Welcome to Big Time Small-Time Dicks, a regular column on The Slot that explores local politicians, small-town scandals, and everything else making life miserable on a local level. Know a small time person who is a big time dick we should feature? Email us.
Part-time Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann, who is possibly the biggest, most hideous dick to be featured in this series, resigned on Monday following mounting allegations that he had been using his position to extort sexual favors out of financially vulnerable defendants for a period potentially spanning three decades, multiple outlets report.
According to the Associated Press, allegations surfaced in November that Boeckmann had been engaging in inappropriate sexual relationships with male defendants, included paddling and photographing them, in exchange for lighter sentences. Somehow, that was reportedly not enough to get him off the bench; Boeckmann initially denied the allegations, and only resigned after a Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission investigation presented him with further evidence including a case in which a man was taken to a courtroom and photographed nude in handcuffs.
The JDDC reportedly uncovered thousands of similar photographs, as well as hundreds of checks from Boeckmann’s personal and professional accounts paying attorney fees and court fines for defendants. He also, as if this is not already enough of a nightmare, allegedly gave preferential treatment to white men. The AP reports that the commission planned to file a subpoena to obtain the paddle Boeckmann allegedly used on defendants, which was seen in many of the nearly 4,500 photographs.
According to NBC News, the judge often had defendants serve what he called “community service” at his home. One defendant, whose misdemeanor traffic violation was reduced, was instructed to bring several bags of cans over and instructed to “pull 2 cans from the bags and bend over as if he were picking up the cans.”
Fox 16 News, which began looking into rumors surrounding the judge in August 2015, reports that an ongoing federal investigation is underway, as well as a state criminal investigation. In his resignation letter—which neither denied nor confirmed the charges—Boeckmann promised that he would never again seek a job as a local, county, or state employee. He has not yet been charged with a crime.
“He’s a criminal predator who used his judicial power to feed his corrupt desires,” David Shahar, executive director of the JDDC, told the AP. “Every minute he served as a judge was an insult to the Arkansas Judiciary.”
Image via screenshot/Fox 16 News. Big Time Small-Time Dicks logo by staff male Bobby Finger.