Republicans hoping to further erode Democratic seats in the Arkansas Legislature may have hit a stumbling block in candidate Jim Hall. The House candidate from Drew County is facing jail time for harassment after losing an appeal on Wednesday.
The House District 9 seat, encompassing parts of Ashley and Drew counties, is open following the cancer-related death of Democratic State Representative Sheilla Lampkin in July. Democrats selected retired U.S. Army Brigadier General LeAnne Burch at a special nominating convention earlier this month.
Charges of harassment stemming from a divorce have followed Hall since 2013. At the time, Monticello Live reported Hall had left multiple voicemails and Facebook messages harassing his ex-wife, her attorney, and her pastor.
Jim A. Hall was found guilty on 3 counts of harassment and harrasing communitcations, following the playing of around a dozen voice mails and even more FaceBook posts read. The hearing, with 5 plaintiffs took just under 3 hours, and stemmed from a divorce case earlier this year, and conspiracy allegations that Hall had made against the other parties, regarding his children. In one voicemail played, Hall said, “This is going to be the biggest public relations disaster (you) have ever known.”
Three years later with appeals exhausted, Seark Today reports Hall faces 90 days to a year in the county jail.
James Hall, who is currently running for a seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives, was sentenced last year to a year in the Drew County jail with all but 90 days suspended if he complies with certain conditions when he is released. Hall appealed his conviction and sentence to the Arkansas Court of Appeals arguing that Circuit Court Judge Sam Pope violated his Sixth Amendment right to an attorney of his choice. The Arkansas Court of Appeals upheld the conviction and sentence.
During his appeal Hall argued he did not receive adequate legal representation. The Arkansas Court of Appeals disagreed.
“Because Greene had represented Hall at the district court as well as the circuit court, he was intimately familiar with Hall’s case,” Chief Judge Robert J. Gladwin wrote. “Greene had successfully reinstated Hall’s case in the circuit court, and he had been Hall’s counsel for nearly two years when Hall requested his removal. The circuit court considered these facts, questioned Hall and Greene regarding the circumstances of Hall’s complaints, and determined that Hall was not entitled to new counsel. Further, Hall failed to show that he suffered prejudice as a result of the circuit court’s denial of his motion.”
Democratic State Representative John Baine of neighboring Union, Ouachita, and Calhoun counties took to Twitter on Wednesday night to pillory the Republican's continued electoral ambition.
— Rep. John Baine (@Baine4Arkansas) August 25, 2016
KUAR has reached out the Republican Party of Arkansas for comment.