Ex-courthouse employee expected to give plea Monday in forgery case

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 4, 2001

A former courthouse employee charged with forging the names of a local judge and two local attorneys is expected to enter a plea Monday morning in Adams County Circuit Court. Louise Webster Barnes, 44, 132 Otis Redding Drive, was indicted for uttering a forgery for allegedly forging the names of Adams County Judge John Hudson and attorneys Debra Blackwell and Lisa Jordan to avoid paying a phone bill.

Her attorney, George F. West, said his client wants to put this matter behind her.

&uot;I don’t know why she is pleading guilty. That’s her choice,&uot; West said. &uot;All I know is she wants to put this phase behind her.&uot;

Barnes is a former deputy clerk for the Adams County Circuit Clerk’s office but left her job because of this incident.

Prosecutors believe Barnes wrote a court order to Bell South around June 2000 saying another woman was responsible for her phone bill.

She is then believed to have added the names of the three officials to the document by taking their signatures off a court document they had signed together and copying them as a unit onto the fake document.

&uot;It’s just one of those sad things that happened and I’m sad that it happened and I wish it hadn’t happened but it did,&uot; said Hudson, who also wishes to have closure to the incident.

Assistant District Attorney E. Vincent Davis said forgery charges are common but this case is unusual.

&uot;The forgeries that we usually see are along the lines of checks or credit card receipts or things of that nature,&uot; Davis said.

Barnes is scheduled to appear in court Monday before Circuit Court Judge Forrest &uot;Al&uot; Johnson. She had originally been scheduled to stand trial March 16.

Uttering a forgery carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.