The Arkansas Supreme Court has ordered immediate removal of Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio from the bench, rejecting a part of a settlement agreement by the judge that he be suspended with pay until the end of 2014.
“We deem any further suspension with pay to be inappropriate,” the high court said, according to the Associated Press. The judge was disciplined over his disclosing confidential details about an adoption involving actress Charlize Theron and making off-color remarks in an online forum (see Gavel Grab).
The justices accepted part of the settlement reached by Judge Maggio and the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission that dealt with an Ethics Commission complaint contending he got improper campaign donations. Under that portion of the settlement, the JDDC would look no further at the complaint, which was concluded when Judge Maggio paid a $750 fine.
According to ArkansasNews.com, “On July 11, Maggio reduced a jury award against a nursing home from $5.2 million to $1 million — three days after the home’s owner, Michael Morton of Fort Smith, donated thousands of dollars to a political action committee supporting Maggio. The Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission began investigating that incident, but [JDDC Executive Director David] Sachar said last month the panel dropped the investigation after it found enough evidence of other wrongdoing to justify Maggio’s removal.”