He did.

CAPE: …about the Public Defender system, what did he have to say, how was that, tell us about that.

WILHOIT: Well, basically what he had said all along, how important it was and how important the job that the people were doing.Just urging them to keep in there and he seemed to, as I said, other than some of my employees not wearing shoes in the Capitol (chuckles), he seemed always to be very pleased with the way things were being handled and with the way the people were. I can't think of any place that we had any real trouble. Occasionally I would have to call down in one of the counties and say well so-and-so, says he's been in the county jail for three weeks and no public defenders come to see him.Well, I'll get on that 29:00Tony, and then I would get a call back immediately and they'd say, well he's not indigent (laughs), that's why nobody's been.They own a farm out here or something like that. Occasionally some would slip through and Lord knows we made mistakes too. Then we also setup, oh, I'll tell you, nationally we got a grant from LEAA, Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. We had back then a Crime Commission and that by the way it was made up, they had a Courts Committee of it, then they had one for prisons and things like that, corrections.These were various committees with all the top people in the state; were appointed by the Governor to these things and they administered Law Enforcement Assistance 30:00Administration money. I never will forget there were some people from Northern Kentucky wanting to get some stuff for their police and just to show you that we didn't really have enemies, you would think well there goes the money. We actually beat them out and got I think it was $100,000 grant and that let me setup some post-conviction relief folks to go to the prisons and help there. Surprisingly, we almost never had any coming out of the women's prison, for some reason. I've never understood that, but those ladies never seemed to have the problems that we had down in Eddyville and LaGrange. It also let me establish some investigators for our people. So that was one thing we were a little shy on. Then later we established some regional offices where we put a lawyer who 31:00could serve as backup or fill-in if there were conflicts. Plus he would have a couple of investigators down there with him and they were available to any lawyer in the system. Now, under the law we had the same right to use the crime lab as the prosecutor did. Those folks were good, very professional and I never was uncomfortable about using them for anything. That this would leak to the prosecution or something, never happened. We had our own polygraph man, who was one of our investigators, and he had left the State Police and was considered to be the best polygraph examiner in the state of Kentucky.

MONAHAN: Was that Les Mahoney?

WILHOIT: Yeah. We would go down (laughs), sometimes you couldn't always believe; Eddyville, the first summer I was Public Defender, there were no 32:00lawyers down there who could defend.There was only the city attorney and the county attorney. Well back then, the city attorney was a prosecutor and so was the county attorney. So we went down, I stayed first at the Contiki Motelwhich is still there (chuckles). I can't believe it, drove through there a couple years ago. Then later we rented a cabin at Kentucky Lake and brought a couple of our investigators down, and a couple of other lawyers. We handled not only the crimes coming out of the prison, but stared getting appointed to the crimes in Lyon County because they didn't have a public defender. Tell you how naïve I was, I got appointed to a murder case, and the murder had taken place at a bootlegger's, which had a neon sign (laughs). It was out in the country, it was Lyon County. My client told me that if I would interview this one witness he 33:00would prove that it was self-defense because the evidence seemed to be that my client was the aggressor. So I found out that the guy worked at a tie factory in Paducah. So, I went to Paducah checking with all the clothing companies. Finally somebody said, tie factory, that's railroad ties (laughs). It was a hot day, not quite as hot as this and I had on a white suit. I went walking back in this railroad yard and every step I took all this black coal dust came. So from knees down my white suit was black. But I interviewed the guy at some length and he said, now I'm planning on leaving Kentucky, I'm getting out of here, is that a problem? Well has the Commonwealth subpoenaed you, has anybody subpoenaed you to testify? He said, no sir. I said no problem for me the sooner you leave, good (laughs), because he was really going to put my client in the soup (laughs). We 34:00had things like that and we got those things going up. Back then, it was pretty much a six and a half day a week job, in the first six or eight months.

MONAHAN: You mentioned Post-Conviction starting out in investigation and regional offices, do you remember some of the people?

WILHOIT: I cannot remember their names. Dave Norat, I remember, but Dave came in later I think.

MONAHAN: Did you have Bill Ayer head up Post-Conviction?

WILHOIT: May have, I cannot remember, that's one of the things, I just. That was a lot of blur. You're running around, you're doing this, doing that. I can remember taking some, who, but that was a younger, Tim Riddell. Tim did a lot of 35:00Post-Conviction stuff. I sent Tim down there one time. Tim had long hair and this was in Eastern Kentucky and we were defending some people, I think it was in Whitesburg. It was on the Virginia line. I told Tim he had to get his hair cut. I'm not getting my hair cut, I'll sue you. I said Tim you can't become the issue. To make a long story short he got it all trimmed up. A year later we were down in Eastern Kentucky and long hair was in (laughs), then everybody had long hair, and here we were bald. I couldn't wait to tell Tim he needs to grow his hair, well he had grew it back (chuckles).

