On Monday, June 19, 2023, John M. Polston appeared before Special Judge Greg Lay and entered guilty pleas to two charges stemming from an incident that occurred in July 2021, in Cumberland County, when Polston confronted Circuit Judge David L. Williams over another case involving Polston in Monroe County.
Polston was originally charged with Retaliating Against a Participant in the Legal Process and Menacing in Cumberland Circuit Court. Pursuant to an agreement reached with the Commonwealth, Polston pled guilty to an amended charge of Obstruction of Governmental Operations and to Menacing. Polston, who was represented by Attorney Alan Simpson of Bowling Green, had been scheduled to stand trial on June 19, 2023, before a jury in Pulaski County, where the case had been transferred for trial.
According to the amended indictment and guilty plea, Polston admitted that he “threatened to use violence, force or physical interference against Hon. David L. Williams, Circuit Judge for the 40th Judicial Circuit.” 29th Judicial Circuit Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Wright served as special prosecutor in the case.
As part of the plea agreement, Wright agreed to recommend that the charge of Retaliating Against a Participant in the Legal Process (a Class D Felony) be amended to Obstruction of Governmental Operations (a Class A Misdemeanor).
Wright recommended that Polston serve twelve (12) months in jail on the charges, which is the maximum allowable under Kentucky law. Polston, who spent seventy (70) days in jail immediately following his indictment, has been on GPS-monitored home incarceration since October 19, 2021.
The events which gave rise to the Cumberland County indictment began after Polston, age 62, was arrested in December 2020 in Monroe County and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (methamphetamine); Possession of Marijuana; and DUI.
Polston appeared in Monroe Circuit Court in June 2021 and was arraigned on those charges by Hon. David L. Williams, who serves as Circuit Judge for the 40th Judicial Circuit. The 40th Judicial Circuit is comprised of Monroe, Cumberland, and Clinton Counties. During the arraignment, Judge Williams announced that he planned to recuse from Polston’s Monroe County case due to contacts that he had received from someone on behalf of Polston regarding that case. A few days later – on July 3, 2021 – Polston encountered Judge Williams at Mike’s Landing, a restaurant adjacent to Dale Hollow Lake in Cumberland County. Polston confronted Judge Williams about action he had taken in Polston’s Monroe County case, and Polston insisted on speaking with Judge Williams about the matter despite Judge Williams’ efforts to avoid Polston. Polston’s behavior and actions toward Judge Williams resulted in law enforcement being called to Mike’s Landing and an investigation involving multiple local and state agencies.
The incident was primarily investigated by Kentucky State Police Detective Michael Dubree, who presented his findings to a Cumberland County Grand Jury which returned an indictment charging Polston with Retaliating Against a Participant in the Legal Process and Menacing based on Polston’s conduct towards Judge Williams.
Polston has previously pled guilty before a special judge in the Monroe County case and was sentenced for Possession of Marijuana and DUI. He was granted pretrial diversion for the possession of methamphetamine charge.
Polston remains under federal indictment in the Middle District of Tennessee for several charges related to his previous employment as a pharmacist in Clay County, Tennessee.