Judge resigned to avoid ethical charges following investigation by Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission
POCAHONTAS, Ark. – Randolph County District Court Judge John Throesch was removed from office and will never again be a judge after this week.
Facing the potential of ethical charges or a trial, Throesch resigned from his judicial office after coming under investigation from the Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission (JDDC), a statement from the commission said on Friday. JDDC is an investigatory agency with investigative panels. They ask questions, authorized subpoenas, and function much like a grand jury, their executive director told NEA Report.
The resignation has the legal effect of “removal from office” according to the letter from the commission. Throesch will be permanently disqualified from holding further judicial office, the letter goes on to state.
The letter of resignation states the following as the factual basis for sanction:
In 2018, Throesch communicated via Facebook Messenger and phone with a female district court defendant (DEF A). During the conversation, DEF A said she had charges pending in Throesch’s court. Despite that, Throesch did not immediately recuse. Only after DEF A’s case was called and she entered a plea to the case did he recuse – On July 11, 2018. But he didn’t stop communicating with her.
“Communication with DEF A progressed over time from friendly to flirty and finally, after you recused, to sexual in nature. After recusal, you sent communications that indicated you would help DEF A with her charges. These charges were pending in your court but purportedly would be heard by a special judge.”
15 days after DEF A was in Throesch’s court, on July 26, he messaged her asking if she was done with everything except what she had in “my court.”
“I am going to look at those [sic] traffic stuff and see what we can do,” Throesch wrote on Facebook Messenger. “Your [sic] really trying and I hate to see u [sic] buried in fines. I would do that for anyone who’s trying.”
He ended the conversation by saying, “Make sure you don’t tell anyone ur [sic] talking to me for lots of reasons.”
On July 27, Throesch asked DEF A to call his cell phone. While exchanging text messages, explicit photographs were sent to Throesch by the defendant. According to JDDC, Throesch asked for more photos, “of the same nature.”
In addition to this incident, another “separate fact pattern” found by JDDC related to a topic first reported by NEA Report in 2019: Throesch demanding his wife be allowed out of a ticket after she refused to stop for pursing police officers until she had driven over three miles to her home. To read our full 2019 investigation, click here.
To see the full letter from JDDC, click this link to view the .PDF file: JDDC Press Release 05012020
The NEA Report investigation revealed that Throesch had demanded “professional courtesy” for a ticket his wife, Beth, was written in 2017, according to the former police chief of Pocahontas, Cecil Tackett. When an officer attempted to pull Beth over, she instead drove for several miles without acknowledging the pursuing officer. After the officer followed her all the way home, he was able to make contact with her. She was written a ticket.
That’s when the former police chief said the judge ‘jumped all over him.’
“If you can’t show me some professional courtesy, we’re going to have problems,” was the statement Tackett said Throesch made to him on the phone.
Tackett said these events were what lead to him being forced out of his job as police chief on January 9, 2019.
JDDC said our investigation was part of their file.