Leader Blues

Friday, August 25, 2006

TOP STORY >>Prosecutor criticized

IN SHORT: Defense attorney in war of words with Lona McCastlain.

Leader staff writer

Kelly Campbell’s lawyer, Mark Hampton, learning of new charges against the defendants, issued a press release taking exception to Prosecutor Lona McCastlain’s actions, calling them “seemingly biased and bizarre.”

“No matter what she says, we all know you can’t put a new face on an old pig, and she is twisting the law in a ridiculous attempt to save her own neck in an election year,” according to Hampton.

McCastlain, a Republican, faces a challenge from Democratic Cabot lawyer Tim Blair.

“I have said before and will say again, the acts of McCastlain seem politically motivated,” Hampton said.

“They have to have a defense,” McCastlain responded. “(Charging election-year politics) is as good as any.” She said she would have been charged with playing politics had she not prosecuted.

Hampton maintains that McCastlain “in a desperate attempt to save a wrongful prosecution,” filed new charges under Arkansas’ Organized Crime Statute.

“We alleged new charges because much more information came forward—an additional 37 counts,” McCastlain said. “We realized we had an enterprise here.”

Hampton asked why, if her case is so strong, she hired a private investigator to help. McCastlain said she hired Glen Ring, an investigator for about a month, “to help be do interviews. There’s such a volume of information.”

Hampton said the alleged victims of the thefts and burglaries didn’t report the alleged crimes and have told the prosecutor they didn’t want them investigated or prosecuted.

“I’m not sure where he’s getting his information, but it’s not the same I have,”McCastlain said. “We will put the evidence on at trial.”