Friday, December 11, 2015

TOP STORY >> O’Bryan can stay on bench

Leader staff writer

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission filed a motion on Friday to the Arkansas Supreme Court to reinstate Lonoke County District Court Judge Joseph O’Bryan to the bench.

The JDDC Investigation Panel met on Thursday and unanimously voted to dismiss the complaint.

JDDC director David Sachar told The Leader on Friday, “The Supreme Court usually releases cases on Thursday. I am uncertain on when they may act on the petition.”

Lonoke District Court dismissed a misdemeanor third-degree domestic battery charge against O’Bryan on Nov. 5 when special appointed Faulkner County District Court Judge David Reynolds signed an order. O’Bryan’s girlfriend, Robin Richards of Lonoke dropped charges against him.

O’Bryan was suspended with pay by JDDC in August soon after the charges were filed. Lonoke County Circuit Court Judges Barbara Elmore, Ashley Parker and Sandy Huckabee were appointed by the state Supreme Court to fill in for O’Bryan during his suspension. O’Bryan presides over cases in Cabot, Austin and Ward District Courts.

O’Bryan is running for re-election in the Lonoke County District Judge-Northern Division. He has been elected to the nonpartisan position of District Court of Lonoke County, Northern Division for 24 years since 1991.

Opposing O’Bryan are Cabot attorney John Flynn, Ward City Attorney Clint McGue and Judge Teresa Hallum Smith.

District courts hear misdemeanor cases, city ordinances violations, traffic violations and civil matters with not more than $5,000 in controversy. A small-claims division of the district court allows for citizens to represent themselves in civil-claims cases.

O’Bryan graduated from Cabot High School in 1967 and from Baylor Law School in 1973. He has been an attorney in the Cabot area for 33 years.