Lauderdale County Circuit Court Judge Indicted on 16 Counts of Misusing Office for Personal Gain and Perjury Charges, Faces Up to 20 Years in Prison

FLORENCE, Ala. — Lauderdale County Circuit Court Judge Gil Self has been indicted on multiple charges related to using his position for personal gain, according to Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office. Self, who has served as a judge since 2009, allegedly used more than $50,000 of public funds to employ his son and made personal purchases such as a sofa, alcoholic beverages, and eyeglasses. He is also accused of reimbursing himself for various vacations, including a skiing trip and a cycling trip.

The charges against Self include 16 counts of using his office for personal gain, one count of making a false representation to Examiners of Public Accounts, and one count of perjury. The perjury charge stems from a false statement Self made to a Lauderdale County grand jury. These charges follow state audits that revealed over $146,000 in undocumented or unallowable expenses from two court fee-funded accounts under Self’s oversight. The alleged misspending was initially outlined in last year’s Examiners of Public Accounts audits, which also revealed that Self had hired his son as a law clerk without proper documentation.

Self defended some of the expenses, attributing accounting errors to the chaos caused by running courts during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he admitted to repaying the money for the unallowable expenses identified during the audit process. If convicted, Self faces imprisonment and fines for each of the charges brought against him.

Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, praised the investigations and commended the Attorney General and Examiners of Public Accounts for holding individuals accountable for breaching the law. The Examiners office regularly audits state and county offices to ensure taxpayer money is being spent for its intended purposes.

The indictment and arrest of Judge Gil Self highlight the alleged misuse of public funds in Lauderdale County, Alabama. The charges against Self cast a cloud of doubt over his tenure on the bench that began in 2009. The case has raised concerns about the integrity and transparency of the court system and emphasizes the importance of financial accountability among public officials. As the legal proceedings unfold, it remains to be seen how this scandal will impact public trust in the judicial system.