Young Men Exchanged Sexual Favors For Lighter Sentences With This Arkansas Judge
A former Arkansas judge has reportedly admitted to giving lighter sentences to young men guilty of minor crimes, in exchange for bribes in the form of sexual favors and nude photographs.
A state official is said to have referred to the ordeal as, "one of Arkansas’ worst-ever cases of judicial misconduct."
71-year-old Joseph Boeckman had originally been indicted on 21-counts related to his alleged abuse of power in office, over the course of several years. If convicted, he could have faced a sentence of 260 years in prison, and $2.5 million in fines.
Instead, Boeckman has pled guilty to two counts for wire fraud and witness tampering, as a part of a plea bargain which could land him a reported 2½ to 3 years in prison.
The Associated Press has more:
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker accepted Boeckmann’s guilty plea but warned that she is not obligated to impose the recommended sentence. Federal prosecutors said they would drop 19 other charges after Boeckmann’s sentencing, which will likely occur in 2018. The plea agreement places fines in the range of $10,000 to $100,000.
Boeckmann spoke only briefly during Thursday’s hearing. “Yes, ma’am,” he said after a series of four questions on whether he understood the deal and agreed to be bound by it. He told the judge later that he was pleading guilty because he was guilty.
He and lawyer Jeff Rosenzweig declined comment outside court. Baker said Boeckmann could remain free pending sentencing, though he still must stay away from Wynne, where he held court in eastern Arkansas until last year.
The 71-year-old’s raised right hand shook as he swore to answer questions truthfully. He carried a cane, though he didn’t always use it.
As a district court judge in Cross County, 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Little Rock, Boeckmann mainly handled lower-level offenses such as traffic tickets and misdemeanors from 2008 to last year. Dozens of men who had passed through his court accused the judge of misconduct dating to his time as a prosecutor decades ago. Some said they posed nude in exchange for money to pay their fines.
David Sachar, head of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, said of the case:
“Joseph Boeckmann has finally had his day of reckoning. He always said the truth would come out.
“Any victory over public corruption belongs to the people.”