The Arkansas Supreme Court
today said Cross County District Judge Joseph Boeckmann
, facing multiple ethical charges that are also under criminal review, will be suspended from hearing cases while the disciplinary proceeding is underway.
The order signed by Chief Justice Howard Brill concludes:
Boeckmann stands accused of trading leniency
in his court for personal work and sexual favors from young male defendants. He's also been accused of having child pornography on his computer. His attorney has said he intends to contest the charges at a full hearing by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.
The commission has turned over information it has developed to a special state prosecutor.
Boeckmann, once a prosecutor himself, serves through the end of next year. He has not filed for re-election. The investigation has been underway for more than a year and surfaced publicly last summer.
A special judge has not yet been announced.
Here's the full Supreme Court order.
The order notes the charges against Boeckmann and says it should not be construed as a judgment in the case. But it said the Constitution gives the Supreme Court general superintending control of the state courts and that includes the power to temporarily suspend judges and appoint temporary replacements during periods "of need."
Boeckmann will continue to be paid during the suspension.
District judges are paid $140,000 a year
. Full-time district judges make $140,000, but Boeckmann is a part-time judge and I can't find his current pay just yet. The typically have countywide jurisdiction and hear lesser local matters — misdemeanors, ordinance violations, preliminary hearings in felony cases and small civil claims. They can be referred matters from circuit court on consent of the parties.
The court issued this order on its own, without a request from any outside party.