Arkansas Courts

Three men have filed a lawsuit against an Arkansas judge, alleging they were the victims of sexual misconduct or abuse while they were defendants in his court.

Part-time Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann resigned Monday amid an investigation by the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission into allegations he had inappropriate sexual relationships with male defendants dating back to his time as a prosecutor.

Justin Staton
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

An Arkansas teenager has pleaded guilty to charges that he killed the couple who raised him as their grandson.

Justin Staton, who is now 15 years old, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of first-degree murder and other charges related to the 2015 shooting deaths of Robert and Patricia Cogdell.

A Faulkner County judge accepted the change of plea and the agreement for Staton to testify against his co-defendant Hunter Drexler, who has pleaded not guilty in the case.

An Arkansas judge accused of having inappropriate sexual relationships with male defendants has resigned.

David Sachar, the executive director of the state's Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, said Monday that part-time Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann had submitted his letter of resignation.

Boeckmann has agreed to never seek public office again at the state or local level.

File photo: Former Circuit Court Judge Michael Maggio outside of federal court in Little Rock.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A federal judge has ruled that a former Arkansas circuit court judge can remain free pending his appeal of a federal bribery conviction.

The Arkansas Supreme Court says an Arkansas law does not give inmates credit for jail sentences served before their probation is revoked.

The court issued the ruling Thursday after a Pulaski County man argued that a lower court should have granted him 120 days of jail credit. Michael Burgess was sentenced to serve the 120 days and then serve terms of probation.

The lower court denied Burgess credit for the 120 days when he violated probation and was given an additional jail sentence of 36 months.

A lawsuit against Craighead County claims that everyone who has been sentenced in circuit court may have been unlawfully charged an $86 fee.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that the county may owe those defendants the money if a circuit judge agrees with the claim. Attorney Mark Rees argues on behalf of Christopher Miles and all other similarly situated persons that the county collected $236 in court costs from individuals who were issued a judgment.

Arkansas Code sets a $150 cost for misdemeanor or felony violations of state law in circuit court.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit by death row inmates that challenges the state's execution law.

The court issued a brief statement Thursday granting the request for oral argument by the inmates' attorneys. The statement says a date will be set later.

Nine inmates have asked justices to uphold a circuit judge's decision to strike down the portion of the law that blocks state officials from revealing where Arkansas gets its execution drugs.

The FBI is backing away from an Arkansas prosecutor's statement that its agents would help unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple, saying it hasn't examined the devices and isn't sure whether it can help.

The FBI's statement Thursday didn't rule out help in the Arkansas case, but said that without more details, it doesn't know whether its agents can access the devices.

Hunter Drexler
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

The FBI has agreed to help an Arkansas prosecutor unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple.

Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said Wednesday that the FBI agreed to the request from his office.

The trial for 18-year-old Hunter Drexler was delayed Tuesday so prosecutors could ask for help. He's accused in the shooting deaths of Robert and Patricia Cogdell. 

15-year-old Justin Staton also is charged in the shootings. The Conway couple had raised Staton as their grandson. 

A former Arkansas sheriff has pleaded guilty to felony charges of abuse of public trust and theft of property and was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Former Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington pleaded guilty to the circuit court charges Tuesday.

Saline County Circuit Court Judge Gary Arnold ordered that the sentence be served concurrently with a federal prison term of one year and one day that Pennington received late last year after pleading guilty to using money from his campaign account to pay for personal items and expenses.

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