Judge who made improper Internet comments agrees to removal from office


LITTLE ROCK — An Arkansas judge who admitted posting improper comments on an Internet forum has agreed to be removed from office at the end of the year and never again serve as a judge in Arkansas.

The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission said Wednesday that 20th Judicial District Circuit Judge Mike Maggio has agreed to the commission’s recommendation that he be suspended with pay for the rest of the year and permanently removed from office effective Dec. 31. The commission will recommend that the state Supreme Court impose the sanctions.

Maggio, whose main office is in Conway, was relieved of all his cases by the state Supreme Court in March.

Maggio admitted to several violations of the rules of judicial conduct, including posting comments on an Internet forum for Louisiana State University sports fans that revealed confidential information about actress Charlize Theron’s adoption proceedings in Faulkner County Circuit Court.

Maggio admitted that in his online comments he revealed that the baby was black and joked that “I offered to be the baby daddy.”

The judge also admitted to posting other improper comments on the forum, TigerDroppings.com, where his user name was “geauxjudge.” Among them were comments that men cheat because “the wife quits or shuts down sex to nothing, becomes unattractive and non-supportive and then is shocked when he steps out.”

In other posts, Maggio expressed a desire to be assigned cases involving attractive women, sexual subject matter and nude or explicit pictures; made jokes about ethnic groups, gays and bestiality; said sex with teachers is like trophy hunting for teenage boys; gave advice on how to avoid a conviction for driving while intoxicated; commented on pending cases; and indicated he had conducted an independent investigation in a case that was before him.

Maggio also admitted that after the Blue Hog Report blog began reporting on his online comments, he tampered with evidence by attempting to edit or delete the comments.

The judge also admitted that he improperly contacted the prosecuting attorney’s office in Faulkner County and asked that an arrest warrant be issued for his girlfriend’s ex-husband for issuing a child-support check on insufficient funds and that he made no attempt to prevent the case from being assigned to him, which it was.

Maggio was listed as the victim in the case because his girlfriend had signed the check over to him. He eventually recused, but not until after issuing a scheduling order in the case while he was simultaneously the victim and the presiding judge.

The commission also had been investigating Maggio’s receipt of campaign contributions from businessman Michael Morton of Fort Smith, but the agreement released Wednesday does not include any recommended sanctions on that issue.

On July 11, Maggio reduced a jury award against a Morton-owned nursing home from $5.2 million to $1 million — three days after Morton donated thousands of dollars to a political action committee supporting Maggio.

David Sachar, executive director of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, said Wednesday, “We didn’t finish (that investigation) because we finished everything we could do today. There’s nothing else we could do to the judge, even if we found violations in the nursing home … issue.”

Sachar said the commission can refer cases to other agencies but would not say whether it has done so in the Maggio case.

In June the state Ethics Commission fined Maggio $750 for accepting campaign contributions that exceeded state limits.

Maggio was appointed in 2000 by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee to fill a vacancy starting in 2001. He was later elected and re-elected.

In a statement Monday, Maggio thanked the people of the 20th Judicial District for their friendship and for allowing him to serve them. He said he hoped they would not remember him for the sanctions but for his hard work and fairness.

“I accepted responsibility and apologized for the statements under an assumed pseudonym in a private sports blog that were attributed to me,” he said. “Those people that know me, have interacted with me or have observed me in private or public know those statements do not, have not, nor ever will represent my beliefs, core principles, philosophy or my heart.”