The midterm elections were not great for one Kentucky judge who lost her seat in the Jefferson Circuit court. Voters cast ballots remembering she was the person who signed the warrant that resulted in the deadly Louisville police-involved shooting that took the life of Breonna Taylor in 2020.
For the first time in over 15 years, Mary Shaw, will not serve as Jefferson Circuit judge, after being defeated by Tracy Evette Davis, self-described “equity” attorney. The loss was close, as closing polls show she was bested 51 percent to 49 percent.
According to the Jefferson County Clerk’s office, Davis beat the incumbent by a couple of thousand votes, 100,870 to 98,503.
Shaw believes “false narratives” were at play during campaigning season and impacted her on election day.
“I was disappointed by the results, but not surprised as there are so many false narratives surrounding the signing of the warrant which have circulated,” Shaw said the next day. “I’m proud of the campaign I ran, and of the 16 years, I have been on the bench. It has been an honor and privilege. I’ll be retiring from the state after 33 years of service and am looking forward to a new chapter.”
While she did not directly connect her loss to her proximity to Taylor’s untimely demise, she received sharp criticism from the public for approving flawed search warrants for five properties, including Taylor’s home, that Louisville police used to raid the apartments. The warrants stated residents were drug trafficking out of the apartments, which was the premise for the botched raid on March 13, 2020, that took the 26-year-old’s life.
The Justice Department charged four former and current officers from the LPD in August on counts connected to her death.
Former detectives Kelly Goodlett, Joshua Jaynes, and Sgt. Kyle Meany were charged for their roles in preparing and getting the search warrant approved.
Goodlett pleaded guilty to conspiring with another detective to falsify an affidavit to obtain a warrant to search Taylor’s home without probable cause. Their goal was to cover up the false warrant and to have a cohesive lie to tell investigators regarding their paper trial.
Because she signed to the arrest warrant, Shaw says people have been sending her death threats.
In October 2020, when probed about Taylor’s death and the controversy around the search warrant, WDRB reports, and asked if she was going to issue a show-cause order as to why former Detective Joshua Jaynes, who wrote the warrant affidavit, shouldn’t be held in contempt for providing false information, Shaw said she would not. She expressed she was “concerned but deferring to the FBI investigation.”
Ironically, Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer endorsed Davis, standing with her during a fundraiser at the top of the month.
“Everybody knows what happened March the 13th (2020) with Breonna,” Palmer said, WAVE News reports. “But the more you learned about the story and the more you learned what parts people played, you had to know why those people did what they did, or how did they end up in those positions and not care about the job that they were doing.”
Her endorsement came with a lot of questions going unanswered.
“I never got an answer personally through her, but to know that those officers sought her out for a reason,” Palmer said. “They said they sought her out because she would not do the work to make sure those warrants were valid.”
No other incumbent judge in her circuit lost their seat. She was the only one that faced an opponent in this week’s general election.