Former judge Boeckmann indicted on federal charges | Arkansas Blog

Monday, October 17, 2016

Former judge Boeckmann indicted on federal charges

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 1:11 PM

click to enlarge JOSEPH BOECKMANN: In Pulaski Jail mug shot.
  • JOSEPH BOECKMANN: In Pulaski Jail mug shot.
Former District Judge Joseph Boeckmann of Wynne, who stepped down from the bench in May amid a judicial conduct investigation that he traded light sentences for sexual favors from defendants, has been indicted on federal charges.

A 21-count indictment filed Oct. 5 was unsealed today. It accuses Boeckmann of wire fraud, bribery, violation of the federal travel act and witness tampering.


Boeckmann, 70, quit the bench and agreed never to seek office again as the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission was investigating allegations that he gave favorable treatment to young men defendants in court in return for sexual improprieties, particularly posing for suggestive photographs, sometimes nude and after paddling. He wrote checks to lawyers for the young men, had images on his computer and was accused of a variety of other misdealings in using his court for illicit purposes. Boeckmann presided over misdemeanor and traffic  cases.

Information developed in that investigation was shared with federal authorities, who  continued to investigate.

The indictment is based on Grand Jury testimony from nine unnamed people who'd appeared in Boeckmann's Cross County court on minor charges.

The eight wire fraud counts say taxpayers were deprived of fines and fees that otherwise might have been assessed in Boeckmann's court on on account of his scheme to use his position to obtain "personal services, sexual contact and the opportunity to view and to photographi in compromising positions persons who appeared before him traffic and misdemeanor criminal cases in exchange for dismissing the cases." Typically, the indictment said, he'd wait until court had concluded and asked to meet with defendants alone. Then he'd provide his personal telephone number to work out terms of "community service." He'd have them pick up litter and photograph them bending over to pick up cans. He also variously offered consideration to people for being photographed naked, masturbating or after paddling. The judge altered dockets to show erroneously that sentences were discharged for community service. Boeckmann used the telephone or text messages to carry out the scheme.

Federal program bribery was charged because the state of Arkansas received federal assistance for operation of the justice system.

Ten charges of violation of the federal travel act pertain to telephone calls made or, in two cases, actions Boeckmann took to entice someone to travel from Tennessee to Arkansas.

The two witness tampering charges alleges that, between October and November of last year, Boeckmann attempted or used another person to attempt to intimidate, threaten or otherwise corruptly persuade a witness not to testify before the Grand Jury.

Boeckmann is in custody at the Pulaski County Jail pending a bond hearing at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

David Koon wrote a cover story about the case in June. Boeckmann's name surfaced again in a recent violent death in Wynne, though as yet no authority has made a direct connection in the cases.

The FBI investigated the case with assistance of the  State Police and the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Trial Attorneys Jonathan Kravis and Peter Halpern of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Special Prosecutor Jack McQuary of the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney’s Association are prosecuting the case.

Emily White, whose investigation for Judicial Discipline blew the case open, issued a statement:

Today is a good day for the people of Arkansas. Accountability does extend to judges. Mr. Boeckmann could not escape criminal liability just by resigning his office as a judge. The overwhelming majority of judges in this state are honest, fair and hardworking people. We have said that before, however, Mr. Boeckmann was an exception to that norm. Today, I am delighted for the victims and witnesses who came forward and spoke the truth about Joseph Boeckmann to both the JDDC and other agencies. Their bravery shone a light into the darkness that surrounded Mr. Boeckmann and his many victims. Judges should at all times remain neutral and detached and fair and impartial in their dealings with citizens. They are generally the last persons we expect to prey on members of society. I trust that the criminal conduct we uncovered through our ethical investigation will be fully handled by the agencies responsible for overseeing those areas of the law.

Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Ex-Hog Darrell Walker spotlighted for collection of work by black artists

    Former Razorback basketball player Darrell Walker and his art collection get a mention in today's New York Times in an article about the rising profiles and prices of black artists.
    • Nov 29, 2015
  • A response to police arrests becomes a tutorial on race, class and policing in Little Rock

    John Walker, the 79-year-old civil rights lawyer, and his associate, Omavi Shukur, 29, a young lawyer devoted to criminal justice reform, talked to press this afternoon about their arrests Monday by Little Rock police for supposedly obstructing governmental operations in observing and attempting to film a routine police traffic stop. It was a tutorial on sharp views of race, class and governance in Little Rock.
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Federal judge wants John Goodson to explain class action maneuvering

    A show-cause order filed Monday by federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith indicates class action attorney John Goodson has some explaining to do about the move of a class action complaint against an insurance company from federal to state court with an instant pre-packaged settlement that has been criticized as a windfall for Goodson.
    • Dec 22, 2015

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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