Benton County decide jails lawyer Jon Comstock for making an attempt to listen to bond hearings

Benton County decide jails lawyer Jon Comstock for making an attempt to listen to bond hearings


Benton County District Decide Chris Griffin jailed lawyer Jon Comstock, 72, of Rogers for 12 hours at this time over Comstock’s objections to being made to take a seat in a spot the place he couldn’t hear bond hearings, a topic of controversy within the county, together with a federal lawsuit.

Comstock, a former circuit decide and twice an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the legislature, has been lively within the Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition. He’s joined in its criticism of a proposed Benton County jail growth and the absence of public defenders for folks showing in district courtroom for bond hearings.

In line with accounts of others, Griffin discovered Comstock in contempt of courtroom for repeatedly objecting to being seated behind glass the place he couldn’t hear the bond proceedings, although he’d given advance discover he deliberate to attend. Griffin sentenced him to 5 days in jail, with all about 12 hours suspended. He was to be launched about 7:30 p.m. at this time.

Sarah Moore and Beth Coger, founders of the Justice Reform Coalition, gave this account of the day’s occasions which started about 6 a.m.:

Each AJRC and Jon had made it recognized that they meant to attend courtroom.  In Might 2022, Decide Griffin offered the weekly decide schedule for bond hearings.  Mr. Comstock reached out to the sheriff’s workplace to inform them that he can be attending and to know the method to attend.

Mr. Comstock arrived at 5:45 a.m. to attend what was informed to be a 6 a.m. bond listening to and was informed to attend.  Someplace round 6:30 or after, Mr. Comstock was let in an space outdoors the courtroom the place he may see however not hear.  As courtroom started for a number of minutes, Mr. Comstock stood up and verbalized to Decide Griffin that he wished to have the ability to have full entry to the courtroom.  Decide Griffin informed him to take a seat and Mr. Comstock complied.  A bit later, Mr Comstock urged entry once more and Decide Griffin introduced him into the courtroom space the place they’d a forwards and backwards about Mr. Comstock wanting full public entry to the bond listening to.

Decide Griffin had Mr. Comstock arrested on contempt and booked into the Benton County jail for five days with 4 1/2 days suspended.  Mr.Comstock is in jail proper now sitting in a solitary cell.

AJRC is extremely involved {that a} neighborhood member desirous to train their constitutional rights has been denied entry.  Routinely people sit in jail for a lot of days unable to make bail as a result of they’re too poor to purchase their freedom.  Bond guidelines are in place to make each means accessible outdoors of money for somebody’s launch and a full capacity to pay.  There isn’t any public defender current at bond hearings.  The general public deserves full and full entry to their courts.

Something lower than full entry is a problem to our constitutional rights and we ought to be involved as a neighborhood and as a state on the precedent this creates.


Moore and Coger spoke with Comstock by telephone. Meyer Gilbert, chief deputy of the sheriff’s workplace, informed the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that if there are any points with the audio then they are going to be fastened. He informed the newspaper that bond hearings are public and folks ought to be capable of hear the proceedings.

The decide’s order jailing Comstock stated he’d willfully refused to adjust to a number of “direct orders.”

Comstock served by appointment by Governor Mike Beebe for 2 years as a circuit decide however misplaced a 2012 race for a full circuit decide time period to Tom Smith. He misplaced legislative races in 2018 and 2020.

Replace: Lawyer Autumn Tolbert explains more. Prisoners are in jail for video bond hearings. Public isn’t allowed. Decide says the sheriff can resolve on public entry for “security” causes. That isn’t the legislation. The decide is passing the buck and has punished someon3 who known as him on it.