Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio is expected to issue a statement at 4 p.m. today regarding embarrassing internet comments linked to him, according to his campaign consultants.
The internet comments were made on a Louisiana State University message board, TigerDroppings.com, by a user under the name “geauxjudge.”
In one post, “geauxjudge” references a Faulkner County adoption proceeding by Charlize Theron, the actress, that few people knew about. Adoption proceedings are, by law, sealed to protect the adoptive parent(s) family from intrusion by the natural parents, and for other reasons.
The posts were brought to the attention of the state’s Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission (JDDC), and on Monday they were brought to public attention by the online alternative news website bluehogreport.com.
David Sachar, executive director of the JDDC, said on Tuesday that any documents his office produces or uses in the investigation are confidential until the investigation concludes, and that he wasn’t free to comment other than to say that the formal violations involve misuse of confidential information and “off-bench” impropriety or appearance of impropriety.
Blue Hog Report claims that biographical information provided in posts by “geauxjudge” matches Maggio’s education background, and cites other information in "geauxjudge" posts as tending to confirm that Maggio was the author.
It has not been confirmed in any formal or official way that “geauxjudge” is Maggio.
The posts claimed by the Blue Hog Report to have been made by “geauxjudge” are generally misogynistic and mean-spirited, and often reference what may be local cases. They also contain poor grammar and spelling, which may cast doubt on their authenticity.
The post referencing the adoption is quoted by the Blue Hog Report as follows:
“I don’t know if right board but I have a friend who is the judge that did [Theron’s] adoption today. It was a single parent adoption. I offered to be the baby daddy. He said she came dressed with long brown wig, oversized clothes, trying to camoflauge (sic) her appearance. They took pics but can’t be published because closed proceeding.”
In another post reproduced by the Blue Hog Report, “geauxjudge” is claimed to have written, “Men have two needs. Feed me and f*<k (sic) me. Take care of both we will be good. Whichever you don’t then the man will find. Women have need for security. So man take care of that and will be ok. It takes two to pull the wagon.”
Maggio is a candidate for Arkansas Court of Appeals. He has handled family law cases as a Faulkner County Circuit Judge. His term as a local judge expires at the end of the year.
The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission has authority to recommend judges be removed from office upon a finding of “willful violation of the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct or the Model Rules of Professional Conduct” or “conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.” Arkansas Code Annotated § 16-10-410.
Canon 1 of the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct requires judges to “uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, [and] avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.” Canon 3 requires judges to “conduct [their] personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office.”
The Code of Judicial Conduct also contains official commentary to guide its application. Before speaking or writing about social or political issues, the official comment to Rule 3.1 states, “judges should consider the impact of their statements. Comments may suggest that the judge lacks impartiality [or] … may create the impression that a judge has or manifests bias or prejudice toward individuals with contrary social or political views.
“Public comments may require the judge to disqualify himself or herself when litigation involving those issues comes before the judge.”