On Thursday the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office received a formal request from Mike Maggio to remove his name from the ballot.
Maggio, a Faulkner County Circuit Judge, announced his intention to drop out of the Arkansas Court of Appeals race on Wednesday. At around 8 p.m. Wednesday, Maggio’s former campaign consultancy firm was emailing media outlets, including the Log Cabin Democrat, a statement from Maggio detailing his intention to withdraw from the race.
The consultancy firm, Impact Management Group, dropped Maggio as a client on Tuesday afternoon after Maggio released a statement saying only that he wasn’t aware of any formal complaint against him and that he couldn’t comment on a complaint even if he had.
Clint Reed of Impact Management Group said that he was sending Maggio’s statement of his intention to withdraw from the race to the media as a courtesy, and again stated that he was no longer representing Maggio.
Arkansas Secretary of State spokesman Alex Reed said 5 p.m. on Thursday was the deadline for Maggio to provide the Secretary of State’s office with a signed, sworn and notarized request to remove his name.
Maggio’s prospects for the Arkansas Court of Appeals race were spoiled on Monday when an online alternative news website, www.bluehogreport.com, linked the judge with generally mean-spirited and misogynistic posts on a LSU sports fan message board by a user under the pseudonym "geauxjudge," who also disclosed that the actress Charlize Theron had adopted a child in a closed Faulkner County proceeding.
Maggio admitted to being the author of the "geauxjudge" posts in his statement released on Wednesday and apologized for "my lapse in personal judgment."
The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission has been investigating Maggio’s online activity for potential violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Maggio would not necessarily have been notified of the investigation until its conclusion. David Sachar, executive director of the commission, said that he couldn’t comment on ongoing investigations, and so couldn’t say when the commission was made aware of the "geauxjudge" activity. Sachar did say that the investigation involves misuse of confidential information and "off-bench" impropriety or the appearance of impropriety."
A judge is given 21 days to respond to a formal notification of the grounds for possible breaches of the Code of Judicial Conduct. After a review of the judge’s response and the evidence, the commission may dismiss the complaint or issue a written admonishment of the judge’s activity. For more serious violations, a public formal disciplinary hearing may be held, with the most severe disciplinary actions being a recommendation from the commission to the Arkansas Supreme Court to suspend or remove the judge.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)