The best part is him throwing down his cane and bowing up. pic.twitter.com/bW6ulAv44m
— Davy Carter (@DavyCarter) May 2, 2021
Davy Carter, the former House speaker, is getting attention on Twitter for a thread he posted last night about a parking lot encounter with Circuit Judge Brad Karren of Bentonville.
The thread includes a video of Karren throwing down his cane as if to advance on Carter in a heated discussion that ensued after Karren found Carter’s son’s truck parked in his parking space. Carter said a sign on the lot indicated it was for government parking through 5 p.m. and his son parked about 7 p.m. (Further Twitter posting indicates another sign posted on a wall by the parking lot) says towing is enforced 24/7.)
Karren has made headlines before. This account includes his sentencing of a TV reporter to jail for making an audio recording in his courtroom (she was new to Arkansas and said she didn’t know about the rule) and another case in which he cited a reporter for Tweeting a verdict from his court. The latter incident was settled without a jail sentence. The TV station “volunteered” to do a feature on a subject of interest to Karren.
In 2012, while a district judge, Karren was reprimanded by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission for two incidents.
1) Sitting as a special circuit judge, he issued orders relative to handling of a juvenile related to one of his employees. He communicated with his employee and her husband ex parte, or without the prosecutor’s presence, and also gave the family visitation rights that diverged from normal procedure. 2) He set a bond, lower than had been requested by the prosecutor, for a rape suspect he’d once represented in private practice. Karren’s agreement that he’d violated a number of rules of conduct led the agency to issue a reprimand, rather than hold a public hearing on charges. He agreed not to repeat violations of rules he’d broken.
More recently, Karren was the judge in the murder case in which a third trial will be required for Mauricio Torres, accused of killing his six-year-old son. Karren’s decision to order a third trial after a courtroom outburst during the sentencing of Torres was upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
UPDATE: I asked for a comment from David Sachar, director of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. His response:
“I am aware of the incident involving Circuit Judge Brad Karren. I follow former Speaker of the House Davy Carter on my personal Twitter account. I read the description of events and viewed the posted video.
“On Monday, the complaint process will begin and a JDDC Investigation Panel will conduct a thorough and confidential investigation. The judge has due process rights as provided through Rules of Procedure of the JDDC. I have no further comment at this time.”