The public hearing on the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission’s complaint against Little Rock Circuit Judge Willard Proctor has been set for April 27-May 1. It will finally open to public scrutiny the specifics of allegations that he willfully violated judicial ethics rules in dealing with probationers and the operation of the private probation program, Cycle Breakers, that he set up. It’s been problem-plagued since controversy over a building it bought near a Little Rock elementary school through a critical state audit and multiple allegations of improper handling of money and allegedly improper jailing of probationers who failed to pay fines Proctor set.
According to sources, the allegations were severe enough to prompt a request that Proctor be suspended from the bench, or at least stop hearing criminal cases. The state Supreme Court declined in a split decision to act on that in a proceeding that remains under seal. But the court also has apparently rejected Proctor’s efforts to stop the proceeding.