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United States v. Maggio

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 3, 2017

United States of America Plaintiff- Appellee
v.
Michael A. Maggio Defendant-Appellant

          Submitted: March 8, 2017

         Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock

          Before RILEY, [1] Chief Judge, GRUENDER, Circuit Judge, and GRITZNER, [2] District Judge.

          RILEY, Chief Judge.

          In this case, we affirm the bribery conviction and ten-year prison sentence the district court[3] ordered for a former state-court judge who admitted trading a remittitur in a case for a campaign contribution and then had second thoughts about his guilty plea.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In late spring 2013, Michael Maggio was a circuit (trial) judge in Arkansas, starting to campaign for a seat on the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Through a lobbyist, Maggio solicited "'nursing home folks'"-stockholders, not residents-for financial support. Meanwhile, Maggio was presiding over a case in which the jury had just returned a $5.2 million verdict against a nursing-home company. On the day Maggio heard argument on the company's motion to remit the judgment, the owner of the company wrote checks totaling $24, 000 to support Maggio's campaign. Maggio, who had been told by the lobbyist that the company's owner would give money if Maggio ruled in his company's favor, accepted the contributions and, in exchange, reduced the award to $1 million.

         Based on these admitted facts, Maggio pled guilty to violating 18 U.S.C. § 666, which says:

(a) Whoever, if the circumstance described in subsection (b) of this section exists-
(1) being an agent of an organization, or of a State, local, or Indian tribal government, or any agency thereof-
(A) [illegally takes $5, 000 or more worth of official property]; or
(B) corruptly solicits or demands for the benefit of any person, or accepts or agrees to accept, anything of value from any person, intending to be influenced or rewarded in connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions of such organization, government, or agency involving any thing of value of $5, 000 or more; or
(2) [gives, offers, or agrees to give a bribe]; shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
(b) The circumstance referred to in subsection (a) of this section is that the organization, government, or agency receives, in any one year period, benefits in excess of $10, 000 under a Federal program involving a grant, contract, subsidy, loan, ...

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