Former Circuit Judge Pleads Not Guilty

A former Perry County Circuit Judge pleads not guilty to 36 counts of mail fraud.

Former Judge Doug Combs is accused of using money from the administrative office of the courts for personal use while in office from January 1997 until about May 2003.

The man who once presided over criminal cases now finds himself on the other side of the bench.

Less than three months ago he pleaded guilty in state court to driving under the influence.

Now, two years after resigning his post amid misconduct allegations he's in federal court.

An indictment accuses former Perry County Circuit Judge Doug Combs of scheming against the administrative office of the courts to get money for himself and others by making false promises.

For instance, Combs is accused of hiring temporary workers for his office and paying them with money from the AOC, designated for substitute court reporters.

The problem is, the indictment says numerous people were hired as court reporters who were not only unqualified for the job but never actually did the job.

Combs is also accused of using the substitute court reporters, to quote "Free up his permanent staff to perform work on his personal profit-based business" which is a mobile home park, as well as to do personal tasks like driving him to the doctor.

However, Combs attorney says it's not the first time he's heard these allegations.

"I saw the indictment and I'm confident that there's not any allegations that have not already been reviewed by the judicial retirement board," Combs said.

The indictment lists these accusations as mail fraud charges, because the request for payment of these alleged fraudulent services were sent by U.S. Mail to the administrative office of the courts in Frankfort.

Combs was publicly reprimanded by the judicial conduct commission in 2004 and in 2005 he was listed as one of "America's worst judges" by Reader's Digest.

Combs now faces up to 20 years in prison and a 250-thousand dollar fine.

His trial is set for February 12th at the federal courthouse in Frankfort.

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