Today's Paper News Sports Features Business Opinion LEARNS Guide Newsletters Obits Games Archive Notices Core Values

Contempt trial of former circuit judge postponed

by Tracy Neal | June 8, 2023 at 3:16 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- A former Benton County circuit judge's trial will not be this month, after his attorney requested more time for his client to recover from recent injuries.

Jon Comstock, 72, of Rogers is accused of contempt. He has pleaded innocent to the charge.

Rogers District Judge Chris Griffin found Comstock in criminal contempt July 8 and sentenced him to five days in the Benton County Jail. Griffin suspended all but 12 hours of the sentence. Comstock served those 12 hours immediately following his sentencing.

Comstock is appealing the contempt finding.

His bench trial had been scheduled for June 13.

Jeff Rosenzweig, Comstock's attorney, on Monday requested another trial date. Rosenzweig said he needed the additional time for Comstock to recover from injuries -- a fractured skull and fractured ribs -- he received in a fall.

Emily White, who is the special prosecutor, did not object to the delay. She was assigned the case after Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith recused.

Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green rescheduled Comstock's bench trial for Aug. 25.

The case concerns an incident that occurred July 8, when Comstock went to the jail to observe bond hearings being held there that morning. Griffin was presiding as judge. Comstock said he was escorted to the courtroom at the jail and was sitting in an area behind a glass window where he could see, but not hear, the proceedings.

The audio was either turned off or not working, Comstock said. He said he attempted to make Griffin aware of the issue with the audio, and Griffin instructed him to sit down.

Comstock said he complied with the judge's instructions, and Griffin conducted several hearings while Comstock was unable to hear. Griffin completed the hearings, and Comstock said he was getting ready to leave when a deputy told him Griffin wanted to speak to him. Comstock said he went into the courtroom and the two discussed whether Comstock had a right to hear the proceedings. Griffin then found him in contempt and issued the sentence, Comstock said.

White also made a motion for Green to recuse from the case since Green and Griffin are both local judges. She believes Green can be fair, but she thinks there might be an appearance of impropriety, she said. Green denied the motion Monday, saying there is no good cause for her to recuse from the case.

Comstock was appointed in 2011 to fill a vacant circuit judge's position in Benton County. He served as circuit judge from June 2011 to December 2012.

Print Headline: Contempt trial of former circuit judge postponed


Sponsor Content