By KYLE WILSON, Associated Press Kentucky civil rights groups and a lawyer who specializes in civil rights issues are calling for a Kentucky law to be changed to allow prosecutors to investigate civil rights complaints without a warrant.
Kentucky Attorney General Mike DeWine said Wednesday he is drafting a bill that would require prosecutors to seek warrants from a judge to investigate complaints of civil rights violations.
The new law would also require prosecutors seeking to use such warrants to give a “fair and balanced” presentation of evidence to a judge, he said.
DeWine made the proposal after a group of civil-rights organizations and lawyers asked him to change the state’s civil law code to allow the state to investigate its own civil rights cases without a judge’s permission.
Kentucky law currently requires that a judge decide whether to grant a civil complaint.
But under the proposal, a judge could order prosecutors to take action if the complaint alleges discrimination, harassment, invasion of privacy or other type of abuse.
Kentuckians for Racial Equality and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit last year challenging Kentucky’s law, saying it violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
The law has been on the books since the early 1990s, but many civil rights activists say the Justice Department and the U.S. Supreme Court have said that it’s not unconstitutional.