Arkansas judge denies allegations of sexual misconduct

AP News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2015 9:25 PM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge denied allegations that he had inappropriate sexual relationships with men who appeared in his court in a written filing to the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.

The commission filed administrative charges against part-time Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann last month accusing him of violating several rules of judicial conduct. Boeckmann's attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, filed a seven-page denial of the allegations Tuesday afternoon.

"Boeckmann denies soliciting any of these litigants for sexual relations. Boeckmann denies calling male litigants on their personal telephone numbers to offer community service," Rosenzweig wrote in the filing.

The panel alleged Boeckmann showed preferential treatment to white men and allowed sentencing not recorded on court dockets, including picking up trash at his home. He's accused of taking inappropriate photographs of some of the men during those punishments.

Boeckmann is accused of issuing harsher sentences to women and minority defendants that came through his courtroom. He's also accused of reducing fines or court fees for some male defendants in exchange for spanking them or for photographing them while naked or while bending over.

The complaint alleges the judge entered into a long-term relationship with at least one man whose case was tried in his court, letting him live in a room in his house, buying him cars and giving him access to a boat. It also alleges he failed to recuse himself and gave special treatment to the sister of a man he dated.

Rosenzweig wrote that any photograph Boeckmann took was intended as evidence that community service had been performed. He said the part-time judge also runs a law practice and any payments that were made are a function of operating in a small town as part of a small legal community.

The commission's executive director, David Sachar, said the commission will schedule a trial date and determine when motions are due in the case.

"There's really not much else I can say at this point, but we have received his response," Sachar said.

Rosenzweig said Wednesday that the filing spoke for itself and declined further comment.

The commission has the power to admonish, reprimand or censure a judge, and can recommend to the Supreme Court that a judge be suspended or removed.

Sachar previously said commission staff had turned part of the 14-month investigation over to a state prosecutor. A special prosecutor was appointed to oversee any possible criminal investigation of Boeckmann, but a gag order in the case prevented the release of further details.