A new start date and pretrial deadlines have been set in a former Limestone judge's criminal trial, records show.
According to an order filed Wednesday by Special Circuit Judge Steven Haddock in Limestone Circuit Court, the criminal trial for Douglas Lee Patterson will begin 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16.
“This is a firm trial setting, as it is expected that no other jury trial will be set to commence on the same date in the Circuit Court of Limestone County,” the order reads.
Previous hearings in the case have taken place in Circuit Judge Robert Baker's courtroom in the Limestone County Courthouse, and Haddock has said scheduling dates for the trial depends on when Baker won't need the courtroom for other matters. When Baker announced jury trials could resume in October, he said jury selections for Limestone County trials would take place at the Athens Senior Center.
Haddock said in his order that jury selection for Patterson's trial would also take place outside the courthouse, but a specific location will be announced in a future order.
Other dates set forth in the order regard settlement and motions in limine. Haddock said motions in limine must be filed on or before Oct. 19, with a hearing set for 10 a.m. Nov. 4 at the courthouse. If a settlement is reached, they have until Oct. 23 to file notice of it.
After Oct. 23, any settlement that involves Patterson pleading guilty to one or more of the charges can only "proceed without an agreed sentence or sentences," meaning it'll be up to Haddock to determine Patterson's sentence, not the attorneys.
In the criminal case, the first count — use of official position or office for personal gain — arises from Patterson’s service as a district court judge, which includes his supervising the county’s juvenile court system. It alleges Patterson used his position as a judge to obtain $47,008.24 from the county’s juvenile court services fund.
The second count — first-degree financial exploitation of the elderly — alleges Patterson breached a fiduciary duty to Charles Hardy in order to obtain all or part of $47,800 in Hardy’s conservatorship account.
The third count — third-degree theft of property — alleges Patterson knowingly obtained or exerted unauthorized control over or knowingly obtained by deception control over a sum of money that exceeded $499 but was less than $1,500 and that belonged to the estate of Rudolph Allen.
The first two charges are Class B felonies each punishable upon conviction by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. The theft charge is a Class D felony punishable by a year and one day or up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500.