The North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission announced today it has reached a deal with former Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Arnold O. Jones II, preventing him from ever again seeking a seat on the bench.
Jones, convicted in 2016 of bribing a Wayne County Sheriff's Office deputy who is also an FBI Task Force officer, is awaiting a sentencing after having his conviction thrown out earlier this year.
A new trial was granted, but weeks later Jones pleaded guilty to promising and paying gratuities to a public official.
Carolyn Dubay, executive director of the state's judicial commission, said Jones voluntarily agreed to a consent order denying him the right to seek re-election as a judge, and he surrendered his pension.
Jones will keep whatever money he might have paid into his own pension, but he loses the rest.
"He was able to get back his own contribution, that was his money," Dubay said.
Any contribution the state has made is forfeited, she added.
It is unknown at this point whether the N.C. State Bar Association will seek to revoke Jones' license to practice law.
Dubay said her office is only authorized to take action against judges.
"The commission decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings because of the same underlying circumstances that were presented in the federal criminal trial," Dubay said.
Jones was tried and convicted in October 2016, on charges of paying bribes, paying gratuities and attempting to corruptly influence an official proceeding. The state alleged Jones had paid Deputy Matthew Miller $100 in cash and a case of Bud Light in exchange for Miller obtaining text messages shared between Jones' wife and another man.
Upon his conviction, Jones faced a maximum sentence of up to 37 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.
Prior to sentencing, however, the presiding judge in the case, Judge James C. Fox, had his entire caseload redistributed due to reasons undisclosed.
Judge Terrence W. Boyle received Jones' case and acted on a post-conviction motion filed by the defense, overturning the verdict and granting a new trial.
Jones' guilty plea in February rendered moot the need for a new trial.
He now faces a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.