Misconduct hearing for Harlan Co. Circuit Judge begins

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

Day one of Harlan County Circuit Judge Russell Alred's hearing before the state's Judicial Conduct Commission is over.

The judge was on the stand for most of the day.

At this point, he's facing thirteen misconduct charges. He was originally facing twenty, but seven have been dismissed by the commission.

The charges allege Alred abused his power while in his role as Circuit Judge.

Subpoenaed witnesses were told to leave the courtroom Monday morning.

"You know what folks, Judge Grieshop will testify on my behalf. That's been the dirty little secret. He'll testify on my behalf," said Alred.

Much of the proceeding centered around the Special Grand Jury that was ordered by Judge Alred last year to investigate alleged drug trafficking out of Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop's office - sparked by a sheriff's department investigation.

"Showing Judge Grieshop to be the target into an investigation just a few weeks before the May election - against Judge Alred's cousin," said Jeff Mando, attorney for the state.

Attorneys said this is just one example of Alred abusing his power.

They cite other instances, one where the judge allegedly filed a personal claim against Kentucky Utilities, then dismissed it, after obtaining a donation for a playground at Cawood School.

Commonwealth's Attorney Henry Johnson testified that the circumstances changed once the order for a Special Grand Jury was filed by Judge Alred, because it named the Judge-Executive specifically.

And that's when everything went public.

"I'm allowed to talk to the press. I'm allowed to make certain kinds of comments. I'm allowed to go so far into the case and no further," said Johnson.

Alred claims it's politics. And he's a victim.

"I became the easy way to get this off their back and dump it on me. That's what I think," said Alred.

And with a number of witnesses left to be called it's unclear what the rest of the week will bring.


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