Salem attorney's many jobs questioned.IN THE WEEKS SINCE AN Arkansas Business report raised questions about Salem attorney C. Dwayne Plumlee's various roles in the justice system, others have said they too have noticed apparent conflicts of interest.
In addition to being a practicing private attorney, Plumlee holds part-time jobs as assistant prosecuting attorney for Fulton County
n. 1. (Zool.) A variety of the chamois found in the Pyrenees. County. Plumlee also is the attorney for the Bank of Salem and serves on its board of directors.
Plumlee might be in such high demand because in Salem, a town of about 1,500, there are only two attorneys: Plumlee and James R. Short, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Arkansas Supreme Court The Arkansas Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of Arkansas. It consists of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. The Justices are elected in a non-partisan election for a term of eight years. clerk's office.
In December, Arkansas Business reported that Plumlee declined to prosecute a Bank of Salem teller who admitted stealing night deposits. Plumlee is scheduled to go to trial in March in U.S. District Court over allegations that he deprived a Jonesboro man of access to his own property and overstepped his bounds when he sent a threatening letter on behalf of a client.
Meanwhile, it appears the state attorney general's office is looking into Plumlee's position as Horsehoe Bend judge.
Plumlee didn't return a call for comment on the various complaints against him.
Charles Dabbs of Salem, who works as an agent for Afford-able Bail Bonds A written promise signed by a defendant or a surety (one who promises to act in place of another) to pay an amount fixed by a court should the defendant named in the document fail to appear in court for the designated criminal proceeding at the date and time specified. Inc. of Mountain Home, said he has been trying since 1999 to get Plumlee removed from some of the part-time jobs he's held.
In October, Dabbs wrote Attorney General Mike Beebe Michael Dale Beebe (born December 28 1946) is the current Governor of Arkansas and a member of the Democratic Party. Background
Beebe was born in Amagon, a small town in Jackson County, Arkansas. He was reared by his mother, a waitress, and never met his father. and asked him to remove Plumlee from the judge's position. Dabbs said Plumlee can't be a municipal judge in a county he doesn't live in.
"From reading the AG opinions it appears clear that this one individual cannot be a city attorney AND a prosecuting attorney, either--nor can he be on the board of directors of a bank since he is a judge," Dabbs wrote.
Assistant Attorney General Christine Cryer CRYER, practice. An officer in a court whose duty it is to make various proclamations ordered by the court. replied in a Nov. 18 letter that she will be investigating the "alleged usurpation Usurpation
presumptuously assumed David’s throne before Solomon’s investiture. [O.T.: I Kings 1:5–10]
takeover of Austria (1938). [Eur. Hist. regarding Carl Dwayne Plumlee as the Horseshoe Bend city judge."
Cryer said last week she couldn't comment on the investigation. Plumlee was still holding court last week, Dabb said.
Dabbs also has filed a complaint with the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission against Plumlee. Dabbs said he hasn't heard the status of that complaint. The commission said it couldn't comment, and wouldn't even say if it received a complaint against Plumlee.
Paul Culbreath of Jonesboro has filed suit in U.S. District Court alleging Plumlee violated his civil rights by keeping him from his property.
Acting as his own attorney, Culbreath said Plumlee stepped over the line as a private attorney and was acting in his role of prosecuting attorney when he sent a letter Warning Culbreath to stay off property owned by Plumlee's client.
"Any further entry by you upon the above described premises shall be considered as a criminal trespass trespass, in law, any physical injury to the person or to property. In English common law the action of trespass first developed (13th cent.) to afford a remedy for injuries to property. and will be dealt with according to law," Plumlee wrote in 1998.
Culbreath took the letter's threat seriously since Plumlee also is a prosecutor
Culbreath has been in a dispute with one of Plumlee's clients over a property easement easement, in law, the right to use the land of another for a specified purpose, as distinguished from the right to possess that land. If the easement benefits the holder personally and is not associated with any land he owns, it is an easement in gross (e.g. since 1997. Culbreath said he has hired four different attorneys and spent around $100,000 trying to gain access to 160 acres of hunting land he owns in Fulton County--in vain, despite a December 2002 Arkansas Supreme Court decision saying he has an easement to get to his property.
"I'm still landlocked landlocked adj. referring to a parcel of real property which has no access or egress (entry or exit) to a public street and cannot be reached except by crossing another's property. as of today," he said.
Culbreath clearly contributed to his own problems: A complaint he filed against the trial judge caused a falling out with the lawyer who had successfully appealed his claim to the state Supreme Court and has delayed further action in the case.
But he lays the primary blame for the entire dispute on Plumlee. He charges that Plumlee recorded land documents that removed the easement in order to smooth the way for the sale of the neighboring neigh·bor
1. One who lives near or next to another.
2. A person, place, or thing adjacent to or located near another.
3. A fellow human.
4. Used as a form of familiar address.
v. property to a woman who didn't want anyone crossing her land. Plumlee was the closing attorney in the land sale.
Plumlee has said in court filings that he didn't even know Culbreath was claiming he had an easement on the land until more than a year after the sale.
The allegations Culbreath made "are not accurate, you can tell that from the pleadings," said Plumlee's attorney, Robert Henry
Born into a farming family at St. Ill of Little Rock. "I would certainly hope that you wouldn't give credence to those as if there's some sort of accuracy to those."
