Court Tosses Most Contempt Fines Issued By Wendell Griffen Against Lawyer

by Associated Press  on Thursday, Jun. 26, 2014 12:36 pm  

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court has tossed out nine of the 10 contempt violations a judge issued to an attorney who represented a former Little Rock police officer in a manslaughter trial over the shooting death of a teenager.

Justices on Thursday reversed all but one of the violations and fines that Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen levied against Bill James in last year's trial of Joshua Hastings. Prosecutors in April dropped the felony manslaughter charge against Hastings after two previous mistrials.

During the first trial, Griffen cited James for allegedly using characterizations of two juvenile witnesses that Griffen told him not to put before the jury.

Justices ruled that nine contempt violations were not announced immediately after they occurred and that James wasn't given reasonable time to defend himself.

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