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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Statement expected today from court candidate Mike Maggio over web postings

Posted By on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 6:50 AM

click to enlarge STATEMENT EXPECTED: From Judge Mike Maggio.
  • STATEMENT EXPECTED: From Judge Mike Maggio.
Circuit Judge Mike Maggio of Conway, a candidate for Arkansas Court of Appeals, has still not issued a public statement about his investigation by a judicial ethics agency for comments made on an LSU fan website. Under a pseudonym, Maggio apparently made dozens of provocative comments and also revealed a confidential adoption proceeding in his court by the famous actress, Charlize Theron.

Though made under a pseudonym, the poster — "geauxjudge" — made a number of personal references to himself that fit Maggio's biography. Since the story broke on Blue Hog Report yesterday morning, and was subsequently followed by my report that the matter already was under active ethics review, neither Maggio nor his representatives have denied the authorship or otherwise commented on it. Blue Hog has noted that, shortly after the story broke, the postings by geauxjudge on Tiger Droppings, the LSU fan site, began being removed.

I learned last night that I could expect a statement today. I've again asked for one from Maggio.

UPDATE: The judge hasn't responded to an e-mail and a call to his cell phone shortly before 11 a.m. produced a "no comment" from a woman who answered.

District Judge Bart Virden of Morrilton filed to oppose Maggio late last week. The race pits candidates from different ends of the legal political spectrum. Virden is a former president of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. Maggio has drawn significant financial support from advocates of "tort reform," or means of limiting damage lawsuits brought by trial lawyers. Nursing homes accounted for a third of the money Maggio reported in his initial campaign finance filing. In a case last year, Maggio reduced a $5 million jury verdict against a nursing one to $1 million, saying it shocked his conscience.

The obvious ethical problem for Maggio in the postings was the disclosure of confidential adoption proceedings. The adoption apparently occurred in Maggio's court — though various sources differ on whether it was in his court or David Clark's — but was handled by another judge. It would be appropriate for another judge to confer with a fellow judge on matters that arose in court, particularly if on the judge's docket. But putting that information on a public LSU fan board is another matter.

Other comments ranged from unflattering comments about women — they are interested in either a "bulge" in the pants or a bulging wallet, but either one will do, geauxjudge wrote. More inflammatory in Arkansas, perhaps, were multiple jokes about Arkansas as a place in which incest is frequently practiced. (Maggio is a Mississippi native.) He wrote:

"….every time there is a story about incest, just remember: ARKANSAS."

Also:

sex with animals…. been there …. done that

Signed:

Arkansas

If Maggio were to decide to drop out of the race for Court of Appeals, it wouldn't end his case before the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. He remains a circuit judge until the end of this year. He gave up that seat to make a race for Court of Appeals. Plus, the disciplinary panel can pursue action after a term has ended, including to win an agreement that a judge not seek office again.

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