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Disgraced Arkansas judge stripped of license for online leak, federal bribery

In order to avoid a disciplinary hearing, Arkansas judge, Michael Maggio, has voluntarily surrendered his law license.

In an unrelated case, the now ex-judge was also recently convicted in a federal bribery case.
Maggio was the judge involved in Charlize Theron’s private adoption case. Following her court proceedings, Maggio went online and posted private details.

He was removed from the Faulkner County Circuit Court in September after admitting he used a pseudonym to post details about the Hollywood star’s adoption of her child. That order prevented Maggio from holding any future judicial office in Arkansas.

The former circuit court judge filed a request in March with the Supreme Court in Arkansas to voluntarily surrender his law license. This came two months after he pleaded guilty to federal briary charges.

His request was accepted last week. The high court has ordered his name be removed from the Arkansas registry of licensed attorneys. He has been barred from practicing law in the state.
The court order noted Maggio, “wishes to avoid the expense, stress and publicity of further addressing his conviction.”

Maggio will be sentenced in July for federal bribery charges. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors in the case said Maggio accepted campaign donations from Michael Morton, a nursing home owner and lobbyist Gilbert Baker, in exchange for reducing a jury award in a negligence case that resulted in the death of a nursing home patient.

As preceding judge for that case, Maggio reduced the jury award from $5.2 million to $1 million. A lawsuit was filed against Maggio, protesting the reduction of the award. Last month, a civil court judge dismissed Maggio from the civil case saying since he was acting in his official capacity as a judge, he had judicial immunity. The other two defendants in that case, Morton and Baker, were not dismissed.

Records showed that Morton contributed money to Maggio’s campaign for Arkansas Court of Appeals.


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