, Corbin, KY

July 30, 2013

Hodge court appearance postponed, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence “Larry” Hodge, now jailed in Elkton Federal Prison in Ohio convicted on federal charges, was slated for his first court appearance Monday to face several state charges.

Hodge was sentenced to 15 and a half years in September 2011 in U.S. District Court in London on three separate crimes — conspiring to obstruct, delay and affect…commerce…by extortion, using controlled substances without proper prescriptions, and conspiring with a former sheriff’s office employee who did bookkeeping.

However, Hodge’s first appearance for the state charges was postponed Monday, according to both the circuit clerk’s office and Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble’s office, although Trimble was unable to return a phone call made to his office Monday.

However, on Thursday, Trimble said Hodge would not have appeared in court Monday anyway, explaining that a special transportation company is required to transport him from the federal prison, and those arrangements have yet to be finalized.

But Trimble said they were ready to prosecute.

Hodge faces 21 state charges of abuse of public trust as well as evidence tampering. The former sheriff was arrested in November 2010 after a special grand jury handed down the 21-count indictment against him. That indictment charges Hodge with 12 counts of abuse of public trust exceeding $10,000, six counts of abuse of public trust less than $10,000 and three counts of tampering with evidence.

A special judge was assigned to the case earlier this year — Judge David Tapp, from Pulaski County.

The clerk’s office said that as Tapp is a sitting judge, it was likely there was a scheduling conflict.

Assistant Prosecutor Robert Stephens explained that while this case had been before Senior Judge James Bowling, Bowling is now “totally retired” from the position.

“We want to resolve this and get this case finished,” Stephens said in June. “But we’ve got to get him here before we do.”

Stephens said then that his office “has attempted to get this heard for the last year.”