Supreme Court upholds one contempt citation in Hastings trial, but reverses nine issued at conclusion | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Supreme Court upholds one contempt citation in Hastings trial, but reverses nine issued at conclusion

Posted By on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 10:38 AM

click to enlarge WINS ON 9 OF 10" Attorney Bill James, shown after contempt hearing that was set aside today by Supreme Court.
  • WINS ON 9 OF 10" Attorney Bill James, shown after contempt hearing that was set aside today by Supreme Court.
The Arkansas Supreme Court today upheld one, but reversed nine contempt citations Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen had issued against defense attorney Bill James in the manslaughter trial of former Little Rock police officer Josh Hastings.

The Court said Griffen had properly held James in contempt summarily during the trial for bringing up information about the criminal records of witnesses against Hastings, contrary to the judge's order. But the court said nine contempt citations Griffen added at the conclusion of the trial (which ended in a hung jury) were improper because they had not been issued immediately and thus James was entitled to a reasonable amount of time to raise a defense. No hearing on those citations was held.

The Supreme Court went on to say about the post-trial citations that it believed Griffen was incorrect in holding James in contempt on those counts. While James had attempted to question witnesses about state of mind, the court said James had not questioned about their records, the explicit instruction of the judge's order.

"James cannot be held in contempt for not following what the court meant to order, but can only be held in contempt for violating the circuit court's express commands."

Griffen had originally fined James $2,500 each on the citations, but reduced the penalty to $500.

After two mistrials, the prosecution declined to try again to prosecute Hastings for fatally shooting a man in a car he'd suspected in car burglaries. Hastings said he fired because he felt endangered by the car. Police questioned Hastings' honesty about events. Hastings was fired and has appealed the firing.


Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • UPDATE: Hutchinson moves to cover himself on cut to War Memorial Stadium

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson apparently felt the burn from KARK's exclusive Tuesday night on his plans to cut state support of War Memorial Stadium in half beginning July 1, 2018. He has a so-far secret plan to make the stadium self-sustaining. We bet that doesn't include state support.
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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