LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – State prosecutors are asking a court not to throw out an indictment against a Limestone County judge accused of theft and using his position for personal gain.
Judge Douglas Patterson was indicted and arrested in December of 2019. Since then, there have been many twists and turns in the case.
Judge Patterson is accused of violating Alabama’s ethics law and using his office for personal gain by stealing more than $47,000 from a juvenile court fund he controlled. He is also charged with stealing nearly $50,000 from elderly and disabled clients.
Last month, Patterson’s attorney filed a motion to throw out the indictment against him. His attorney says the Alabama Ethics Act is vague and unconstitutional. He also claims that presiding Limestone County Circuit Judge Robert Baker had undue influence over the grand jury that later indicted Patterson and that he inappropriately urged Patterson to take a plea deal.
Prosecutors filed their response to the motion to dismiss this week. Their filing states, “The court should deny Patterson’s repackaged, but still threadbare argument, that there was undue influence over the grand jury.”
This is not the first time Patterson’s attorney has made this accusation.
Earlier this year he used this claim to try to review the grand jury transcript. The judge denied that request saying there wasn’t enough evidence.
Prosecutors say, “If Patterson could not muster even a ‘sliver’ of evidence that would entitle him to review the grand jury transcript, then he certainly has not met the much higher threshold necessary to dismiss his indictment.”
State prosecutors also point out that this is not the first time a defendant has challenged the Alabama Ethics Act.
Prosecutors brought up the fact that earlier this month the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the conviction of former House Speaker Mike Hubbard under the same law.
The judge in the case has said he will schedule a video hearing after the response is filed. At last check, a new hearing date has not yet been set.