LITTLE ROCK —A warrant was issued Tuesday for the arrest of a Saline County circuit judge accused of failing to pay taxes.
The warrant states that Judge Bobby McCallister faces four counts of failing to pay taxes of file tax returns. The offenses allegedly occurred in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Earlier Tuesday, the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission said in a news release it was pursuing disciplinary action against McCallister, alleging that he violated rules that require Arkansas judges to comply with the law, promote confidence in the judiciary and avoid activities that undermine their integrity.
McCallister, who has been on the bench since 2009, will have 30 days to respond to the commission’s charges and will be entitled to a hearing before the commission, the panel said in the release.
McCallister did not immediately return a call to his office Tuesday seeking comment. An employee who answered the phone at the office of Patrick Benca, a lawyer for McCallister, said Benca did not wish to comment.
McCallister’s alleged failure to pay taxes came to light in divorce proceedings. Testimony in divorce hearings revealed that in 1995 McCallister failed to file a tax return for him and his wife, without her knowledge, and that this conduct continued. McCallister allegedly failed to file a return in all but four of the last 22 years, the commission said.
McCallister’s wife eventually learned that her husband was not paying their taxes and began filing separate returns, according to the release.
The judge testified that the first time he failed to file a return it was because he knew he did not have enough money to pay the taxes and he “basically panicked.” When asked if he had a reason for not filing in later years, when withholding from his judicial salary might have covered his taxes, he answered, “Not one that makes any sense at all.”
“Failure to pay taxes, including the very taxes that support Judge McCallister’s $160,000 salary, is an insult to the integrity of the judiciary and brings the judiciary as a whole into disrepute,” the commission said in the release.
The panel also said it had referred the matter to state and federal prosecutors.