A retired Arkansas circuit court judge has accepted a reprimand and agreed to be permanently ineligible to serve in the judiciary.
The Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission released the decision Friday in the case of Philip Smith, who once served in the 3rd Judicial District in northeastern Arkansas. The district covers four counties: Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph and Sharp.
“The Investigation Panel found and you agree that you made improper use of court premises, equipment or other resources to engage in extrajudicial activities that did not concern the law, legal system or the administration of justice,” according to a letter from the Commission to Smith dated Friday.
During divorce litigation with the Randolph County Circuit Court, Smith said under oath that he improperly used court computer equipment after regular work hours at the office, according to a Commission document.
Smith retired from his position as circuit court judge on Dec. 31, 2017, two days after the Commission’s executive director, David J. Sachar, filed a complaint because of information obtained from various sources. The panel determined that Smith committed his infractions during his time in office, according to the letter.
Sachar said he could not release the contents of the complaint because it is a confidential process.
According to the letter, the effect of the agreement “is the same as ‘removal’ from office.” Smith is unable to perform any temporary assignments or appointments as a judge, according to the Commission.