Leader Blues

Monday, April 30, 2007

TOP STORY >>Lawyer expects couple to post bond

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

Former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell and his wife Kelly could be freed on appeals bonds as early as Tuesday, but it could be more than a year before the state Supreme Court hears their appeal, Mark Hampton, her lawyer, said Thursday.
Jay Campbell is being held at the state Correction Department’s Diagnostic Unit in Little Rock and Kelly is at the women’s McPherson Unit at Newport.

Following a two-year corruption investigation and a two-month long trial, Jay Campbell was convicted of 23 counts and sentenced to 40 years in prison, and Kelly Campbell was convicted of 26 counts and sentenced to 20 years.
Most serious among his convictions were running a continuing criminal enterprise and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. Both were convicted of several counts of residential burglary and obtaining a controlled substance by theft or fraud.

Hampton said he had been unsuccessful both Wednesday and Thursday in talking to Kelly Campbell on the phone, but that he would continue his efforts. Hampton already has filed a motion seeking a directed verdict of not guilty or alternatively, a mistrial for his client. He alleges that her trial should have been separated from her husband’s and that all the testimony about her alleged sexual relations with Lonoke Jail inmates, and other testimony involving her husband prejudiced the jury against her.

At the hearing Tuesday, Special Circuit Judge John Cole will rule on motions by Hampton and by Jay Campbell’s lawyer Patrick Benca for a new trial. Such motions are routine and routinely denied, said Hampton, but are part of the process of covering all legal basis.

Then Benca and Hampton will file notice of appeal with the judge, Hampton said, and after that, the Campbells will be eligible to be bonded out.

“After giving notice to the circuit court and the world that we intend to appeal,” said Hampton, “next thing, we are requesting a transcript. I promise it will be a full seven months until it’s ready. Then the record is lodged with the court of appeals or Supreme Court. Then we write briefs on the issues. The state has the right to respond. We can reply—I can’t see it being submitted for at least 18 months.”

Cole last week set Kelly Campbell’s appeal bond at $100,000 and Jay Campbell’s at $200,000. Prosecutor Lona McCastlain strenuously argued that the Campbell’s should not be free on appeal. Hampton said Thursday that he expected the friends and families of both Campbells to raise the 10 percent needed to post bond. “They are both broke, but family members are willing to put a lot of stuff on the line,” Hampton said.

After formal sentencing by Cole last Tuesday, the Campbells were taken by Lonoke County sheriff’s deputies to North Little Rock, where they submitted to hair-follicle analysis to check for drugs in their past, then to the Lonoke County Jail and finally to the state Correction Department.