ATHENS, Ala. - A north Alabama judge accused of misusing court funds and stealing money from clients has resigned from his post.
Limestone County District Judge Doug Patterson announced he would be
stepping down effective July 3, according to a letter to the Alabama
Supreme Court filed Tuesday.
“The unescapable reality is that I
cannot financially, mentally, or emotionally continue to fight the full
weight, power and resources of the State of Alabama in two different
theaters,” Patterson wrote in the letter, saying the move should not be
viewed as an admission of guilt.
The former judge was suspended after being indicted on felony charges
of use of official position for personal gain, financial exploitation
of the elderly and theft of property in December 2019. He has pleaded
not guilty to the counts, news outlets reported.
attorney general’s office accused Patterson of using $47,000 intended
for juvenile court programs on personal expenses. The former judge also
was accused of improperly withdrawing about $47,800 from the account of a
nursing home resident for whom he had served as a conservator, as well
as between $499 and $1,500 from the estate of another client.
case was scheduled for trial in June but was postponed because of the
coronavirus pandemic, news outlets reported. Jury trials in Alabama
remained paused until September. Patterson was set to face a separate
trial at the Alabama Court of the Judiciary on the ethics charge this
week, but that trial was also postponed.
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Alabama judge charged with theft, ethics violation resigns