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Arkansas District Judge Resigns and It’s Hard to Explain Why

2016-05-13

An Arkansas district judge, in the latter part of his second four-year elected term in his district, resigned on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, after a long investigation by a state commission into his behavior with some defendants.  It seems that he would have the men, who were appearing in his court on traffic charges usually, take boxes of cans of food ostensibly for charitable purposes, to his house.  He would then photograph them from behind while they were holding the boxes and bending over.

The State Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission obtained some 4,600 photographs of men, some of them nude and some after apparent “paddling or other sex acts” and stated that it had not finished processing the evidence.  The commission had contacted several dozen men who had been involved in this activity, and had talked to hundreds of witnesses since the investigation began in 2014.  The commission had ordered him to stop hearing cases in late 2015, but he had continued to draw his salary until he turned in his resignation.   The commission still has not been able to decide on referring criminal charges.

According to a post from the New York Times:

Men who had appeared before Judge Boeckmann in court said they were asked to go to his house or to some other location with bags of canned goods, ostensibly for charity. Then, according to their accounts, the judge told them to bend over and pick up the cans as he photographed them from behind for what he said would be evidence of community service, according to a filing on the commission’s website.

In one case from 2014, he gave a defendant his phone number and ordered him to come to his house, where he photographed the man bending over and offered him $300 to pose as Michelangelo’s statue of David, the commission said.

 

The judge’s name is O. Joseph Boeckmann Jr., and his lawyer, Jeff Rosenzweig, denied that he had done anything wrong.  He said that the judge had been near the end of his term and didn’t want to get “into a big fight” over the veracity of any allegations “over an office that he was going to vacate anyway”, but that if any criminal charges were filed he would fight them “vehemently.”  I would suggest to this judge’s lawyer that a plea bargain would be more appropriate.

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