Oral arguments for Maggio appeal set for March 8 | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 3, 2017

Oral arguments for Maggio appeal set for March 8

Posted By on Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 1:09 PM

click to enlarge DISGRACED: Maggio, facing 10-year sentence, has appeal date set - BRIAN CHILSON
  • BRIAN CHILSON
  • DISGRACED: Maggio, facing 10-year sentence, has appeal date set
Oral arguments in front of a three-judge panel at the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals are set for March 8 in the federal bribery case of former Circuit Court Judge Mike Maggio.

Maggio pleaded guilty in early 2015 to federal bribery charges, admitting to taking a bribe to reduce a verdict in a nursing home negligence case. When the feds said that Maggio wasn't cooperating with their investigation after his plea bargain, they made a high sentencing recommendation. Apparently in response, Maggio attempted to withdraw his guilty plea. But U.S. District Judge Brian Miller rejected his request and in March, sentenced him to 10 years in prison, the maximum.  Miller had harsh words at sentencing: "I put drug dealers in prison for five, ten, twenty years for standing on a corner selling crack cocaine. What's worse: A drug dealer on the corner or a dirty judge? A dirty judge is far more harmful to society than a dope dealer."

Maggio has remained free pending appeal. The appeal will be heard before Judge William Jay Riley, Judge Raymond W. Gruender and Judge James E. Gritzner.

In 2013, Maggio reduced the amount that a jury had awarded the family of Martha Bull from $5.2 million to $1 million. The 76-year-old Bull died in agony after a nursing home owned by Michael Morton, a campaign donor to Maggio, failed to follow instructions to hospitalize her. Morton has not been criminally charged and says he did nothing wrong. A civil case is ongoing alleging that Morton and former state senator Gilbert Baker colluded with Maggio to reduce the judgment.

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