Local News

NC Superior Court judge arrested on bribery, corruption charges

Posted November 4, 2015

— A North Carolina Superior Court judge is charged with trying to bribe an FBI officer to collect text messages between two phone numbers in what the judge said was a family matter.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday announced the charges against Judge Arnold Jones II, who hears cases in three rural eastern North Carolina counties – Wayne, Lenoir and Greene – and is chairman of the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission.

The judge had his first court appearance Wednesday and was released with general probation requirements, including restrictions on travel and having firearms. His next court date has not been set.

Jones faces a maximum of 37 years in federal prison if convicted of all charges, prosecutors said, but a sentence that long would be unlikely. It's illegal for law officers to demand text or phone information from a phone company without an approved search warrant in an active case.

Elliot Abrams, a Raleigh defense attorney, says the charges and the threat of federal prison are excessive.

"In my mind, if you go to a friend who's an FBI agent and it's illegal, the FBI agent should say, 'I can't do that. It's illegal,'" Abrams said.

"There's a number of less serious crimes that could have been charged here that may have been more appropriate."

Prosecutors say Jones approached the unidentified FBI officer a month ago, and the two met in Goldsboro on Tuesday to exchange $100 for a disk supposedly containing the text messages. Jones initially offered to give the officer "a couple cases of beer" for his help but later agreed to $100 in cash.

Jones is charged with promising and paying a bribe to a public official, promising and paying a gratuity to a public official and corruptly attempting to influence an official proceeding, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Jones was a private attorney in Goldsboro for 18 years before being elected to the Superior Court in 2008. He earned degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Wake Forest University law school.


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  • Jim Frei Nov 4, 2015
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    Judge should have asked the NSA...they got every text you ever sent.

  • Wayne Douglas III Nov 4, 2015
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    Most of you guys are missing the most important part of this story. This judge, has thrown his, and his family's entire lives away, on a $100 bribe. His wife, children and future grandchildren, are not worth $100. He has made that very clear.

  • Paul Donovan Nov 4, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    You can tell he is a Democrat since there is no mention of his political affiliation in the story. If he was Republican it would be in the headline.

  • Tom Laurence Nov 4, 2015
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    "In my mind, if you go to a friend who's an FBI agent and it's illegal, the FBI agent should say, 'I can't do that. It's illegal,'" Abrams said.

    WOW....Shocker! What do you think - Of course he would say this. If the FBI pursued this case, it was NOT the first time this Judge has been reported. If Attorney Abrams really believes this punishment is too excessive - then, he is probably not operating in an ethical manner either.

  • Jaime Myers Nov 4, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    what if a family member was in danger would you feel the same.

  • Marcy Lyn Nov 4, 2015
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    Can't wait to hear the " Rest of this story " !

  • Kenneth Garrett Nov 4, 2015
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    Ha , I been saying for years -THE COURTS WAS / Is a joke - Yep , As always " MONEY "

  • Sonja Yagel Nov 4, 2015
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    This is why so many criminals are on the street today because of judges who do not follow the law because they break it themselves. Our judicial system needs fixing.

  • Janni Cone Nov 4, 2015
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    Kudos for the FBI agent for being a straight arrow. Kinda hard to ask this guy to uphold justice if he thinks laws don't apply to him and he thinks it's okay to spy on a family member. Jeez

  • Jacob Smith Nov 4, 2015
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    Bet you a steak dinner he won't do a day of time.