Former side judge will face charges
Vermont State Police
Patricia Wells Duff, 60, of Brattleboro is seen in a processing photo taken Jan. 26 by Vermont State Police.

Former side judge will face charges

Duff accused of collecting pay for hours she allegedly never worked

BRATTLEBORO — An assistant judge in Windham County has been criminally cited for allegedly falsifying her work schedule and collecting $8,518 to which she wasn’t entitled, according to a Vermont State Police press release.

Patricia Duff, 60, was cited on Jan. 26 on charges of false pretense and grand larceny, according to state police. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 28 at Windham Superior Court in Brattleboro.

Duff, who had been a side judge since 2006, resigned last summer after authorities said they were investigating her. Reached Friday by email by VTDigger, Duff declined to comment on the pending charges.

An affidavit of probable cause, which describes the police investigation, will not be made public until Duff is arraigned, police said.

The state police Bureau of Criminal Investigations began its probe last July based on information from the Windham County Treasurer’s Office and the Vermont Judiciary. Authorities allege that between January and June 2022, Duff was paid $8,518 for 352 hours she claimed but did not work.

Assistant judges are leaders of Vermont’s county government system. Each county has two independently elected side judges who are responsible for administering the county budget and other county government activities. However, Vermont’s county governments have few real powers.

The assistant judges also sit as finders of fact in civil and family court alongside the presiding superior court judge, and so are often called “side judges.”

Other side judges have been disciplined by the Vermont Judicial Conduct Board in recent years.

Paul Kane, a Windham County side judge, was reprimanded in 2017 for violating professional codes of judicial conduct, and was prohibited from holding any judicial office in the future.

Kane was elected as an assistant judge in 2014. He was accused of mishandling the assets of his uncle’s wife in 2010 and failed to take responsibility for his conduct, according to the conduct board.

Judges Constance Ramsey and Charles Delaney, former Chittenden County assistant judges, were disciplined in 2021 for approving $2,000 bonus payments for themselves without proper transparency.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates