Disbarred NC Judge Still Drawing Six-Digit Salary

A former district court judge is still drawing his six-digit salary from the state payroll, even though he no longer has a law license and can't hear cases.

James Ethridge didn't resign after the State Bar revoked his law license in October. Unless an oversight panel or the state Legislature takes action, the state may be paying Ethridge's annual salary until his term ends in December 2008.

Meanwhile, records show that taxpayers have to pay for substitute judges to cover Ethridge's seat. The position deals with a busy caseload of criminal, domestic and child custody disputes in Johnston, Harnett and Lee counties in central North Carolina.

The State Bar revoked Ethridge's license last year after determining he was dishonest and deceitful when he took the home and 14,000-dollar life savings of an ailing woman.