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Court tosses most contempt fines against lawyer

By The Associated Press

This article was published June 26, 2014 at 12:37 p.m.


Arkansas Democrat Gazette/MELISSA SUE GERRITS 06/23/13- Defense attorney for Josh Hastings, Bill James, speaks with media after his manslaughter case ended in a hung jury Sunday, June 23, 2013. James was fined for contempt after breaking rules for the case set by the judge.

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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Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 total comments

Dontcallmenames says... June 26, 2014 at 4:49 p.m.

No respect for Wendell glad this story proves his worthlessness!

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DEE672 says... June 26, 2014 at 5:50 p.m.

I agree about Judge Griffin who has proven to be biased in race related cases.

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