The Proctor beat | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Proctor beat

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 6:29 AM

So much to write about, so little time. That would be the case with Mara Leveritt's cover story this week about the curious and lawless probation program started and singularly overseen by Circuit Judge Willard Proctor, now facing disciplinary charges in that operation.

So I thought I should add, lest there be any doubt: The bill that came out of a House committee yesterday (link corrected) to prohibit the assignment of probationers to unlicensed halfway house treatment facilities is, while a good bill generally, a direct response to more abusive practices in the operation of Proctor's Cycle Breakers program.

As it is, any kind of fly-by-night operator can declare themselves a substance abuse house and work a deal with the right person to get people assigned there. These places, without oversight, can become gulags for residents. They dare not complain about mistreatment, even physical punishment, lest the judge who sent them there end probation and put them in prison. The treatment centers best pay their tribute to the sentencing authority. The money kicked back to a sentencing authority, who knows where it goes? Etc.

Horror stories lurk in this scenario, beyond the baseline public outrage of lack of accountability. What we have here, at a mimimum, is another cozy arrangement in which Proctor depends on a steady stream of revenue flowing from the people sent to these facilities to pay the debts of the nonprofit he created and still controls.

Added note: Judge Proctor has refused -- has not even responded, actually -- to our FOI request for records of his probation program, nearly all kept apparently on his personal laptop. There is no exemption in the FOI for circuit court records. But the law has rarely been a consideration by Proctor since this misadventure began.

It is a shame that the state Supreme Court and, this week, Pulaski circuit judges, have taken a let-the-process-run-its-course approach when presented with an opportunity to at least make a statement on Proctor's behavior. More is necessary when a public official with such power over human lives willfully continues on a course of conduct unsanctioned by law or constitution.

ALSO: A case in Pennsylvania is instructive. There, a judge took kickbacks from sending juveniles to private treatment centers. I'm not alleging that Judge Proctor is taking kickbacks. But if his use of unlicensed facilities helps create a money flow for his organization, it's an incentive to send people there. And these are people, like those in Pennsylvania, who can become forgotten people trapped in a double-secret probation program of Proctor's devise from which only he may free them. Scary.

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Potlatch acquires Deltic Timber

    Two major woodlands companies, Potlatch and Deltic Timber, are combining in a stock deal that will leave Potlatch shareholders with 65 percent control of the new company, which will be organized as a real estate investment trust. Potlatch is acquiring Deltic by giving its shareholders 1.8 shares of Potlatch for each Deltic share, making the deal worth about $1.18 billion.
    • Oct 23, 2017
  • The Monday Democrat-Gazette was slimmer this morning

    Did your Monday morning Arkansas Democrat-Gazette include a business section?
    • Oct 23, 2017
  • Might the Weinstein case lead to a safer world for women?

    The exposure of Harvey Weinstein's serial offenses against women is quickly progressing far beyond the story of one man. It has begun to raise the question of whether it might, in time, change the world in treatment of women.
    • Oct 23, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016
  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016

Most Shared

  • 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



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