FRANKFORT – Beth Maze, Chief Circuit Judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit, has announced her retirement, effective midnight on Oct. 27, 2019.
In a letter to Gov. Matt Bevin dated Oct. 24, Maze said she is “not retiring because of any wrongdoing, but because I have appealed a ruling from the Bath Circuit Court denying my motion to dismiss the indictment.”
Maze was indicted by a Bath County grand jury last year on two felony counts of forgery and one count of tampering with public records.
She is accused of forging drug test orders involving the 2017 arrest of her ex-husband, Donald “Champ” Maze.
Judge Maze denies any wrongdoing. She claims she mistakenly believed the orders were for distribution only and not that attorneys had seen the orders and agreed to them.
Maze also is charged with six ethics violations by the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission.
She filed a federal lawsuit against the JCC claiming she was denied due process and that it has violated the law under state “Whistleblower” status.
She was suspended with pay last October.
Maze said in her letter that her appeal is expected to take months, if not years.
“I intend to fight these charges so long as there is breath left in me,” she wrote. “I have always believed that a person's name is worth more than silver or gold, and I intend to prove my innocence.
“Because of the time it may take to resolve this appeal, I wish for the people of the 21st Judicial Circuit to have a regular presiding judge, and am, therefore, retiring for the stability of the people of the 21st Judicial Circuit.”
Maze added that she is not finished contributing to society, serving the people of the Commonwealth and the people of the 21st Judicial Circuit in Bath, Menifee, Montgomery and Rowan counties.
Maze was a judge for the past 19 years, including the past nine as chief circuit judge.
In the letter, Maze listed some of the things she is proud of accomplishing after becoming judge. She assisted Legal Aid of the Bluegrass in starting a free divorce clinic so that individuals who could not afford to hire an attorney could obtain a divorce free of charge. She also created simple forms for individuals to file motions to review child support or review visitation.
In January 2008, Maze started Montgomery Drug Court and has spoken at numerous drug rallies in an effort to educate families on signs of addiction and how enabling loved ones is actually detrimental to recovery.
Maze helped oversee the construction and assisted with choosing the décor of the new Rowan County Judicial Center and in 2009, also began efforts to secure a new courthouse for Bath County.
She is the only judge to have served on both the Supreme Court Criminal Rules Committee and the Supreme Court Family Court Rules Committee, she said.
Maze also was appointed by the governor to serve for nine years on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board.
“I have done these things because I love the people of this Commonwealth and the people of the 21st Judicial Circuit and want our community as well as the Commonwealth of Kentucky to be the best it can be. It has always been important to me to be involved and to give back,” she wrote.
The letter appears in its entirety on our website at www.themoreheadnews.com.