LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An Arkansas judge who disclosed confidential details about an adoption involving actress Charlize Theron has agreed to a lifetime ban from the state bench.
If the state Supreme Court approves the settlement, Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio will be suspended with pay for the remainder of 2014 and then leave office. The move stems from a series of actions by Maggio, who also was accused of making off-colour remarks in an online forum.
The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission alleged that Maggio, using the pseudonym “geauxjudge,” entered an online forum of Louisiana State University sports fans and shared details from Theron’s 2012 adoption of a baby in the same court division where he served. In Louisiana, “Geaux” is a common spelling for “Go,” based on the French pronunciation of those letters.
“Did she get herself a black baby?” another person in the forum asked.
“Yep,” geauxjudge replied.
Theron’s publicists did not reply to emails seeking comment after the settlement was released Wednesday. The actress, who recently appeared in A Million Ways To Die In The West, told MailOnline in a story published in May that Maggio had several details wrong.
“This stuff happens and you try not to let it get to you. That’s on him. It reflects on him,” she said then.
In return for his stepping aside, the state disciplinary commission dropped its look at an ethics complaint that ended with Maggio paying a $750 fine to settle allegations he received improper campaign contributions.
The commission also alleged that in a 2009 post about divorce, Maggio said he was tired of hearing complaints that husbands work all the time while a wife withholds sex and becomes unattractive and non-supportive. “What did she think was going to happen….,” he wrote.
In 2012 he suggested that people can beat a drunken-driving charge by not co-operating with police, and also expressed a desire to obtain evidence photos from a case involving a cheerleader accused of sex with a minor.
The state disciplinary panel opened an investigation March 3 after the Blue Hog Report website noted a series of posts appeared to be coming from Maggio. Maggio subsequently tried to delete or edit some of the material.
The panel said information from various posts linked “geauxjudge” to Maggio: He’s an Arkansas judge who attended Millsaps College and the University of Mississippi, and has a daughter who played golf for LSU and Texas A&M University.
“Your statements online were not anonymous,” the panel said.
The disciplinary panel dropped its look at Maggio campaign contributions traced to a nursing home owner with a case pending in the judge’s court.
Maggio, in a statement Wednesday, thanked Conway-area voters.
“I ask that you do not define me by the sanction levied today, but instead look at my record of presiding over one of the busiest dockets in the state,” wrote Maggio, who had been a circuit judge 13 years.
© The Associated Press, 2014