Judge Indicted for Using Public Funds to Employ His Son, Travel And Buy Alcohol
The presiding judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Lauderdale County, Alabama, has been charged with lying to a grand jury and using public funds for personal purchases and his son’s employment.
Judge Gilbert P. Self, 61, of Florence, Alabama, has been indicted on 18 counts, 16 of them for alleged use of his office for personal gain or the gain of family members. The other two counts allege perjury and a false statement to public auditors.
Self is accused of spending public money for a couch, alcoholic beverages; eyeglasses and several vacations, including skiing, cycling and beach trips.
He is also accused of using public money for events that he did not attend in Reno, Nevada; Duck Key, Florida; and Mackinac Island, Michigan.
The alleged purchases include a double reclining console sofa, grab-and-go beers, a chocolate martini and framing for his son’s diploma.
The indictment stemmed from an audit that focused on payments made from two court-fee funded accounts overseen by Self. The audit found that Self had hired his son as a law clerk.
Self claims that his son was applying to law schools after graduating in December 2019, and he hired his son for $10 per hour in what he thought would be short-term employment.
“I thought he’d be here several months and then go on to law school; then the pandemic hit,” Self said.
He added that his son helped keep the office running during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Self’s lawyers allege that he voluntarily repaid all the funds spent “on these honest and correctable mistakes.”
Self also released a statement, “From the first time the auditors brought these issues to my attention, I have acknowledged honest but correctable mistakes were made in the two bank accounts I administered as presiding judge. These mistakes happened over a period of time, when our court system was under immense pressure due to the pandemic and being understaffed and overloaded. At no time did I intend to violate any law. Lauderdale County is not out any money, and all of the money in question is in those accounts”.You can read more about this matter here.View our FREE CLE course “The Attorney Disciplinary Process” to learn exactly what will happen should you ever face disciplinary proceedings for attorney misconduct. And you can take a look at our CLE bundles here or just email us at email@example.com if you have any questions regarding your state’s CLE compliance rules.