Saline Sheriff Bruce Pennington pleads guilty to intoxication, resisting arrest by Benton cop | Arkansas Blog

Saline Sheriff Bruce Pennington pleads guilty to intoxication, resisting arrest by Benton cop

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AT PLEA: Sheriff Pennington. - JOSH BERRY/4/16
  • Josh Berry/4/16
  • AT PLEA: Sheriff Pennington.

Josh Berry of Channel 4/Fox 16 reports via Twitter that Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington entered a plea bargain today to public intoxication and resisting arrest in a scrape with Benton police June 29 at Denton's Trotline. 

He entered an in-patient alcohol treatment program, Berry reported.

Berry quotes the prosecutor as saying accountability was necessary for the sheriff having taken a swing at a police officer.

Police said he appeared intoxicated and became combative when they suggested that someone should drive him home.

Pennington has given a variety of statements about the incident — that he'd been working hard that day, that he hadn't had much to drink and, once, that he hadn't been charged with public intoxication.

Some videos of the sheriff that night should be forthcoming now that the case is at a close. Berry reports that it is embarrassing and will air tonight on Channels 4 and 16.

The charges are misdemeanors. Special Prosecutor Cody Hiland amended an original refusal to submit charge to resisting arrest because he allegedly swung at a deputy.

According to KTVH, the resisting arrest charge carries a $2,500 fine, $145 in court costs, and one year of unsupervised probation while public intoxication carried a $500 fine in addition to $145 in court costs.

The deal happened quickly, with Little Rock District Judge Alice Lightle sitting in place of the Saline district judge, who handles the sheriff's cases routinely.

The Arkansas Constitution allows for removal of a sheriff convicted of "embezzlement of public money,
24 bribery, forgery or other infamous crime." Misdemeanor theft has been interpreted by the courts as meeting the standard of "infamous crime," but I'm not aware that drunk and resisting arrest has been interpreted that way.

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