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Bill Cunningham in 2016
|Associate Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court|
|Born||October 15, 1944|
Murray State University|
University of Kentucky
Before becoming a member of the state's highest court, Cunningham served as a circuit court judge for 15 years. He was elected to the Circuit Court Bench in November 1991 to serve the 56th Judicial Circuit, which consists of Caldwell, Livingston, Lyon and Trigg counties. He was re-elected in 1999 and served as circuit judge until January 2007.
Cunningham served the court system in several capacities before entering his judicial career. He was the Eddyville city attorney from 1974 to 1991 and public defender for the Kentucky State Penitentiary from 1974 to 1976. He served as Commonwealth's Attorney for the 56th Judicial District from 1976 to 1988. During his tenure in that position, he was voted the Outstanding Commonwealth Attorney of Kentucky by his peers.
Cunningham also served as a hearing officer for the Kentucky Board of Claims from 1981 to 1985 and as a trial commissioner for the Lyon County District court from 1989 to 1992.
Cunningham earned his bachelor's degree from Murray State University in 1962 and his Juris Doctor in 1969 from the University of Kentucky College of Law. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in Korea, Germany, and Vietnam.
Cunningham is a native of Lyon County and an author of five books about regional history, which chronicle the struggle for racial justice in western Kentucky since the American Civil War as well as a book about the history of the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville. He and his wife, Paula, have five sons and eleven grandchildren. His son, Joseph, is the Democratic nominee in the 2018 South Carolina 1st congressional district race.