Justice of the Peace Kenneth Horton, I-Bald Knob, said he was asked to recuse by county attorney Matt Hutsell Monday afternoon, but said he was not told why. Attorneys for Benton and the county declined to comment as to why Horton was asked to step down.
"Shortly before the hearing today -- about an hour before -- we got a phone call from (former Benton's) council requesting that Mr. Horton recuse himself from the hearing to avoid the appearance of impartiality or bias," said Rob Beard, who represents the county through the Risk Management Fund of the Arkansas Association of Counties.
"(Horton) graciously recused himself and another name was drawn. We wanted to make sure (Benton) got a fair hearing and that it appears to everyone that he got a fair hearing."
To fill the seat on the grievance committee, court bailiff Jeremiah Huffstickler drew the name of Justice Shane Sellers, R-Judsonia.
The hearing has been rescheduled for July 23 at 9 a.m. in the courtroom at the Wilbur D. Mills Building in Searcy.
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