Searcy County, Ark. judge sentenced to five years probation in harassment case

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 4:00 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2021 at 4:11 PM CDT
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SEARCY COUNTY, Ark. (KY3) - A Searcy County, Arkansas judge has been sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to criminal charges that stem from June 2020.

Jim Harness, a resident of Marshall, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of breaking or entering and misdemeanor charges of first-degree criminal mischief, interference with emergency communication and harassment.

According to the Searcy County Sheriff’s Office, a woman who identified as the estranged wife of Harness called authorities in June 2020. She said Harness had forced his way into her home in Marshall, Arkansas without permission.

Units with the Searcy County Sheriff’s Department and the Marshall Police Department responded to the call and Harness was detained nearby. Investigators say evidence showed that the front door of the residence was “kicked or forced in,” and inoperable.

Under Arkansas code, elected county officials who have been found guilty of certain crimes are prohibited from holding public office. According to a special prosecutor, Harness’ guilty plea to a felony will likely disqualify him from continuing in his role of county judge. Since his arrest, he had been serving in office pending possible removal.

According to the Searcy County Sheriff’s Office, Harness will not spend time in jail as long as he meets the conditions of his probation.

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