Whitley and McCreary County Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble was one of four prosecutors honored Thursday at the Kentucky Prosecutors Conference with a 2017 Outstanding Prosecutor Award.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear recognized Trimble, Darrell Herald, Mike O’Connell and Bobbi Jo Lewis for their outstanding contributions to the Unified Prosecutorial System during the conference, which was held in Lexington.
“Our prosecutors play a critical role in protecting their local communities,” Beshear said Thursday. “I applaud those recognized today for their outstanding dedication to upholding the law and serving the people of Kentucky.”
Trimble said he was honored to have received the award, but couldn’t have been more surprised to be getting it.
Trimble, who won the award in 2007, said that based on past experience the recipients are usually informed about two weeks ahead of time so they can submit a resume for the presentation and so that their office staffs and family members can be there.
Trimble said that Thursday, he had no idea he was getting the award, and when his name was announced, he looked behind him and saw his family and office staff seated at a nearby table.
“I was never more surprised about anything in my life than I was that,” Trimble said. “I’m tickled to death. It is one of those things you don’t expect. I got it in 2007 and was perfectly satisfied with one, but two is more than twice as good.”
Trimble said that when he received the award in 2007, he thinks it was largely for his handling of a fatal DUI case on I-75 that resulted in the death of three people.
Trimble said he isn’t exactly sure why he got the award this year, but thinks it may have been related to his office being in the top 10 of Rocket Docket programs in the state.
The Rocket Docket is designed to move certain cases through court more quickly, especially in instances where defendants don’t dispute their guilt. It is largely used in felony drug possession cases.
It primarily involves plea deals being worked out early on that result in most Rocket Docket defendants being released from jail on lesser bonds pending their formal arraignment and sentencing in their cases.
The program benefits local fiscal courts, which are responsible for jail housing costs for inmates prior to formal sentencing. After sentencing in felony cases, if the defendant is incarcerated, then the state is responsible for picking up the expenses of incarceration.
“These Rocket Docket programs are saving the fiscal courts in these counties millions and millions of dollars in jail fees. Being one of the top 10 programs is a credit to Bob Hammons and Conley Chaney and their staffs. I am real proud of that,” Trimble said.
In the fall of 1972, Trimble enrolled in the University of Kentucky, College of Law. While in law school, he clerked for then U. S. Attorney Eugene Siler II. After graduating from law school, Trimble joined the law firm of Terry Forcht in Corbin.
After several years with Forcht & Trimble, he formed the law firm of Trimble & Mann, which existed for nearly 22 years.
Trimble was first elected commonwealth’s attorney for the 34th Judicial Circuit comprising of Whitley & McCreary counties in 1987. He continued to maintain a private law practice, as well as his duties as commonwealth’s attorney for nearly 12 years.
Following the addition of a second circuit judgeship, he became a full-time commonwealth’s attorney in 2000. He considers it a privilege to be serving in his fifth term (30th year) as commonwealth’s attorney. He is currently the longest serving commonwealth’s attorney in the state.
Trimble has often said, “By being able just to prosecute what people do and not who they are has allowed me to last this long. When we go into the courtroom, we are prosecuting the crime, not the person.”
He has received numerous awards and recognitions and has been involved in a variety of legal programs and community projects throughout his career. Among his favorites were starting a mock trial team at Williamsburg High School and being the coach/advisor for a number of years and serving on the Supreme Court Bar Admissions Review Commission.
Trimble has been the featured speaker at a number of conferences throughout Kentucky and several other states on the topic of DUI homicide.
Trimble’s fifth term as commonwealth’s attorney for the 34th Judicial Circuit will end in December 2018. He plans on retiring as commonwealth’s attorney and practicing law. He says that the thing he will miss most about the job is the responsibility – “that small bit of satisfaction you get every time when you see somebody go to jail for a crime they have committed, you feel like you have done something for the community as a whole.”