Ex-area judge accused of witness tampering

Published 11:04am Thursday, July 3, 2014

STAFF and AP WIRE REPORT

A former Lawrence County area judge has been accused of witness tampering in documents filed in U.S. District Court in Jackson.

The federal information filed in June alleges former Chancery Judge Joe Dale Walker of Monticello “knowingly and intentionally attempted to corruptly influence a witness subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury.”

The document also alleges Walker tried to prevent the witness from providing documents to the grand jury.

Walker sat on the bench in Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Simpson and Smith counties.

Bob Evans, a Monticello attorney who represents Walker, declined comment Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis said the alleged tampering covered a time period from Aug. 7, 2013, until March 25, 2014. Davis said Walker allegedly told the witness that a document sought by subpoena “probably needs to be somewhere else.”

Davis said Walker then allegedly lied to FBI agents about his attempt to influence the witness.

Court documents offer no other details about the case. No hearings have been scheduled.

In February, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended Walker with pay indefinitely while it waited to hear the results of an inquiry by the Commission on Judicial Performance.

The Commission on Judicial Performance had sought interim suspension with pay for Walker while its investigation continues into alleged inappropriate actions regarding a conservatorship in Walker’s court.

Walker resigned from the bench in May. Evans, who also is a state lawmaker, represented Walker on the judicial disciplinary matter.