White-Collar Crime

Judge who reduced verdict from $5M to $1M, expecting campaign gift, gets 10 years in bribe case

Michael Maggio

Michael Maggio. Image from Arkansas Judiciary.

A former Arkansas judge was sentenced Thursday to a maximum 10-year prison term for admittedly reducing a jury verdict in the expectation of a contribution to his planned campaign for a state appeals court seat.

Michael Maggio, now 54, lost his seat on the Faulkner County Circuit Court bench after the reason for his reduction of a $5.2 million nursing home verdict to $1 million came to light. However, at least for now, he has not been ordered by U.S. District Judge Brian Miller to pay the $4.2 million in restitution that federal prosecutors sought, according to the Arkansas Blog of the Arkansas Times and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Miller said he wanted the sentence in the Little Rock case to reflect the harm Maggio had done.

“What’s worse: a drug dealer on the corner or a dirty judge?” the judge said Thursday. “A dirty judge is far more harmful to society than a dope dealer.”

Maggio opted not to speak in court. His lawyer, James Hensley, told reporters that Maggio plans to appeal.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-judge gives up law license after taking plea in federal bribery case over jury verdict”

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