Arkansas Judiciary Commission Imposes Sanctions on Pope Co. Judge at Center of Working4You Investigation

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An Arkansas judge at the center of a nearly year-long investigation into Working 4 You has been sanctioned by the state.

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission (JDDC) on Monday announced the sanction against Pope County District Court Judge Don Bourne.

The JDDC announced that a letter of censure and recommendation for suspension without pay to the Arkansas Supreme Court has been issued to Bourne.

Bourne was the subject of the Working 4 You’s Denied series after KARK discovered the judge appointed the public defender 48 times between 2012 and 2020. The cases named are significantly different from other counties with a similar population.

Bourne said last year that about 95% of people who go to district court plead guilty.

“They want their business settled, and the[y] don’t ask for a lawyer,” he wrote at the time.

Bourne said if a public defender is called upon, he always tries to make the right decision based on the information submitted.

Security camera footage obtained through the state’s Public Records Act captured Bourne telling a man in his court that a migraine wouldn’t be the only place hurting him when he arrived in jail.

The judge was also heard talking about how often the governor is on television.

Bourne has been on the bench for two decades.

In the days after the camera footage was obtained, appeals were made to the Arkansas Supreme Court to suspend Bourne’s investigation into JDDC, but the state’s highest court did not agree. is not involved.

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