Our original post detailed the sweet deal Judge "Wild Bill" Pearson obtained from a Special Prosecutor and Special Judge after local ones recused themselves.
|JUDGE "WILD BILL" PEARSON - HE CAN'T DRIVE A CAR NOW, BUT HE CAN STAY ON THE BENCH|
After all, that is what Rule 69 of the Good Ole Boy system dictates.
Videos (that we initially had some difficulty in obtaining) clearly show Wild Bill running through a sobriety checkpoint and nearly missing Arkansas State Troopers standing in the middle of the highway (with blue lights flashing on cars on both shoulders of the road) and being chased by two troopers for several miles.
Wild Bill refused to stop and a trooper had to use his own vehicle to force Wild Bill to give up the chase.
Then Wild Bill refused to comply multiple times to troopers orders that he get out of the vehicle.
Wild Bill could barely speak, but you can hear him say "fuck you" and that he "will get out of the vehicle if officers quit ordering him". When asked how much he had to drink, Wild Bill says "none of your business."
When Wild Bill was finally extricated from the vehicle it took two officers to help him stand up and walk him to a troopers vehicle to be transported to the jail.
When Wild Bill arrives at the Johnson County jail, he throws up several times into a trash can and urinates on himself.
At the jail, Wild Bill claims his arrest is bullshit (he says that word about 1000 times) and he defiantly argues with detention staff, and no-so-subtly attempts to intimidate detention staff by saying "I haven't mentioned who I am and I don't need too."
How those detention officers were able to maintain their composure and cool speaks highly of them.
When a higher ranking deputy is called in to help, Wild Bill tells that deputy to "stop fucking" with him.
Wild Bill refuses to cooperate with the booking process and vehemently tells officers that he will not go into a holding cell and states, "I can sit right here."
Wild Bill notices one of the state troopers that arrested him and calls him over and starts berating him about a "bullshit felony fleeing charge."
The trooper tells Wild Bill exactly what transpired and Wild Bill's demeanor immediately changes upon realization that he was so drunk that he blacked out and has no recollection whatsoever about going through the checkpoint.
But that change did not last long and he subsequently called the trooper a son of a bitch and a Nazi as jailers were placing him in a holding cell (shielded to hide him from prying eyes).
Fast forward to yesterday (Tuesday 4/25/17). As the Arkansas Judicial Disciplinary and Disability Commission ("JDDC") was considering what punishment, if any, they would hand out to Wild Bill we discovered that key evidence had not been obtained in the investigation of Wild Bill's criminal case by the state police nor in the investigation conducted by the JDDC.
The evidence was video from the body camera worn by Officer Corey Ostendorf of the Clarksville Police Department.
Ostendorf was one of the Clarksville police officers that arrived at the scene to assist the State Police.
Ostendorf was wearing a body camera and his camera had a first person point of view angle of the severely inebriated jurist.
We attempted to obtain dash camera video from the Arkansas State Police back in January, shortly after the event. Our request was denied by ASP at that time with them citing the investigation was "on-going."
So when we received a Google Alert about Pearson entering a negotiated plea on April 17th, we re-submitted a request to the ASP for their entire investigative file.
While reviewing the videos provided to us by the ASP, we observed that a Clarksville Police Department SUV pulled up at the scene and CPD officers went to assist ASP troopers. We also observed that the Clarksville officers appeared to be wearing body cameras, and our suspicion was later confirmed by viewing one video that CPD Officer Curtis took after Wild Bill had been transported to the jail. The video taken by Curtis was for the accident investigation. We found no other videos taken by Clarksville Officers in the ASP file copy provide to us.
We then called the Clarksville Police Department and after a couple of days of phone tag spoke with Officer Weathers. Weathers stated that they had provided all of the video taken by their officers to the ASP. He also told us that the special prosecutor, Jason Barrett, had complied a packet containing all the videos and documents in Wild Bill's criminal case and we could obtain a packet by requesting one from David Gibbons, the prosecuting attorney.
When we contacted Gibbons, he was reluctant to accept a verbal FOI request but after some discussion about the AFOIA statute, he stated he would mail a packet to us.
We received the packet from Gibbons the next day and only found one video taken by Clarksville police officers. So made another telephone call to CPD Officer Weathers. Weathers was positive that all the video from his officers had been handed over to the ASP. Weathers stated that one video was from Officer Ostendorf and one from Officer Curtis.
So when got back in touch with the ASP and burned another video only of the CPD officers footage obtained in their investigation.
Much to our surprise and dismay, the DVD contained the very same video previously supplied in the first response.
So another call was made back to CPD Officer Weathers. Weathers stated he would be more than happy to send all the video and documents his department has provided to the ASP. He asked us to send an email with mailing instructions and we complied with his request.
The next day Weathers called and stated he did not get the email with the mailing address and that he had discovered some surprising information.
Clarksville PD had given the ASP an accident report and footage from Officer Curtis' body camera shortly after the incident. The ASP later called and asked for additional footage (Officer Ostendorf) and for some additional statements.
Weathers then stated that the ASP never came and picked up the additional video or the statement.
Weathers told us he was mailing the DVD that they prepared for the ASP to us.
We provided both the ASP and the JDDC with information about the mislaid evidence and only the ASP responded.
So we were the first to discover that important evidence was not picked up by the ASP. A a result of their failure to retrieve the video and statements, the information was not given to the Special Prosecuting Attorney.
We also know that the JDDC did not have the video (CPD did not provide the video to anyone else as of yesterday - we will be the first to have it) to reflect on when they made their decision about what action they would take against Wild Bill.
The JDDC publicly censured Circuit Judge William Pearson yesterday for actions that led to his arrest for drunken and reckless driving.
JDDC filed a motion today asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to reinstate Pearson to the bench. Pearson has been suspended with pay since shortly after his arrest Jan. 20th.
As the 5th Judicial Circuit's Division 1 judge, Pearson presides over the criminal dockets for Pope, Johnson and Franklin counties.
Under his agreement with the commission, Pearson will refrain from hearing driving-while-intoxicated cases for the remainder of the year, according to Sachar's letter of admonishment to Pearson."
CLICK TO VIEW INFORMATION ABOUT JDDC PANEL MEMBERS
Just like a cop that is caught lying is worthless to any law enforcement agency because of a lack of honesty and credibility (not to mention Brady v Maryland), a judge that exhibits poor decision making skills/poor judgement calls their credibility and ability of critical thinking into question.
NOTE: an update will be posted when the yet unseen and shared video from the Clarksville Police Department is received.