Crime and Justice

Former Windham County assistant judge under investigation by state police

The Windham County Courthouse in Newfane. Wikemedia Commons photo by redjar/Flickr

Vermont State Police have confirmed they are investigating Patricia Duff, a former Windham County assistant judge who resigned earlier this summer.

State police spokesperson Adam Silverman declined to address the reason for the probe. News of the investigation was first reported by the Brattleboro Reformer

Joyce McKeeman, an assistant judge in Orange County and the president of the Vermont Association of County Judges, told VTDigger in an email Thursday afternoon that “the underlying allegations against (Duff) were related to financial irregularities.”

She declined to comment further.

Duff, a Democrat who held the assistant judge role since 2006, said in July that three bouts with Covid-19 and associated health issues prompted her to resign. Her health made coming to work difficult, she said.

“I should have been (at the courthouse) more, but I always kept up the county duties,” Duff said of the months leading up to her resignation.

Duff did not immediately return a voicemail and email left for her on Thursday afternoon. 

Although Duff told VTDigger she would not seek reelection, her name appeared on the August primary ballot. On Thursday, she withdrew her name from the general election, according to the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office. 

Duff received $24.20 an hour for her work, according to the Vermont employee salary database

Every Vermont county has two assistant or “side” judges, who create the annual budgets for their counties, work as finders of fact in civil and family court proceedings and can oversee some types of hearings.

Assistant Windham County Judge Lamont Barnett — who is running for reelection — will face off in the general election against Windham County Clerk Mildred Barry, who is running as an independent. Additionally, Rep. Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham, who served 24 years in the Vermont House, said she plans to run a write-in campaign for the seat.

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Ethan Weinstein

About Ethan

Ethan Weinstein is a general assignment reporter focusing on Windsor County and the surrounding area. Previously, he worked as an assistant editor for the Mountain Times and wrote for the Vermont Standard.

Email: [email protected]

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