“I recall, as a young person, holding up both lawyers and ministers as role models, and I was torn as to which career to pursue. Ultimately, I came to the realization that one could have a ministry within the law – a ministry of serving God while serving His people, which is the Greatest Commandment.”

Shea Nickell

Chief Judge Pro Tem
Kentucky Court of Appeals
A Tradition of Justice

A Tradition of Justice

A Prepared & Proven Servant Leader

Judge Nickell was born in 1959 at Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah to Anna June Starrett Nickell, a teacher, principal, and church music director and organist, and Carl Duane “Red” Nickell, a teacher, principal, coach, and church lay leader.
Judge Nickell’s older brother, several cousins, and two nieces have also dedicated their lives to the teaching profession.
Judge Nickell is a proud native of western Kentucky whose family has strong roots from the “Between the Rivers” area, particularly including Livingston, Lyon, and Marshall Counties. A member of the Sons of the American Revolution, he is also an honorary member of The Thomas-Bridges Association of Trigg County.
Judge Nickell graduated from Paducah Tilghman High School in 1977 and DePauw University in 1981. At DePauw, he obtained a double major in communications and political science and served as Student Body President and editor of a campus newspaper. The faculty awarded him The Walker Cup, presented annually to the graduating senior deemed to have contributed most to the campus community. He later served as a University trustee.
Judge Nickell obtained his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1984, where fellow law students elected him President of the Student Bar Association.
Judge Nickell is licensed to practice law before all Kentucky state and federal trial and appellate courts and the United States Supreme Court.
Judge Nickell served as a university instructor at Murray State University (Insurance and Risk Management) and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Jurisprudence).
Judge Nickell is a lifelong conservative with a heart for serving others (Matthew 22:36-40).
Judge Nickell is an Eagle Scout, a popular civic and church lay speaker and soloist, a longtime Gideon, an ordained deacon, and has served as music director at several area churches.
Judge Nickell is a trained and responsible gun owner. He is an Endowment Level Life Member of the National Rifle Association, possesses a Judicial Concealed Deadly Weapons License, and maintains a Sportsman’s License from the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. He is also Life Sponsor of Ducks Unlimited and a longtime supporter of the Shelley Nickell Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and similar environmental and sporting organizations.
Judge Nickell is a thirty-year member of the Paducah Lions Club, a past President of the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, and a member of the Kentucky Lions Hall of Fame. He currently serves as an International Director for the Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest service club organization, with 1.35 million members in more than 45,000 clubs.
Judge Nickell is happily married to Dr. Carolyn S. Watson, a Paducah pathologist, music director and organist at Highland Baptist Church of Paducah, and a Trustee and Executive Committee Member of the Kentucky Medical Association.
Shea and Carolyn

Thank you for your trust.
Thank you for your vote.