Charges upgraded to felonies in the case of former public defender

By: Tammy Curtis, Managing Editor

The original misdemeanor charge of Third Degree Battery filed against attorney and former public defender Calvin Harrell, III on May 6 has been upgraded to two felony charges. The charges resulted after he allegedly attacked his ex- girlfriend at her home in Cherokee Village. The amended charges came on May16 after a special prosecutor was assigned to the case. D. Jason Barrett took the case when Third Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Devon Holder’s office referred it for a special prosecutor after citing a conflict as the reason the office would not prosecute the case. Just days after being assigned to the case, Barrett refiled the charges that were first submitted to district court as a single Class A Misdemeanor Third Degree Domestic Battery charge. Court filings show the charges were up-graded to a Second Degree Domestic Battery, a Class C Felony and Domestic Burglary, a Class B felony for the April 24 domestic incident. Harrell allegedly attacked his then girlfriend, Megan Campbell, causing her to suffer a concussion, broken finger, broken left arm and broken rib according to Shane Mullins, the Cherokee Village police officer who responded to the incident. While the warrant was issued for Harrell, at press time it had not been served. Harrell’s bad news mounted last week when he learned his law license had been suspended due to his recent activities. Lisa Ballard, Executive Director of the Supreme Court Office of Professional Conduct issued an interim suspension notice to Calvin Fran-cis Harrell, III on May11. He is accused of allegedly violating several of the principle she was sworn to up-hold under his oath as an attorney and has now been temporarily stripped of his license to practice law. In the suspension filing, the board concluded that Harrell“ presently poses a substantial threat of serious danger to the public and to his clients if he continues to practice law.” The suspension further states, “The Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct (the “Committee”), pursuant to the mandate of Section 16 of the Procedures, finds the allegations of the petition are “serious misconduct”, and involve alleged violations of the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct.” The suspension was active immediately. The path to the suspension was one that came after many serious events both criminally and in his financial and personal life within the last few months, Circuit Judges Rob Ratton, Michelle Huff and Adam Weeks who all work in the circuit Harrell was previously assigned as a public defender before his resignation, have recused. A request to that Arkansas Supreme Court was made on May 16 via email by Sharp County Circuit Clerk Alisa Black to as-sign a special judge in the case. In Black’s email, she stated all three judges asked that the re-quest be expedited in Harrell’s criminal charges. Harrell’s suspension came after numerous ethics com-plaints were filed. Harrell failed to show up for two cases on Feb. 14. Two separate Order to Show Cause affidavits were filed in both Independence County and in Fulton County on March 6and 7 against Harrell by Circuit Judge Tim Weaver when he did not show up for court for pretrial hearings for his client’s. Harrell was arrested on March 7, after he was stopped for speeding between Evening Shade and Cave City25 minutes before he was due in court in Batesville. Harrell was charged with Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License, that court records show resulted from a Dec. 2021 DWI offense. Harrell was transported to jail in Sharp County with over $5000 in cash in his possession. On March 14, he was served paperwork by the Craighead County Sheriff’s Department and on March 21 he showed up to answer the Show Cause. But again, he failed to show up for court for two of his clients in Independence County on May9, following the latest incident. This news agency will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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