1st Appellate District Division 1

J. Christopher McNeill was elected in 2020 by voters in the 24-county First​​ District to serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals and re-elected to the position in the new 23-county First​ District in November 2022.  He has served since initially taking office on May 1, 2020.

The Court of Appeals hears cases from across Kentucky and consists of 14 judges elected by the citizens of the seven Supreme Court districts. He represents the First District, composed of 23 westernmost counties including Ballard, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Crittenden, Daviess, Fulton, Graves, Henderson, Hickman, Hopkins, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Muhlenberg, Todd, Trigg, Union and Webster.

While elected from their respective districts, the judges of the Court of Appeals exercise statewide authority and sit in panels of three in various locations across the Commonwealth.

Judge McNeill has more than 25 years of experience. During that time, he was in private civil practice and a staff attorney for the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Also, as Directing Attorney for the Public Defender's Office in McCracken County, he had extensive jury trial experience and was involved in or supervised representation in over 70,000 cases for six primary counties and multiple other counties in the Purchase and Pennyrile areas.

He earned a Juris Doctor by attending night school at Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law while working full-time for a Kentucky Office of Inspector General. He also completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture and a Master of Science degree in Organizational Communication from Murray State University. He completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1993.

Judge McNeill currently serves as the Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Kentucky Bar Association (KBA) Task Force on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to examine the impact of AI on the practice of law, the ethical implications for lawyers, and best practices surrounding its use in the legal industry. For many years he has been a presenter at yearly KBA Continuing Legal Education (CLE) events including, as Judge, having presented the Kentucky Court of Appeals Update CLE in Owensboro, Covington, and Paducah. He is a past president of the McCracken County Bar Association. He was a member of the McCracken County Specialty Court Board (formerly Drug Court) from its inception in 2005 until 2020. He is also a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Paducah. In 2012, the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy honored him with its Professionalism and Excellence Award. In 2018, the Kentucky Bar Association chose him to participate in its inaugural Leadership Conference for lawyers who were serving as leaders in their profession and communities.

He is a former vice-chair of Paducah Main Street, which recognized him with its Distinguished Service Award in 2008 and, he is a former member of the Impact Poverty study group sponsored by the United Way of Paducah. He serves as a deacon of First Baptist Church in Paducah. ​

Judge McNeill grew up on the family farm in his native Fulton County. He and his wife, Melanie, live in Paducah, have been married since 1993 and have two sons.​​​​​​

Kentucky Court of Appeals
130 Lone Oak Road, Suite 109
Paducah, KY 42001

Phone: 270-558-6951​