Friday, September 7, 2012

Judicial panel suspends Hamburg judge over Walmart fight

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 2:14 PM

SCRAPPING AT WALMART: Freeze frame of Walmart security video shows Pope, with back to camera, talking to his wife.
  • SCRAPPING AT WALMART: Freeze frame of Walmart security video shows Pope, with back to camera, talking to his wife.

JUDGE SAM POPE: Disciplined over Walmart fight.
  • JUDGE SAM POPE: Disciplined over Walmart fight.
You read here first about the investigation by the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission of Circuit Judge Sam Pope of Hamburg for an April 5 fight with his estranged wife, Gayle Zimmerman, and a male friend in a Crossett Walmart.

Today, the Commission announced that Pope had agreed to a 30-day suspension without pay and to apologize for violations of judicial ethical rules. He promised to behave better in the future and to attend an anger management program. The state Supreme Court must sign off on the agreed outcome.

Here's the release on the case, which includes the police report and letter of apology. Pope says the "emotional and physical effects" of the end of his 33-year marriage had been difficult. He said he'd sought counseling and urged others in the same position to do the same. He acknowledged that his actions were "not appropriate or acceptable."

Crossett police filed no charges in the scrap, saying neither party wanted to press charges. Pope said at the time only that he was going through a divorce — it had drawn local press attention for some contention over items taken from the couple's home — and didn't want to discuss particulars.

The Crossett police report indicated that Pope, 58, greeted Bill Murray, 57, of Crossett, with the words "Hello, asshole" when he saw him with his ex-wife Gale Zimmerman in the Walmart. Murray replied "Hello, asshole" and the two began fighting. Pope and Zimmerman's daughter was also present. Pope complained that his wife had struck him three times and he wanted to press charges. Walmart security separated Pope and Murray, the police report says, and when police arrived, Pope reportedly "kept trying to get to Bill Murray," who "had blood on both sides of his face." Police arrested both men at the store, but released them shortly after when both agreed to not press charges. In the Judicial proceeding, Pope said he didn't believe he caused the bleeding that Murray experienced, saying it might have occurred as Murray grappled him. He said he'd only struck Murray with an open-handed "hand shiver."

Pope also told investigators that motions he made with his arm toward his wife, as seen in the video, were not attempts to strike her, but to "flick" a cross she wore around her neck and as a comment on her presence in the store with a boyfriend.

Pope's wife has complained since to me that law enforcement officials were reluctant to act against Pope because of cases in his court. Prosecutor Thomas Deen of Monticello, in providing me with a copy of the police report and the Walmart security camera video (sorry, we couldn't figure out a way to load the video) indicated the investigation was closed.

The Ashley News Observer reported in March that the sheriff's office was called about a number of items taken from Pope's home while he was on a mission trip in Central America, but an investigator concluded it was "likely the result of a domestic dispute and pending divorce." Missing items include artwork, books, a bookshelf, outdoor iron and wicker furniture, glasses, silverware, dining table, 200-piece set of china, living room furniture, desk and gun closet holding rifles, shotguns, pistols, gun stocks and scopes.

Tags: , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Child abuse: What about the victims?

    A guest writer in the Arkansas Times, a victim of child sexual abuse, says Arkansas sends a message that it condones abuse by a lack of consequences for the Harrises and Duggars.
    • Jun 3, 2015
  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • The power down open line and video roundup

    Over to you.
    • Jun 19, 2015

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Facing closure, Wilson Elementary families deliver angry message to school leaders

    "Why do you guys not care about your community? You’re tearing it down, not building it up, especially in the black community … It’s just a simple question — do you care?" one mother asked the superintendent. "Ma’am, I do care deeply about this district, and I do believe wholeheartedly we are making a better district every day," Poore replied.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation