Former Judge Michael Maggio cannot be sued in civil court over his handling of the case involving the death of a nursing home patient, Special Judge David Laser ruled this morning in Faulkner County Circuit Court. 

Laser said Maggio is protected by judicial immunity in civil cases. However, Laser did not rule on the other defendants, nursing home owner Michael Morton and lobbyist Gilbert Baker.

The Democrat-Gazette’s Debra Hale-Shelton reported on the ruling earlier today. The order has not yet been transmitted to the Faulkner County circuit clerk.

The suit was filed on behalf of the family of Martha Bull, who died in a nursing home owned by Morton, and alleges that campaign contributions to Maggio from Morton solicited by Baker influenced Maggio’s decision to reduce a jury’s award of $5.2 million to a $1 million in a suit against the nursing home.

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Maggio pleaded guilty in January to federal bribery charges and awaits sentencing. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.