Monday, February 22, 2016

Blue Hog Report smells shenanigans in plea agreement, political contribution to Kemp

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 4:09 PM

click to enlarge Judge Dan Kemp of Mountain View - JUDGEKEMP.COM
  • judgekemp.com
  • Judge Dan Kemp of Mountain View
Citizen journalist Matt Campbell's Blue Hog Report has a new post out about Judge Dan Kemp of Mountain View, who is currently running for Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court against Justice Courtney Goodson. Specifically, Campbell is on the trail of a 2014 case in which a Stone County woman reached a plea agreement before Kemp on two drug-related felonies just before her influential parents made a contribution to Kemp's campaign and, later, a public endorsement. 

In Oct. 2014, Lee Ann Finn of Stone County was arrested and charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors, including possession of drug paraphernalia, charges which could have netted her a minimum of five years in prison, and possibly up to 26 years in jail. As Campbell notes, the felonies in the case were later dismissed in a plea agreement before Judge Kemp. While plea bargains happen nearly every day in nearly every courthouse, Campbell's political payback spidey senses are tingling. From the post: 

As noted, Judge Kemp announced [his candidacy] on November 6, 2015. On November 12, 2015, Judge Kemp signed off on a plea agreement that did away with two felonies–one of which carried a mandatory minimum of five years.

Oh…did I mention that Ms. Finn is the daughter of Kay and James Hinkle of Mountain View? Because she is.

Why does that matter? Because Stone County is not exactly large in terms of population. So, for the uninitiated, Kay Hinkle is a UCA Board Member. James Hinkle is part of the family that owned the independent Bank of Mountain View and the independent telephone company, the Mountain View Telephone Co.

Anyway, sixteen days after Judge Kemp signed off on Lea Ann Finn’s plea of guilty to an unclassified misdemeanor, Ms. Finn’s parents each donated $2,500.00 to Judge Kemp’s campaign. Her sister also donated $500 on that same date.

Campbell goes on to note that James Finn later sent out an email to friends expressing his support for Kemp.

"And therein lies the rub, and the reason for this post," Campbell writes. "In the absolute best–case scenario, you still have a judge agreeing to a plea bargain where felony drug charges are dropped and a near-meaningless DWI-Drugs (1st offense) is the only charge to get a guilty plea. Even in that super happy version, the judge allows the state to turn a blind eye to offenses that would normally warrant a minimum five years in prison. In the worst case scenario, however, that plea was in exchange for $5,500.00 in contributions less than a month after a candidacy was announced, and it got Judge Kemp an email endorsement/request for donations from a person in Stone County who carried more clout than 99% of the population up there." 

Erin S. Brogdon, manager for the Kemp campaign, has issued a statement regarding Campbell's story today:

"In our judicial system it is the prosecutor, not the judge, that negotiates and recommends plea bargains, Brogdon wrote. "The plea agreement in the referenced case is no different than thousands of other cases that involve first time offenders in Arkansas. Furthermore, according to rules of professional conduct - which Judge Kemp has pledged to uphold - judicial candidates should, as much as possible, not be aware of those who have contributed to their campaign. Any accusation or suggestion that Judge Kemp arranged a favorable ruling in exchange for campaign support is categorically false, and reeks of dirty politics from his opponent’s campaign."

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (38)

Showing 1-38 of 38

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-38 of 38

Add a comment

More by David Koon

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
  • Saturday's open line

    Got any thoughts? Put them here.
    • May 21, 2016
  • In defense of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights

    An op-ed in today's New York Time by Katha Pollitt says what I've been struggling to say about the reaction to the attack on women's reproductive rights launched by means of the undercover videos made by anti-abortion activists.
    • Aug 5, 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.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • 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 Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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