Embattled former Monticello District Judge Ken Harper is refuting charges filed last week by a state panel that disciplines judges.
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Original Story (September 20):
From Arkansas Times, Arkansas Blog
The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission announced today that it had brought formal charges against Monticello District Court Judge Ken Harper, generally stemming from his failure to follow a previous agreement to treat alcohol abuse.
He's been reported to have been seen buying and consuming alcohol and being intoxicated in public, a fact that has made witnesses in his court reluctant to testify in his court on other cases.
The full release here is loaded with specifics of a finding of sufficient evidence that:
- Harper allowed an unlicensed driver who was a convicted felony to operate his car and obtain liquor for him, though the man had been a defendant in Harper's court. Harper also tried to talk to a state trooper who stopped the car.
- The judge has moved in with a friend who has been convicted of theft of property and has had multiple traffic and criminal offenses in Harper's court, with fines due.
- Multiple witnesses have given information about abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs.
Monticello Live is reporting that Harper has announced his intention to resign. The Judicial Commission has received no correspondence from Harper since a censure last November. He said he'd volunteer to the governor a willingness to serve in the interim until a successor is appointed. Retirement won't end his judicial proceeding, because he'd still be eligible to be a judge and the panel seems inclined to move to end that possibility.
Photo courtesy: MonticelloLive.com, KARK 4 News Content Partner