A former Arkansas circuit judge has pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe from a nursing home owner to reduce a nursing home negligence jury verdict, from $5.2 million to $1 million. The businessman who owned the nursing home had financed several political action committees that donated to the judge’s election campaign for a position on the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
Within days of accepting the PAC contributions to his election campaign, the judge reduced the nursing home negligence verdict. The 53-year-old judge pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting the bribe in exchange for reducing the jury’s verdict (the plea agreement acknowledged that the judge had accepted the campaign contributions “in return for being influenced to and induced to remit a $5.2 million judgment in a civil case to $1 million”). The judge also admitted that after the contribution to his election campaign by the nursing home owner was discovered and disclosed by the local media, he attempted to delete text messages between the campaign fundraiser and himself.
The judge’s sentencing hearing had not yet been scheduled but he faces a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a fine in the amount of $250,000.
The judge’s wrongdoings came to light in March 2014 when it was revealed that he was the anonymous poster in an online forum regarding sex acts, bestiality, divorce, and the release of confidential information regarding actress Charlize Theron’s adoption case. The campaign contributions controversy came to light shortly thereafter. As a result, the judge withdrew from the race for a position on the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
The Arkansas Supreme Court relieved the judge of his caseload after the judge apologized for his online postings. The judge has been judicially disciplined: in August 2014, he accepted his suspension from office with pay and was barred from holding a future judicial position after his term expired at the end of 2014. The Arkansas Supreme Court removed him from office in September 2014.
The odds are already stacked against nursing home residents and their loving families who are harmed by nursing home negligence or nursing home abuse as they attempt to seek justice and receive compensation for avoidable nursing home injuries, that may include the residents’ unnecessary deaths: many nursing homes are notorious for their failures to provide adequate and timely care to meet their residents’ needs, often due to inadequate staffing levels or inadequately trained and supervised staff; their failures to honestly and fully document and report the harms suffered by residents; and, their failures to identify, address, and avoid the causes and contributing factors leading to injuries.
Adding to the uphill battle for nursing home residents harmed by nursing home negligence is the physical and financial vulnerability of most nursing home residents, the lack of someone outside of the nursing home to carefully monitor their care and speak up for them when they are being neglected or abused, and their inability to express or recall how they were needlessly injured in the nursing home.
The last thing that injured nursing home residents need is a dishonest judge acting as the gatekeeper to receiving justice and fairness in their efforts to obtain compensation for their devastating and life-altering injuries, losses, and damages due to nursing home negligence or abuse.
If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) while a resident in a nursing home in Arkansas or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of an Arkansas nursing home claim lawyer or a nursing home claim lawyer in your state who may investigate your nursing home negligence, nursing home neglect, and/or nursing home abuse claim for you and represent you in a case against a nursing home, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find nursing home claim lawyers in your state who may assist you.
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