LITTLE ROCK —The Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday suspended an Arkansas judge who faces criminal charges over alleged nonpayment of taxes.
In a one-page order filed late Monday afternoon, the state’s highest court said it was suspending Saline County Circuit Judge Bobby McCallister with pay until his pending criminal charges are resolved. The suspension was requested last week by the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.
Patrick Benca, a lawyer for McCallister, filed a response to the commission’s petition Monday morning. Benca wrote that McCallister “agrees to the temporary suspension with pay until the matter in Saline County Circuit Court is resolved.”
McCallister surrendered Thursday to state police and was booked into the Saline County jail on a warrant for four felony counts of failing to pay taxes or file tax returns. He was then released.
The commission also is pursuing disciplinary action against McCallister for alleged violations of the state judicial rules of conduct.
McCallister has been on the bench since 2009. His annual salary is $160,000.
The judge’s alleged failure to pay taxes came to light through testimony in divorce proceedings. He testified that he began failing to file returns in 1995, when he did not have enough money to pay his taxes and “basically panicked.”
McCallister testified that he did not have an explanation “that makes any sense” for why he continued failing to file returns in most years after he began earning a six-figure salary as a judge.