Culbreath also has filed federal lawsuits against some of his former attorneys and the real estate agent and company that handled the closing that led to his easement being removed. The defendants have denied his allegations and their cases are pending.
The question of how Culbreath's easement was removed piqued the interest of the U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock and the FBI. Both agencies investigated Culbreath's allegations between 2001 and 2002, according to a letter by U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins Harry Earnest "Bud" Cummins III, was born in Enid, Oklahoma. He is a former United States Attorney of five years in the Eastern District of Arkansas.
After moving to Little Rock, and working in the construction business, Cummins obtained a law degree from the William H. dated July 24, 2002.
Cummins said his office decided to take no action in the case. "We lack a good faith reason to believe we can meet our burden of proving any allegations made," Cummins wrote.
Culbreath's lawsuit against Plumlee is scheduled to go to trial on March 28. Plumlee has asked the case be dismissed, saying Culbreath doesn't have a case. That motion is pending.
To gain access to his land, Culbreath first sued the person who sold him the land, Marjoria DeShazo, and the property owner who wouldn't let Culbreath use her land, Bonnie bon·ny also bon·nie
adj. bon·ni·er, bon·ni·est Scots
1. Physically attractive or appealing; pretty.
2. Excellent. Hodge.
When the case went to trial in the Fulton County Chancery Court The Chancery Court of York is an ecclesiastical court for the Province of York of the Church of England.
The presiding officer, the Official Principal and Auditor, has been the same person as the Dean of the Arches since the nineteenth century . in November 2001, Culbreath said he felt he was going to lose, which he did.
But it was during the trial that several key developments occurred.
Culbreath said his attorney, Eric Hance of Batesville, should have called Plumlee--who represented Hodge in the case--as a witness, but didn't. Hance didn't return a carl seeking comment.
DeShazo testified that Plumlee misled her into signing documents that removed the easement on Culbreath's land.
In a two-page handwritten hand·write
tr.v. hand·wrote , hand·writ·ten , hand·writ·ing, hand·writes
To write by hand.
[Back-formation from handwritten.]
Adj. 1. letter to Culbreath in 2004, DeShazo said she felt she was deceived by Plumlee, whom she trusted and thought was her friend.
She added in the letter that she knew about the permanent easement her late husband had put on the original deed for the property Hodge purchased.
Plumlee said in an affidavit affidavit
Written statement made voluntarily, confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the party making it, and signed before an officer empowered to administer such oaths. that he did not intentionally deceive TO DECEIVE. To induce another either by words or actions, to take that for true which is not so. Wolff, Inst. Nat. Sec. 356. anyone.
"If Mrs. DeShazo had a question or a reservation, I would have done my best to answer her questions," Plumlee wrote.
As Hodge's defense attorney, Plumlee questioned DeShazo at trial about conversations the two had conceming the removal of the easement:
"Ms. DeShazo, you don't recall me calling you prior to April the ninth and discussing the easement problems with you and asking you to come by and sign curative curative /cur·a·tive/ (kur´ah-tiv) tending to overcome disease and promote recovery.
1. Serving or tending to cure.
2. documents?" Plumlee asked.
"You never discussed an easement with me," DeShazo said.
"I never discussed that there was a problem in that there was an easement that went down into the middle of the property and seemed to stop--," he said. "No, sir," she said. "--and go nowhere?"
"No, sir," DeShazo said.
Also at the trial, testimony by Danny Perryman, owner of Perryman Realty of Viola, would come back to haunt Plumlee.
Perryman said on the stand that he never discussed the easement with Hodge or DeShazo.
But Plumlee earlier had prepared an affidavit for Perryman for a complaint DeShazo filed with the Arkansas Real Estate Commission. In that affidavit, Perryman said he had discussed the easement contingency with Hodge and DeShazo.
At the trial, Perryman testified he didn't even know what was in the affidavit because he didn't prepare it and he didn't read it, Culbreath said.
Culbreath then filed a complaint with the Arkansas Supreme Court Office of Professional Conduct against Plumlee for making the false statement.
In Plumlee's response to the ethics complaint, Plumlee said Perryman signed the document and attested at·test
v. at·test·ed, at·test·ing, at·tests
1. To affirm to be correct, true, or genuine: The date of the painting was attested by the appraiser.
2. it was true and correct. Plumlee said he didn't knowingly make a false statement.
But the Office of Professional Conduct found otherwise. It reprimanded Plumlee for making a false statement in January 2004. He was fined $50.
Teller still not charged with theft
DEBRA DEBRA Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America FOUNTAIN, OWNER of Salem Fuel Center, says she has heard "not one word" from Assistant Prosecuting Attorney C. Dwayne Plumlee since she complained publicly about his failure to prosecute a Bank of Salem teller who stole from her night deposits.
Fountain's suspicion that Plumlee ignored the woman's confession because he is the bank's lawyer and serves on its board of directors was reported by Arkansas Business on Dec. 6 and was subsequently reported by other news organizations.
In Fountain's situation, Sandra Layne admitted to an Arkansas state police investigator that she repeatedly stole cash from night deposits made by Fountain's convenience store. Fountain also said she had mounds of evidence to prove her case, but Plumlee never filed charges--either as the state's prosecuting attorney or as the city attorney.
In December, Plumlee said he wouldn't comment on the case because it was still open. But the state police file clearly showed the case as closed.