Interview with Phillip J. Shepherd, March 29, 2018

Project: John G. Heyburn II Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd discusses his clerkship for Western District Court Judge Edward Johnstone from 1980 to 1982. Shepherd also shares his memories of Judge Johnstone, including a possibly apocryphal story that the judge told him regarding how his federal judicial nomination came about. The majority of the oral history concerns three prison litigation cases over which Judge Johnstone presided, reforming conditions at the Kentucky State Penitentiary, Kentucky State Reformatory, and the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women (KCIW): Kendrick v. Bland (1980), which was consolidated with Thompson v. Bland, and Canterino v. Wilson (1982). The consolidated Kendrick v. Bland led to the 1980 Consent Decree, which spelled out how the Kentucky Corrections Cabinet would revamp prison conditions. In Canterino v. Wilson, Judge Johnstone became one of the first federal judges to hold, among other things, that women prisoners have a constitutional right to educational and vocational opportunities equal to those afforded male prisoners.

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1922, Judge Johnstone grew up in Paducah, Kentucky and enrolled at the University of Kentucky for his undergraduate degree. Johnstone dropped out of college in 1942 to fight in World War II, serving as a sergeant in the 9th Infantry Division for the next three years. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and earned a Bronze Star Medal and Silver Star Medal for this service. After the war, Johnstone finished his degree at the University of Kentucky and earned his juris doctorate from UK College of Law. From 1949 to 1976, he maintained a law practice in Princeton, Kentucky, while also holding various local offices: city attorney for Princeton (1952-1954), Kuttawa (1954-1976), and Fredonia (1954-1976); and city judge on Princeton's Kentucky Policy Court (1954-1969). In 1976, Johnstone was elected to become a judge on the 56th Judicial Circuit Court of Kentucky, serving in this office until his confirmation in 1977 to the Western District Court of Kentucky. Johnstone was the first federal judge to make Paducah his duty station. He died in Louisville, Kentucky on June 26, 2013.

Interview Accession

2018oh173_hey012

Interviewee Name

Phillip J. Shepherd

Interviewer Name

Anu Kasarabada

Interview Date

2018-03-29

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Shepherd, Phillip J. Interview by Anu Kasarabada. 29 Mar. 2018. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Shepherd, P.J. (2018, March 29). Interview by A. Kasarabada. John G. Heyburn II Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Shepherd, Phillip J., interview by Anu Kasarabada. March 29, 2018, John G. Heyburn II Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7s4m91cd2d


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