Monday Matters - October 12 - Don't reward dirty politics!
ACTION ITEM: Don’t reward “dirty politics”. Vote for Jon Comstock for House District 96.
Just The Facts: The State Republican Party mailed a malicious flyer to my neighbors last week that was filled with untruths and distortions which they called “The Comstock Record”. Let me briefly set the record straight. https://www.joncomstockforarkansas.com/contribute
#1 TRUTH: If elected, I will advocate for reforms in our criminal justice system to include more funding for mental health and drug dependency recovery programs and for re-entry programs for those coming out of prison. Further, I fully support increasing the pay of Law Enforcement and providing additional needed training to raise their professional status in our communities.
#1 UNTRUTH: that I promote defunding the police.
#2 TRUTH: I share the belief of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that civil disobedience as a way to seek redress from our government for asserted wrongs is the highest level of Constitutional free speech.
#2 DISTORTION: that I endorse the conduct of those who riot – causing injury to persons and damage to property.
#3 TRUTH: I strongly believe in the presumption of innocence and the right to pre-trial releast when facing criminal charges where a Judge determines the person is not a flight risk or substantial threat to the community. Poverty should not be a reason to deny a person their right to pre-trial liberty. I support and welcome The Bail Project to Northwest Arkansas as they work to provide funds for persons who are charged with low level crimes and low bonds.
#3 DISTORTION: On a case that I was neither the lawyer or the Judge, they falsely assert that I “used” the Bail Project to get a man out of jail who they say was later “involved in a murder”. The underlying charge was a low level felony for which a Judge had set a bail bond of $1,500.00. The Bail Project helped post that bail. Be assured, the Judge who set that bail made a decision based on the facts before him or her at the time. The Judge does not have a crystal ball – and neither does The Bail Project or any other private bail bonding company that bails folks out of jail.
#4 TRUTH: I had the honor of serving as a Circuit Court Judge for Benton County from June 2011 to December 2012 after being appointed by Governor Mike Beebee to fill a vacancy on the Bench. I was one of two Judges who presided over the felony criminal docket. I made thousands of judicial decisions during that term for which there is no complaint.
#4 DISTORTION: The flyer states as a Circuit Judge, I lowered the bond of a person who robbed a bank twice. The flyer fails to tell you that my decision was made after hearing the testimony of multiple witnesses. My judgement was that a reduction was warranted, though I did impose the requirement of an electronic ankle monitor. The device was apparently not installed properly as the Defendant was able to slip it off, thus his leaving home was not detected. Both times he used a toy gun. On the second offense, he was caught shortly after. I did not then and do not now have a crystal ball. I made a decision then that I thought was warranted. But Judges cannot be expected to be absolute predictors of another person’s conduct. Judges routinely do the best they can. I did the best I could.
THE COMSTOCK RECORD – THE REST OF THE STORY
1. I have been an attorney since 1976 to the present. I was in private practice for 18 years in Oklahoma. During much of that time I was the attorney or record for over 100 police officers charged often with using excessive force during an arrest. I know the challenges of their job. I then moved to Arkansas to take an in-house legal department role with Walmart Stores – where I served another almost 18 years. I represented Walmart in multiple Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal across the nation.
2. In 2011, I was appointed by the Governor to fill a vacancy for Circuit Court Judge over the felony criminal docket in Benton County.
3. In 2013, my name was submitted to the President of the United States to be considered for a life-time appointment as a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Arkansas. The Honorable Tim Brooks received the appointment but I was honored to be in his esteemed company for consideration.
4. In 2013 I formed Comstock Conflict Resolution Services and have provided mediation services to numerous parties and businesses – helping them resolve serious issues of dispute between them – which work I continue to this day. I worked a year part-time at Legal Aid of Arkansas helping folks defend against mortgage foreclosures and rental evictions.
5. For multiple years following I taught at the School of Law for the University of Arkansas, courses such as “Conflict Resolution”, “Arbitration” and “Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiations”. For two semesters, as recently as last Spring, I assisted U.S. District Judge Tim Brooks in the presentation of a “Trial Practice” course.
6. I have pulled together numerous public forums on issues of substantial interest to the community – and have brought substantive presenters, including John Felts, the Chairman of the Pardon and Parole Board to NWA. One of my earlier programs on “Mental Health and Criminal Justice” (where Congressman Steve Womack was the keynote speaker) evolved into the community action group of Judicial Equality for Mental Issues (JEMI) which was a leader in advocating for the NWA Crisis Stabilization Unit we now have in Fayetteville.
7. I worked hard to persuade the national group known as The Bail Project to open an office in NWA in order that poor people could get the benefit of pre-trial release and the presumption of innocence to which they are entitled.
8. Routinely, I perform 30-40 hours of volunteer pro bono work for members of our community who are poor and do not have the financial ability to hire an attorney for their various legal needs.
I am serious when I say I know what servant-leadership is and that I want to be the best representative that the residents of House District 96 have ever had. I will upload a video discussion soon. www.joncomstockforarkansas.commm .
P.S. Sorry that I am late again. I know today is Thursday!