LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An Arkansas judge at the center of a nearly year long Working 4 You investigation has been disciplined by the state.
The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission (JDDC) announced the sanction against Pope County District Court Judge Don Bourne on Monday.
The JDDC announced that a letter of censure and recommendation of suspension without pay to the Arkansas Supreme Court has been issued to Bourne.
Bourne has been the subject of Working 4 You’s Denied series after KARK uncovered the judge appointed the public defender 48 times between 2012-2020. The appointed cases are sharply different to 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 cases to be over with, and the[y] do not ask for an attorney,” he wrote at the time.
Bourne said that if a public defender is requested, he always tries to make the right decision based on the information submitted.
Security camera footage obtained through the state’s public record law captured Bourne telling a man in his court that a migraine wouldn’t be the only place hurting him when he gets to prison.
The judge was also heard talking about how often the governor is on television.
Bourne has been on the bench for the last two decades.
In the days after the camera footage was obtained, there were calls on the Arkansas Supreme Court to suspend Bourne will JDDC investigated, however, the state’s highest court did not get involved.