Kay Ivey appoints Alabama prosecutor to replace indicted judge

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An Alabama prosecutor is now one of the state’s newest judges.

Gov. Kay Ivey appointed Limestone County prosecutor Russell “Gray” West to replace Doug Patterson as a district judge for Place 1 in the county. West, 31, was sworn in Friday to the post.

West began his legal career at the District Attorney’s Office after graduating from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2014.

“It’s still a bit surreal,” West told AL.com by phone following the swearing-in ceremony. “It’s slowly but surely sinking in that it’s happening.”

West said he’s excited to start hearing cases, which could happen as soon as next week.

He acknowledged that part of his role in replacing Patterson could include rebuilding the community’s trust in the court.

“I hope and pray I’ll be able to restore it by being myself and continuing to put the community first,” he said. “My intent is always to put the county first and do what I think is right.”

Patterson resigned about three weeks ago, just before he was to face a trial at the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. Patterson also faces a criminal trial on felony charges of theft and abuse of power. He’s accused of using the judgeship to steal from juvenile court funds and faces allegations of theft from his time as an attorney.

Patterson has pleaded not guilty.

West will serve the remainder of Patterson’s term, which runs until 2022. West can then seek election to the position.

“I’m really excited about getting to continue serving Limestone County,” he said.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.