Judge orders Maggio to report to prison Wednesday; lawyer asks for stay | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 17, 2017

Judge orders Maggio to report to prison Wednesday; lawyer asks for stay

Posted By on Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 7:47 PM

click to enlarge MIKE MAGGIO: Ordered to report to prison. - BRIAN CHILSON/ FILE PHOTO
  • BRIAN CHILSON/ File photo
  • MIKE MAGGIO: Ordered to report to prison.
Federal Judge Brian Miller today ordered former Circuit Judge Mike Maggio to report to the U.S. marshal to begin serving his 10-year sentence on a bribery conviction

Maggio's attorney, John W. Hall Jr., has asked for a stay of that order and the U.S. attorney has opposed that motion.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently refused to let Maggio withdraw a guilty plea to a charge that he reduced a $5.2 million jury verdict in a Faulkner County nursing home negligence case in 2013 to $1 million in return for contributions to his planned race for state Court of Appeals. No one else has been charged and others implicated have said they have done no wrong. They are Michael Morton of Fort Smith, who owned the nursing home that benefitted from the reduction and former Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker, who arranged multiple contributions by Morton to PACs for Maggio and other judicial candidates. Maggio agreed to a plea bargain, but lied to the U.S. attorney and otherwise was held uncooperative. He waived an appeal in entering the original agreement and the government asked for a received a stiffer sentence for Maggio as a result.

Miller issued a brief order today that said, in light of the 8th Circuit decision, that Maggio should surrender to the U.S. marshal in Little Rock no later than 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Hall's request for a stay notes that he is preparing a petition for a rehearing before the 8th Circuit. And he says he has a trial scheduled in state court this week that demands his time as well. He said recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings might gave some life to Maggio's argument that he didn't waive the ability to challenge the constitutionality of the act under which he was convicted. There's also conflicting law, he said, on what constitutes an "official act" to sustain a bribery conviction. It's an issue Maggio might like to make to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Said Hall:

Defendant’s certiorari petition [to the U.S. Supreme Court] would be due at the earliest October 1, 2017, but later after rehearing is acted on.

The court has the discretion to order continue of release as it did after the guilty plea.See 18 U.S.C § 3143. A petition for certiorari would be acted on byDecember 1st.

But, we don’t go that far, but we at least request the court to wait just onemore week to July 26th until the petition for rehearing is filed on July 24th so the court can consider our arguments in the Court of Appeals.

Defendant has complied with all conditions of release, and, counsel is informed,that the U.S. Probation Officer supervising defendant has had no issueswith him at all
The U.S. attorney responded that a close question of law is necessary for release during appeal. The 8th Circuit gave that latitude the initial appeal. But in affirming his conviction, the U.S. attorney noted, the appeals court had answered "soundly in the affirmative" that the conviction was proper. It said the appeals court has already rejected the arguments Hall says he wants to make in the rehearing request. Said the office:

The statutory language of the Bail Reform Act favors detention for defendants who have been convicted and sentenced. The Eighth Circuit has made very clear that release pending appeal under § 3143(b) is a very limited exception to detention, and the Eighth Circuit has already found Maggio’s arguments to be without merit. 

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