Friday, November 5, 1999

High court bars ex-prosecutor, sanctions lawyer


The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday barred former Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Harmon from practicing law and sanctioned a suspended Conway lawyer for contempt.
     A federal jury convicted Harmon in 1997 of five of 11 felony charges of racketeering, extortion and drug conspiracy.
     U.S. District Judge Stephen M. Reasoner sentenced him to eight years in prison, ordered him to pay $16,000 in restitution to victims of two extortion schemes and fined him $25,000.
     The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis upheld Harmon's convictions last month.
     In a one-page order, the Supreme Court barred Harmon from practicing law on the recommendation of its Committee on Professional Conduct, which regulates the practices of lawyers in Arkansas.
     In a separate ruling, the Supreme Court fined Tim Williams of Conway $458 for a contempt finding it issued in July because he had continued to practice law after his license was suspended.
     The money equaled the amount of court reporter expenses the Supreme Court incurred for hearing the Williams matter.
     In February, the professional conduct committee suspended Williams' license for six months.
     After finding that he had practiced law under the suspended license, the committee later ordered Williams' license suspended for an additional six months beginning Sept. 17.
     Williams also faces criminal charges stemming from his law practice. Last week, Ben Caruth of Morrilton, the special prosecutor named to investigate Williams, filed felony charges of theft of property and forgery.
     The charges involve a check for $1,657.20 that authorities say should have gone to Williams' client, Interiors Only Inc. of Conway. Williams is accused of forging a signature on the back of the check, then depositing the money into his personal account.
     Caruth said he expects to file more charges against Williams.

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