Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
On November 28, 2015, Judge Kemp approved a guilty plea in exchange for dismissal of felony charges against Lea Ann Finn. Ms. Finn is the eldest daughter of Jim Hinkle of Mtn. View, who has been a close personal friend of Judge Kemp for "all [their] lives" according to Mr. Hinkle. Mr. Hinkle's other daughter, Katie Henry, and Judge Kemp's daughter, Erin Brogdon, are also close personal friends and have been for several years.
Just over two weeks after that plea agreement, Mr. and Mrs. Hinkle each donated $2,500 to Judge Kemp's campaign for Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Ms. Finn's sister — Katie Henry — also donated $500 to Judge Kemp around this time. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Hinkle send out a mass email, asking people to donate to Judge Kemp's campaign and speaking out in support of Judge Kemp.
On February 21, 2016, this appearance of impropriety regarding the timing of the contributions following the reduction in charges and guilty [pleas] was reported in a post on Blue Hog Report. In response, the Kemp campaign issued a statement, claiming that Ms. Finn was treated exactly the same as "any other first time drug offender." However, Ms. [Finn] pleaded guilty to several felony drug charges in Faulkner County in 2007 and was given 5 years' probation, a fact that Judge Kemp was well aware of according to someone close to the Hinkles.
Judge Kemp's failure to recuse from a criminal case against the daughter of a close family friend appears to violate Rule 1.2 and Rule 2.11.
Judge Kemp's issuance of a knowingly false or misleading statement in response to the Blue Hog Report Story appears to violate Rule 4.1(A)(11).
You see, back in 2006, Ms. Finn (whose surname at the time was Walker) was arrested in Faulkner County and charged with Y-felony manufacture/possession/distribution of less than 28g of methamphetamine, B-felony manufacture/possession with intent to distribute counterfeit methamphetamine, C-felony possession/use of drug paraphernalia, DWI-1st (misdemeanor), refusal to submit to a chemical test, and careless and prohibited driving.
On May 15, 2007, Ms. Finn entered a guilty plea on all of those charges, and Judge Mike Maggio imposed a sentence of five years’ probation, $2,950 in fines and costs, and 80 hours of community service.
On July 6, 2007, Ms. Finn was charged with DWI and driving on a DWI-suspended license in Hot Spring County. On August 28, 2007, again in Hot Spring County, she was charged with DWI-2nd, driving on a DWI-suspended license, careless drive, and not wearing a seatbelt. The two Hot Spring County cases were tried at the same time on June 26, 2008, at which time the driving-on-suspended charges, as well as the careless and seatbelt charges were dismissed. The court also entered a docket notation to amend the DWI-2nd to DWI-1st because, according to the court, the Faulkner Co. DWI charge had not been recorded as guilty.
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