Suspended judge back on job

A Clarksville judge who was on suspension after a drunken-driving arrest in January was reinstated to the bench Thursday by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Circuit Judge William Pearson was admonished by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission last month, after he pleaded guilty April 17 to misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and reckless driving charges.

Because the case was resolved, the commission petitioned the high court to reinstate Pearson.

The commission said in its admonishment letter to Pearson that the 5th Judicial Circuit judge was working to avoid repeating his behavior and had agreed to refrain from hearing DWI cases through the end of the year.

Pearson also submitted a statement to the commission, apologizing and expressing "shame and regret" for the incident.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported that Pearson drove through a sobriety checkpoint on Jan. 20, and police chased him into a parking lot.

The judge received a six-month suspended sentence, and was ordered to pay fines, fees and court costs.

The justices did not issue a written opinion Thursday explaining their order.

However, Justice Rhonda Wood said she would have prohibited Pearson from hearing criminal cases while serving his suspended sentence. Justice Shawn Womack said he would not have reinstated Pearson.

Metro on 05/12/2017

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