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Friday, May 6, 2016

Stewart Lambert's attorney files charges against police

Friday, July 19, 2002

A motion filed July 8 by 3rd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Stewart Lambert's attorney alleges numerous offenses by local law enforcement officers and the state. The allegations include completing a false affidavit, officer misconduct and incompetency, and the accusation that one of the investigators attempted to change the story of a witness.

Kent Rubens, Lambert's attorney, filed the motion. Rubens also requested the deposition of Arkansas State Police Investigator Mack Thompson, Cherokee Village Police Chief Larry Smith, Cherokee Village Police Officer Wendell Lane and Phil Carter with the Arkansas State Police.

"Lambert alleges that the state has steadfastly ignored the written report of the on-scene investigators and cobbled together a false affidavit which was used to obtain the arrest warrant from this court," the motion stated. Statements from Lane's report were included in the motion.

Emphasis was given to Lane's statement: "I advised Stewart that I was not aware that I had to have a warrant to make a traffic stop."

"The chief of police of Cherokee Village signed the first affidavit for warrant of arrest which contains statements that are contradicted by his own officer's incident report," Rubens wrote. "Certainly the chief is not immune from trying to avoid looking less than competent."

Smith said he thinks too much emphasis is being placed on Lane's report.

"I don't understand the emphasis or what difference it makes," Smith said, referring to Lane's use of the words "traffic stop."

The chief said, "It appears to me all of the officers handled the situation very professionally. I feel confident the case is a good case or they wouldn't be spending so much time placing emphasis on what a junior officer said."

Smith said Lane was the most junior officer involved in the incident at Lambert's home, having been employed as a full-time officer only two to three months.

The motion also stated, "The state's investigation reveals that one of its lead investigators, Mack Thompson, attempted to change the story of a witness."

Thompson declined to comment on the allegations.

Motions for discovery were also filed. Among other things, Rubens requested copies of all documents, recorded statements made by each witness the prosecution intends to call at trial and any information indicating chemical use or abuse by any person the prosecution intends to call as a witness.

Lambert, his son, Zachary Lambert, and John Thurman are scheduled to appear in Sharp County Circuit Court July 22 for pretrial hearings. The elder Lambert is charged with a felony count of hindering apprehension or prosecution and a misdemeanor count of obstructing governmental operations. The charges stem from an incident that took place in Cherokee Village Jan. 8 which allegedly involved Zachary Lambert and Thurman. The younger Lambert and Thurman are charged with one count each of aggravated robbery and assault.

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