Limestone County judge accused of stealing money resigns

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – Limestone county Judge Douglas Patterson has resigned his judgeship months after being indicted on criminal charges.

According to Alabama court officials, he submitted a letter of resignation to Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker. The letter states Patterson’s resignation was effective on July 3, 2020.

Patterson was indicted in December 2019 on charges of third-degree theft, financial exploitation of the elderly and using his position for personal gain. 

He was accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars by writing about 70 checks to himself from the Limestone County Juvenile Court Services Fund over a period of years. More than $47,000 that was supposed to go to juvenile programs and juvenile court staff among other things, prosecutors said.

Patterson also is accused of taking money before becoming a judge, when he worked as an attorney and served as a conservator for incapacitated people.

Patterson was placed on leave in August 2019, when the investigation into him began.

The letter states that his resignation should “not be viewed in any way as an admission of guilt on my part.” Patterson’s letter goes on to explain, “The inescapable 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.”

His trial was scheduled to begin in June but was postponed due to the pandemic.

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