BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Former Benton County Judge Jon Comstock will receive a new trial in the contempt of court charge levied against him on July 8.
In an August 5 court filing, Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green granted prosecutor Nathan Smith’s request to withdraw as the prosecutor for Comstock’s trial. Judge Green instructed the Arkansas Prosecutor Coordinator, Bob McMahon, to seek and recommend a “suitably qualified special prosecutor for this case.”
Smith filed a request to withdraw on August 4, noting that since the court had granted the motion for a new trial for Comstock, “the proceedings will, by necessity, become adversarial.” Smith added that the state felt it would be “in the interest of justice” to appoint a special prosecutor.
While Mr. Comstock enjoys a cordial, professional relationship with the Prosecuting Attorney, Mr. Comstock and the Prosecuting Attorney have publicly debated the proposed expansion of a new Benton County Criminal Justice Complex at several different public forums within the past few months. While such debates are appropriate and valuable in an open society, further involvment in this unique case by the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office could create the unwarranted suspicion that political differences were influencing prosecutorial decisions.Nathan Smith, Benton County prosecuting attorney, August 4 court filing
Comstock, 72, was jailed on July 8 after disrupting a bond hearing at the Benton County Jail. Judge Chris Griffin ordered him to serve a five-day sentence at the Benton County Jail, with four and a half days suspended. Comstock has already served the twelve-hour sentence but sought to have the criminal charge vacated or to be granted a new trial regarding the charge.
On July 27, Comstock’s attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, filed a court brief asking the Benton County Circuit Court to recuse itself from the case.