Sen. Pres. Stivers says legislative immunity won't apply to Sen. Smith's DUI charge

01/23/2015 12:47 PM

Kentucky state Sen. Brandon Smith, R-hazard, is seeking to use legislative immunity within the Kentucky Constitution to relieve himself of a DUI arrest the lawmaker incurred during the first week of January during the legislative session.

While Smith fights the DUI charge in Frankfort using language stating legislators are “privileged from arrest” during session the Senate President says no one is above the law.

On Friday, Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said Smith’s immunity challenge to the DUI case will not hold up in court.

“No member of the General Assembly is above the law. While Kentucky’s Constitution does provide for a limited form of legislative immunity, as does the United States Constitution and most state constitutions, it is clear that the immunity does not apply in this situation,” Stivers said.

“The law presumes a person is innocent unless proven guilty. The legal process to determine the validity of the charges against Senator Smith has begun and that process will ultimately and independently determine the outcome.”

WKYT-TV was first to report on Smith’s use of the constitutional provision this week.

Stivers said “ the thoughts and prayers of other state senators continue to go out to Senator Smith and his family,” in a statement sent Friday morning.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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