Ex-courthouse employee charged with forging judge’s, lawyers’ names

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2001

A former Adams County Courthouse employee will stand trial in March for allegedly forging the names of a judge and two attorneys on fake court documents.

Prosecutors say Louise Webster&160;Barnes, 44, 132 Otis Redding Drive, forged the names of Adams County Judge John Hudson and attorneys Debra Blackwell and Lisa Jordan to avoid paying a phone bill.

&uot;It’s somewhat scary to know someone could do that because court documents can be powerful documents,&uot; Jordan said.

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Barnes is charged with forging the trio’s signatures to create a document absolving her of responsibility for payment of a BellSouth account. The forged document names another person as responsible for payment of that account. Officials say the forgery was committed by copying a document the trio had signed, then copying the names as a unit onto the fake document.

Barnes was employed as a youth court clerk at the Adams County Circuit Clerk’s office at the time, but she quit last summer because of the incident.

&uot;I was shocked,&uot; Blackwell said about the incident. &uot;When people work in the circuit clerk’s office, you expect them to be honest.&uot;

Adams County Circuit Clerk M.L. &uot;Binkey&uot; Vines said he could not comment on the case because of the ongoing investigation except to say his office investigated the case and turned it over to the authorities as soon as they became aware of it.

Barnes’ attorney, George F. West, said it was too early for him to make a statement because he is in the middle of gathering evidence. &uot;Once we get the (evidence) I can better tell you (my thoughts on the case),&uot; West said.

Barnes will stand trial in Adams County Circuit Court March 16.

She was indicted with uttering a forgery, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.