CAPE: Could you tell us a little bit about Bradshaw v. Ball?

WILHOIT: Well I wasn't in on that at all. I was just aware of it because I 36:00guess every lawyer was aware that that had gone up to the Court of Appeals and what Judge Meigs had done here in Frankfort.He ordered that they be paid and he had determined it was a necessary governmental expense. Section 11 of the Constitution says everybody's entitled to a lawyer. It then went to the Court of Appeals and my hero, Judge Reed, whom I later when I was on the Court of Appeals and he was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, we shared office spaces. He was kind of my mentors and taught me more of law than I learned in law school. Judge Reed wrote the opinion and they ruled that lawyers had to be paid, that there 37:00was going to have to be provision for it by the General Assembly. That wasn't the kind of expense the Court could order the Treasurer to pay it. It wasn't that kind of necessary governmental expense. While that case was pending, I guess the statue was passed. It was along in that time, I remember all this stuff was going on and everybody was talking about it.

CAPE: What are you most proud of accomplishing during your tenure, what would you say?

WILHOIT: (laughs) Just getting it going and not dying. No, I think proudest accomplishment is I think we did what we set out to do and we created a statewide criminal defense lawyer firm that gave indigent defendants good defense. At one time we were winning, even on appeal about one out of four, 38:00which is pretty darn good. So I'm proud of that. I think we also improved the practice of criminal law in the state. It was a training ground for young lawyers, which they don't have now. If you go out in these small counties now and let's say you're not indigent.You're middle class and you want to hire a lawyer, you're not going to find many lawyers that know a lot about criminal law. I think we created a whole bunch of young folks who knew how to practice criminal law and were there, because they were just doing this part-time, so they were their paying clients too. So I guess that's the thing I'm most proud of.

MONAHAN: Do you have some thoughts Tony on the Louisville and Lexington Public Defender programs in those early years? I believe Louisville, may have, under 39:00you tenure, moved to a full-time system and I think Lexington had maybe part-time lawyers.

WILHOIT: Yeah, it was mixed. I think they had a full-time director in Lexington at the time and they had part-time lawyers. Then they started getting a few full-time lawyers in Lexington. Louisville, they had a great program from day one and I attribute a lot of that to the quality of the lawyers they were able to get and Paul Tobin, who was the director down there, very practical, retired, army guy, I think, and very practical guy. Paul and I only had, we never really argued, but he used to give, what would he call it, whenever he would get somebody turned loose, he'd give an award. The Walker or something like that.

MONAHAN: That's what it was, the Walker Award.

WILHOIT: He said I ought to do that, and I said that's all I need to do; we 40:00want to do our job but I don't want people thinking I'm congratulating folks for getting criminals free (laughs). But we did celebrate in the office (laughs).

MONAHAN: Do you recall who you worked with in Lexington?

WILHOIT: I remember it was Russ, when did Russ Baldani come in there?

MONAHAN: He was later.

WILHOIT: He was later, I can't remember who were, oh, I'll tell you Scotty Baesler was one of them at that time. Scotty was doing it. We had good lawyers in Lexington. I remember even people like Harry Miller would fill in and do stuff.

MONAHAN: Do you recall ever testifying before the General Assembly?

WILHOIT: Oh, yeah.

MONAHAN: Could you tell us a little bit about that?

WILHOIT: Well, in interim hearings and things, or budgets; I would get asked 41:00questions about how things were going and just some of the usual questions but nothing where I thought they were trying to sharp shoot me or anything like that. I made a point, because I'd seen some other people mess up and I saw some later mess up. When I went to testify I went in, one person, because some of these bureaucrats would come in with this array of people and they would say, well now, Mr. Wilhoit, I see here you've got five or six people, who's doing the state's business (laughs)? So I was bound and determined, I don't want to do that. I never saw any hostility from any legislator, sometimes some close questions about what we were doing.

MONAHAN: Do you recall particular supporters in those early years in the 42:00General Assembly?

WILHOIT: See I'm getting it confused with when we started the Court of Appeals and all that kind of bleeds together.

MONAHAN: Did you go over and testify on substantive criminal law bills, or did you just testify on budget issues?

WILHOIT: Generally back then, what we would do is, the Governor's Office would send us criminal law bills and we would have 48 hours in which to get back all of our comments. Then if it looked like there was going to be some problem.Then we would be brought in to testify before the legislative committee. I can remember when they did the, oh what do we call our criminal law now?

MONAHAN: Penal Code.

