On Friday, March 17, 2023. the Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission of the State of Arkansas issued a Letter of Informal Adjustment against Ralph Ohm, Circuit Court Judge for Garland County in the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, for endorsing a candidate for public office.

Ohm was alleged to have violated Canon 1, Rule 1.3, and Canon 4, Rule 4.1 of the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct which states that:

 A judge shall not abuse the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal or economic interests of the judge or others, or allow others to do so.

A judge shall not publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for any public office.

According to the Letter of Informal Adjustment, Judge Ohm was spotted showing support for a mayoral candidate in Hot Springs, Arkansas by holding up a campaign sign that had the candidate’s name and desired position and while standing at a busy intersection, Judge Ohm waved at passing motorists.

Judge Ohm acknowledged the accuracy of the allegation and reported his own conduct to the Commission.

Based on the foregoing facts, the Commission determined that Ohm’s behavior violated the Code of Judicial Conduct as charged, thereby sanctioning Ohm by an informal adjustment.

An informal adjustment is a disciplinary measure for misconduct that does not warrant formal discipline but is still a cause for concern. This approach is intended to bring attention to areas of concern, remind judges of their ethical obligations, recommend changes in procedures or behavior, or offer guidance on avoiding situations that could give rise to perceptions of impropriety.

Judge Ohm’s courtroom is located at 501 Ouachita Avenue, Room 301 Hot Springs, AR 71901 Garland County, and can be reached at (501) 321-1333.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.