Criminal charges against a former Kentucky judge have been dismissed.
Former Circuit Court Judge Beth Maze was charged in 2018 with forgery and tampering with public records after allegations that she ordered two drug tests after the arrest of her ex-husband. She was accused of then failing to include the orders in the official record, and of writing “Bath Co. Attorney” on the order’s signature line for the attorney for the plaintiff.
Maze served Montgomery, Bath, Rowan and Menifee counties.
At the time of the allegations, Maze said she’d mistakenly believed the orders were for distribution only, not that they indicated the attorney’s had seen and agreed to them.
On Wednesday, Special Judge Phillip Patton ordered that the criminal case against Maze be dismissed with prejudice, meaning the case is permanently dismissed.
In addition to the criminal case, Maze had ethics charges brought against her by the Judicial Conduct Commission, which suspended her in 2019. She resigned during the ethics hearing, but her criminal case had continued until Wednesday’s order.
In the order, Patton wrote that the ethics charges brought against Maze through Judicial Conduct Commission were the same as the criminal charges Maze was indicted on. The Judicial Conduct Commission charges were litigated and decided by the Kentucky Supreme Court, Patton wrote.
“The holding of the Kentucky Supreme Court that the conduct alleged and proved before the JCC did not warrant her removal from the bench establishes conclusively that the highest court in the Commonwealth held her conduct was not criminal,” Patton wrote in the order.
The order also cited a Kentucky Supreme Court opinion from 2020 in which the court said the Judicial Conduct Commission had been wrong in their finding that they would have removed Maze had she not retired.
Patton cited part of the court’s 2020 opinion that read: “Judge Maze’s actions, as we have noted, appear to have been induced on the spur of the moment, while she, in her words, was gripped by ‘chaos, confusion and fear.’ This stands in contrast to a more deliberate course of criminal activity or more numerous examples of separate violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.”
With the charges against Maze dismissed, her upcoming jury trial has been canceled, according to the order.