On Monday, January 29, 2024, News 19 reported that Eleventh Judicial Circuit Judge Gilbert P. Self was indicted on charges of misusing court funds and perjury.
According to reports from the Alabama Attorney General’s office, Judge Self was indicted on 16 counts of using his office for personal gain or for the gain of family members. He was also charged with one count of making a false representation to the Examiners of Public Accounts and one count of perjury.
The indictment alleges that between April 2020 and February 2023, Judge Self misused over $50,000 in public funds. Some of the expenditures included in the indictment are paying his son’s salary, purchasing a sofa, framing his son’s college diploma, alcohol, prescription glasses, and personal trips.
Judge Self is accused of reimbursing himself from public funds for vacations such as a ski trip to Montana, a beach trip, a cycling trip across three states, and a trip to St. Ignace, Michigan. He was also charged with taking payments for travel to judicial conferences and events that he did not actually attend in locations like Reno, Nevada; Duck Key, Florida; Mackinac Island, Michigan, and Alabama.
In addition, the indictment states that Judge Self improperly claimed per diem and mileage reimbursements on multiple occasions. He is also accused of making false statements to Examiners of Public Accounts during an audit and lying under oath before a Lauderdale County grand jury in 2024.
Judge Self was arrested on the charges. As an indicted judge, he is disqualified from serving but will continue receiving his salary according to the Alabama Constitution.
In a statement, Judge Self acknowledged that “honest but correctable mistakes” were made in the accounting of funds he managed as Presiding Judge. He claims these errors occurred when the court system faced immense pressure during the pandemic while being understaffed and overloaded with cases.
Judge Self repaid all questioned funds and said Lauderdale County lost no money. He regrets the mistakes but looks forward to locals considering the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the events. His legal team maintains the charges should not have been brought.
If convicted, Judge Self faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine for each ethics violation charge. The false statement and perjury counts each carry up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
The Administrative Office of Courts will assist the Lauderdale County Circuit Court as needed during Judge Self’s disqualification.
Source: News 19