WILHOIT: The Penal Code. David Murrell and I rented two rooms at a motel here 43:00in Frankfort.The one that used to be on the way going to Louisville and stayed up all day and all night getting the comments on the Penal Code back. Some of which they didn't catch because there was some parts of it that they hadn't provide punishments (chuckles). Of course I'm an old common law guy and I didn't see a whole lot of good in the Penal Code.

MONAHAN: Do you recall testifying on the Penal Code?

WILHOIT: Yes, I do.

MONAHAN: Do you recall any…?

WILHOIT: Very briefly, and just on what the effect it would do from our perspective. Not whether it was good or bad law. I think discussion had been made; I wasn't called in for that purpose.

MONAHAN: Other things that we want to know from you about our history.

WILHOIT: I can't think of anything I just wish I could remember some of the 44:00names of the people because they were without a doubt the hardest working, most dedicated bunch of people I've ever worked with.

MONAHAN: You said there were five names given to the Governor; do you recall the other four?

WILHOIT: I do not. I was surprised when I was picked frankly. I had known the Governor and had been active in his campaign when he ran for office.

MONAHAN: Then you left the Department…

WILHOIT: To run for political office.

MONAHAN: Can you talk a little bit about that decision and what political office, and a little bit about you're subsequent career?

WILHOIT: Well, to be honest with you with I decided what I wanted to do more than anything was to be a judge. That's what I decided after I had been in the Public Defender s Office. I could probably get the most accomplished by being a judge. Judge Reed was our judge then, this was before we had the Supreme Court, 45:00the Court of Appeals was the top court. He was our Judge and I wanted to succeed Judge Reed. I would never, ever run against Judge Reed, but I knew it wouldn't be many years before he would be retired. So I decided the best way to do that would be to Attorney General and then after being Attorney General, to run if Judge Reed had retired, and everything was indicating that he might. As it turns out he retired but he went to the Federal Branch that's all (laughs). Anyway then Governor Carroll urges me not to run for Attorney General because he had to support somebody else. He said I'd rather you wouldn't. I told him what my plan was and he said, I'll appoint you to the Court of Appeals if the Constitution 46:00Article passes and laughed. I said Governor that's got as much chance of passing as, what's his name from Louisville has of beating you.We both laughed about it.He said well I'm sorry. To make a long story short, in spite of my not taking his advice, after I ran and lost, I got a letter from him asking me to see his secretary for an appointment; that he knew I had all those hungry mouths to feed and he had a job for me. So I made an appointment, went to see him, and he appointed me Deputy Secretary of Justice, voiding Jack Smith coming back from Washington. So I took over the Justice Department for a few months. I will never forget, what does the attorney general make? I told him, I think it was $22,500 47:00at that time, and he said well, you call Bob Stephens right now and tell him I'm going to pay you a $1,000 more (laughs), and just laughed. He made me called Bobby and tell him that, but Bob laughed too.

MONAHAN: Bob Stevens is who you ran against in the primary?

WILHOIT: Yeah and that's who Governor Carroll supported and didn't want me to run against.

MONAHAN: Were there other people in the primary?

WILHOIT: Yeah there was a fellow from West Kentucky, who's name I cannot remember to save me. But then by and by, the Court of Appeals, the Constitutional Article passed and they I was one of the three nominees that went to the Governor; but one of those nominees was Ed Prichard. I assumed he would get it because he had the finest mind I believe I've ever encounter, legally and otherwise. He called me one night and he said, Tony I want you to know I just called the Governor and asked him to appoint you. I said, why Mr. Prichard? He 48:00said, well he didn't want to get into a political campaign and bring up all the…, and I said, Mr. Prichard I will be your chairman and we will carry every county in this district, if you'll. He said, No, it's final. The next day Jack White called me and said the Governor's going to appoint you. After that my colleagues referred to me as his Accidency.

MONAHAN: This would have been what year?

WILHOIT: This would have been, when the court, '76?

MONAHAN: '76 and you were on the Court of Appeals then?

WILHOIT: A little over 20 years, almost 22 years.

MONAHAN: You became Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals approximately?

WILHOIT: They made me take it the last couple years. They couldn't find a fish (chuckles).

MONAHAN: Then you retired from the Court of Appeals and then what did you do?

WILHOIT: Stayed retired very briefly and Bruce Lester who had been on the Court of Appeals who me, was Chairman of the Legislative Ethics Commission. He called 49:00me and said, Wilhoit, I've got a job for you. I said, oh no. He said, now, you've been living off the tax-papers for thirty years not doing any work, now you can come, do some work for a change, and that's how I went to Legislative Ethics.

MONAHAN: So what year would you have become the Executive Director of Legislative Ethics?

WILHOIT: Been '98, '97, late '97.