Judge accused of soliciting sex in exchange for sentence reductions

A Cross County judge is accused of soliciting sex from offenders in his court in exchange for sentence reductions, the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission said.

District Court Judge Joseph Boeckmann will have 30 days to respond to charges filed by the commission, which were released Tuesday. He is also entitled to a hearing in front of the commission to determine whether he violated rules of judicial conduct.

The commission could "admonish, reprimand or censure" the judge, David Sachar, executive director of the commission, said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

He added that the commission does not have the authority to suspend Boeckmann, adding that "it is not out of the realm of possibility" that the commission would go through the Arkansas Supreme Court to seek removal of the judge from the bench.

Boeckmann, a district judge since 2009, used his role as judge to seek "out young Caucasian male litigants," for the purpose of sexual relationships, the commission stated in its allegations.

"My staff has gone through thousands of pages of documents, court records, checks, and that will be part of the case," Sachar said, adding "there are still some determinations to be made."

The report says Boeckmann at times told offenders to perform "substituionary sentences" and asked them to "contact him to present their 'trash pick up' requirements at either his office or his home."

When litigants arrived to complete the required trash pickup, Boeckmann would take pictures of their buttocks as they bent over to work, the commission alleges.

"Upon the litigant presenting himself to Boeckmann's home or office, he then solicited sexual relations with these young men in exchange for reductions of or dismissals of their court fines and costs," Emily White, deputy executive director of the commission, wrote in the allegations report.

The commission also says in its allegations that Boeckmann's personal computers will be searched to follow up on witness reports that they contained child pornography.

The Arkansas Department of Human Service's Division of Aging and Adult Services turned the investigation over to the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, Sachar said.

He said the Cyber Crimes Unit within the Arkansas attorney general's office also provided assistance in the investigation.

Boeckmann didn't immediately return a message left at his office Tuesday afternoon.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.