Saline County Circuit Judge Bobby McCallister reached an agreement with the state's judicial watchdog on Friday to resign his office next month as he faces charges of failing to pay his taxes.
McCallister's agreement to leave office was unanimously accepted by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on Friday.
His resignation goes into effect Dec. 15. Afterward, he will be ineligible to hold judicial office.
In July, McCallister was charged with four counts of felony failure to pay or file his tax returns. The state charges came within hours of the judicial commission accusing McCallister of misconduct for failing to pay taxes for much of the past two decades.
A trial has been set for McCallister's criminal charges next month. On Friday, he was set to have a noncriminal trial before the commission, where he faced a recommendation that he be removed from office.
Instead, commission Director David Sachar read from a statement announcing that a resolution had been reached for McCallister to voluntarily step down. Neither the judge nor his attorneys appeared before the commission.
"Judge McCallister was candid with the JDDC staff concerning the allegations and violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct," Sachar said in his statement.
"Both attorneys have been professional and helpful throughout this process," Sachar said. "This agreement saves months of time, hours of work and the cost of litigation."
McCallister's attorney, Patrick Benca, had no comment, a person at his law offices said Friday.
The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered McCallister to be suspended with pay shortly after he surrendered to state police in July. His suspension will continue with pay until his resignation becomes effective.
As a judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit, McCallister earned an annual salary of $160,000 beginning in 2009. However, according to the special prosecutor who filed charges against McCallister, the judge never filed his tax returns in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
In its July petition asking the Supreme Court to suspend McCallister, the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission alleged the judge failed to pay his taxes between 1995 and 2014.
A pair of federal tax liens were filed against his properties in Saline County in 2011 totaling $104,648. He also had a state tax lien filed for $1,414, which was released in 2010. It's unclear whether McCallister has begun paying off any of his tax debts.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson will appoint someone to fill McCallister's spot on the bench. A spokesman for the governor said Friday that he did not have a timetable for when the governor may fill the vacancy. McCallister was first elected judge in 2008 and won re-election in 2014 unopposed.
Each of McCallister's criminal charges carries a possible sentence of up to six years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Metro on 11/18/2017
Print Headline: Judge facing tax charges to step down