The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission today filed an expanded list of allegations of impropriety against District Judge Joseph Boeckmann of Wynne, who faces a full hearing on the charges later this year.
The filing adds specific allegations from former defendants in his court that they were made to do inappropriate things in return for light treatment on violations, such as posing for photography. Defendants said Boeckmann wanted to photograph them from behind when they bent over to pick up cans, nominally their “public service” to discharge violations.
The new charges also accuse him of paying fees to attorneys for representation of defendants and also wrote checks to the court for defendants.
The filing notes that some accusations might amount to violations of law, not just judicial ethics rules. No formal announcement has been made that Boeckmann is under criminal investigation. Clearly, he should be. The Arkansas Times has received in recent days allegation from a state prison inmate of improper conduct by Boeckmann dating back to his time as a deputy prosecutor. The conduct is even more troubling if other officers of the court — lawyers — had reason to know of possible improprieties because of the payments outlined.
It is, in short, a bigger deal than an injudicious judge.