Louisville judge who approved Breonna Taylor search warrant loses re-election bid, blames ‘false narratives’

The Kentucky judge who signed the warrant that resulted in the deadly Louisville police shooting of Breonna Taylor lost re-election after Tuesday, citing “false narratives” surrounding the case.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Mary Shaw, who had been on the bench since 2006, was defeated by self-described “equity” attorney Tracy Evette Davis, 51% to 49%, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Shaw, who said she received death threats in 2020 after signing the search warrant for Taylor’s apartment, was the only Jefferson County Circuit Court judge to face a challenger this election cycle.

“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 told the Journal Wednesday. “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.”


A photo of Breonna Taylor is seen among other photos of women who have lost their lives as a result of violence during the 2nd Annual Defend Black Women March in Black Lives Matter Plaza on July 30, 2022, in Washington, DC.
(Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Frontline Action Hub)

On her campaign website, Davis, whose practice in downtown Louisville includes a wide variety of cases, including family law matters, cases involving misdemeanor and felony criminal charges, and civil cases, says “she has given of herself both personal and professionally in the pursuit of equity both in and out of the courtroom.”

Though, Davis reportedly has not indicated her decision to run was linked to Taylor’s case.

Shaw’s position on the bench was considered vulnerable this election cycle, given the judge initially received criticism for approving search warrants for five properties around the time Taylor was killed on March 13, 2020.

They included four across Louisville allegedly linked to drug trafficking, as well as Taylor’s apartment.

In August, the Justice Department charged four former and current Louisville cops in connection to Taylor’s killing.

Former detectives Kelly Goodlett and Joshua Jaynes, as well as Sgt. Kyle Meany, were charged in connection to their roles in preparing and approving the search warrant on Taylor’s apartment. Goodlett has since pleaded guilty to conspiring with the other detective to falsify an affidavit to obtain a warrant to search Taylor’s home without probable cause and to cover up the false warrant by lying to criminal investigators after Taylor was killed.

Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mary Shaw of Division Five. Shaw reportedly lost re-election after signing off on the police warrant that resulted in Breonna Taylor’s death in Louisville, Kentucky.
(Jefferson County Circuit Court)

Goodlett is expected to testify in next year’s federal trial for Jaynes and Meany. According to the plea deal, the warrant affidavit falsely claimed that a U.S. Postal Inspector verified that the target of a narcotics investigation, Jamarcus Glover, who Taylor had been in a prior relationship with, had been receiving packages at Taylor’s home.

But Goodlett allegedly knew the claim was false because the other detective told her he had learned that “there’s nothing there” and that the Postal Service had not flagged Taylor’s address for receiving any suspicious packages.

Glover was arrested across town the night before Taylor was killed. But others sought by police were not found.

A projected phrase, LMPD MURDERED BREONNA, is seen on an overpass as Louisville Metro Police Department officers drive toward downtown on March 13, 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky.
(Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

The fourth charged by the Justice Department in August is former Det. Brett Hankison, who is now facing civil rights offenses for firing his service weapon into Taylor’s apartment through a covered window and covered glass door.

In March of this year, Hankison, the only officer initially charged in connection to the raid was acquitted on all state counts for allegedly endangering neighbors after testifying that he believed his fellow officers were being executed.

In 2020, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, did not recommend murder charges for the other two officers at Taylor’s apartment, Sgt. Johnathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove.

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, claimed the couple thought someone was breaking into the apartment when he opened fire, striking Mattingly in the leg. The other officers returned fire.


Ballistics determined that Cosgrove fired the bullet that ultimately killed the 26-year-old Black woman in a hallway.

Taylor’s name was used as a rallying cry during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.