The Proctor case | Arkansas Blog

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Proctor case

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 9:00 AM

The investigation against Circuit Judge Willard Proctor got broad coverage from TV and newspapers, deservedly.

But there's a problem. He's still on the bench. He's still using an out-of-control private probation operation, directed by him. He's likely still sending people to jail who've committed no crime -- all without statutory or constitutional authority. Think about that again: Jail terms for people who failed to pay dubious financial obligations to a private entity a judge controls. If it's not a crime, it should be. If it's not a violation of these people's rights, it would surprise me.

Action is needed NOW. Not in a year or so when the disciplinary process finally reaches the inevitable conclusion that Proctor should be removed from the bench.

At a minimum, there's no longer a justification for the state Supreme Court to keep under seal Proctor's legal action attempting to quash the investigation by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.

If you thought yesterday's reading was hair-raising, wait until you see the evidence proffered to the court in behalf of a suspension of Proctor from handling criminal cases while the disciplinary proceeding continued.

Since the investigation is now out in the open, the Supreme Court should open the file.

To quote the Arkansas and U.S. Supreme Court:

The public has a "compelling interest" in open judicial proceedings -- Arkansas Best Corp., 317 Ark. at 247

"One of the basic principles of a democracy is the people have a right to know what is done in their courts."  -- Ark. Dept. of Human Services v. Hardy, 316 Ark. 119, 871 S.W.2d 352 (1994)

"...when public court business is conducted in private, it becomes impossible to expose corruption, incompetence, inefficiency, prejudice and favoritism. For this reason, traditional Anglo-American jurisprudence distrusts secrecy in judicial proceedings and favors a policy of maximum public access to proceedings and records of judicial tribunals." -- Shepherd v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333 (196)

The court perhaps -- and rightly -- is embarrassed that it had an earlier opportunity to put a stop to Proctor's extralegal operation but failed to do so.

 

 

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • More on how highways were used to wipe out "blight" of non-white neighborhoods

    Vox, a news website that concerns itself with energy and other issues, has a fine piece, including before and after images, on the history of the U.S. interstate system and why roads were built through the middle of cities (unless people of influence stopped them — see Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)
    • Mar 22, 2016
  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

  • Guest Playlist: Flap Jones of "Not Necessarily Nashville" schools us on real country music

    "Not Necessarily Nashville," which airs on KUAR-FM 89.1 every Saturday, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., celebrates three decades of the "best of the rest of country music" Saturday, October 21 at the White Water Tavern with Brad Williams of The Salty Dogs & The Creek Rocks, and we asked host Flap Jones to curate a playlist for us ahead of that anniversary celebration.
  • Discussion: State killing of the mentally ill

    The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and others will have a forum on mental illness and the death penalty at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Bowen School of Law's Friday Courtroom.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation