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Former judge charged with dismissing cases and tampering with witnesses

Photo Credit: Dept. of Justice Photo Credit: Dept. of Justice
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDAM) -

This is a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

A former Arkansas State Judge was charged in an indictment unsealed for perpetrating a fraud and bribery scheme in which he dismissed cases on his docket in exchange for personal benefits, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

O. Joseph Boeckmann, 70, of Wynne, Arkansas, was charged with eight counts of wire fraud and honest services wire fraud, 11 counts related to bribery and two counts of witness tampering in an indictment filed on Oct. 4, 2016, in the Eastern District of Arkansas.  Boeckmann was arrested today and made his initial appearance this afternoon.

As alleged in the indictment, from 2010 to 2015, Boeckmann served as a district judge for the First Judicial District of Arkansas.  In his capacity as a district judge, Boeckmann dismissed traffic citations and misdemeanor criminal charges for young men in exchange for acts that he claimed were “community service,” but which actually benefited Boeckmann himself.  The indictment alleges that on some occasions, Boeckmann used his access to these individuals during their purported “community service” in order to take photographs of the men in compromising positions.  On other occasions, he allegedly dismissed cases in exchange for photographing the men while they were naked, among other things. 

The charges and allegations contained in an indictment are merely accusations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The FBI investigated this case with assistance of the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.  Trial Attorneys Jonathan Kravis and Peter Halpern of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Special Prosecutor Jack McQuary of the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney’s Association are prosecuting the case.

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