FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Washington County Circuit Judge Doug Martin has been censured for harassing statements made during his May election campaign.
The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on Friday (Nov. 21) issued a letter of censure to to Martin, saying he was “alleged to have committed violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct” during his campaign. Martin defeated Fayetteville attorney Brian Lester in the May 20 election.
Martin will not be suspended or removed from the bench but must attend a stress management course based on harassing emails and other statements during the campaign, the letter states.
The censure addresses his conduct during the election campaign, not his professional conduct on the bench.
Martin said Friday the commission does not allow him to comment on the issue. Lester also told 5NEWS he would not comment on the matter.
One of the violations listed in the letter asserts that Martin during the campaign “made statements that were improperly prejudicial and harassing against his opponent and his opponent’s supporters.” The letter also states that Martin, via email and social media, “inappropriately chastised [his opponents] for their opposition to his candidacy.”
The censure letter does not give examples of the statements or name any of the people who were targeted.
The letter states a censure is “a declaration that a judge is guilty of misconduct that does not require suspension or removal.”
Martin must “refrain from engaging in conduct” similar to his actions during the campaign, according to the letter. He must also attend a stress management course at The National Judicial College within 18 months of Nov. 21 and provide proof to the commission of its completion, the letter states.
To read the full letter of censure, click here.
In the May election, Martin won the open Division I Circuit Court seat in Washington and Madison counties. After being sworn in in January, he will replace Circuit Judge William Storey, who was elected Fayetteville District judge in May.
Martin is the Circuit judge in Division II, having been appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe to fill a vacancy. However, Circuit judges cannot seek election to an appointed post.
Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Threet was elected in May to the Division II seat.