Parking lot tiff between judge and politician's son leads to ethics investigation

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A parking lot tiff between a judge and the son of a former House of Representatives speaker in Arkansas has led to an ethics investigation by the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.

Davy Carter, a former Arkansas House of Representatives speaker, tweeted about the incident involving his son and Judge Brad Karren of Benton County, Arkansas, report the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, KATV, Law & Crime and the New York Post.

Carter said he and his wife were having dinner in Bentonville, Arkansas, on April 30 and asked their oldest son, a college student, to join them. After the dinner, the son left with Carter’s wife about 30 seconds ahead of him.

When Carter walked to his son’s parking lot, he said, he “saw a very angry man with a gun on his hip and a cane berating my son and wife because my son parked in ‘his’ parking spot. It was beyond berating, and, like any dad or husband, immediately caught my attention.”

The angry man was Karren, Carter said. Carter’s son has parked in a government parking lot, thinking he could park there after 5 p.m. The son did not see a sign warning that the specific parking place was “reserved parking 24/7.”

Carter said his son and his wife repeatedly apologized to the judge, but they were “met with rabid fury and anger.”

A video of the incident showed Karren tossing his cane to the ground as he steps toward Carter. Carter later deleted the video, but several people who copied it added music to the cane throw on Twitter. The New York Post also had the video.

The dispute ended after a bailiff stepped between the judge and Carter.

Karren is administrative judge for Benton County’s seven circuits who handles criminal cases.

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