Judicial panel finds judge guilty of misconduct

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A Kentucky judge was found guilty of judicial misconduct on Monday and ordered removed from office by the Judicial Conduct Commission.

Harlan County Circuit Judge Russell Alred hurriedly filed notice that he intends to appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court, allowing him to remain in office at least until the panel's order has been thoroughly reviewed.

Judicial Conduct Commission Chairman Stephen Wolnitzek said in the ruling that Alred was guilty of nine counts of judicial misconduct for using his office for political and personal gain.

"The actions ... show a blatant and persistent failure to uphold the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary," Wolnitzek wrote.

Alred said Monday he believes the panel's ruling will be overturned on appeal.

"The ruling handed down by the Judicial Conduct Commission today galvanizes my position throughout this entire matter that I would not receive a fair shake," he said.

Accusations against Alred included one involving the appointment of a special grand jury to investigate the political opponent of one of his relatives.

Alred, who represented himself during the removal hearing, said politics were at the root of the complaints against him.

In the order, Wolnitzek said Alred had convened a special grand jury last year to investigate the case involving his relative, who was running for judge-executive, even though Alred knew the allegations were "woefully inadequate to support an indictment."

Alred was accused of trying to use the grand jury investigation to generate publicity that would benefit his relative's campaign.

Wolnitzek said Alred had made assertions during the hearing that "were, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, blatant misrepresentations."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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