by Max Brantley
The City Wire, Michael Tilley's news website in Fort Smith, reported yesterday on an interview with Holland. He still plans to appeal the fleeing charge because he contends he didn't know he was being chased by a deputy with flashing blue lights. And so forth.
But Holland also told Tilley that he'd been informed his sentence to 400 hours of community service by District Judge Elizabeth Wise had been reduced to 120 hours. Really? The prosecuting attorney's office tells me it didn't know about it. The district court clerk's office told me the docket still reflected the sentence handed down by the judge — 400 hours on top of $890 in fines and costs. Holland posted $890 last Friday as an appeal bond and served notice of an appeal to circuit court, the records show. He had failed to obey the judge's order to get fingerprinted Thursday and he did that belatedly Friday, though the jailers failed to take a mug shot, I'm sorry to say.
So where did the information on sentence reduction come from? I called Holland. He said he was informed by an employee of his attorney, Bill Walters, who had received a call from the Perryville court, though Holland couldn't be more specific about the source of the information. Walters is on leave on account of illness, but I'm trying to get his assistant for more information. Meanwhile, though, Judge Wise said she had not altered her sentence. She had no power to alter it once the case moved to circuit court. The Perry County circuit clerk's office confirms that it has the case now. It has been assigned to Judge Barry Sims of Little Rock and a plea and arraignment is set Oct. 4, when Judge Wendell Griffen will be presiding in Perry County. The clerk's office said the file still reflects that Holland was sentenced to 400 hours of community service.
Holland says he doesn't intend to let this get in the way of his re-election bid next year, but a couple of strong Republicans are spoiling to say something about that in what promises to be a supercharged GOP primary.