Parker ruled fit to stand trial
A Green Forest man who was arrested in August 2019 after allegedly threatening a circuit court judge suffers from mental disease but has the capacity to understand the legal proceedings against him and to effectively assist in his defense, according to a doctor who examined him last month.
Lance Joseph Parker, 29, is charged with threatening a judicial official and aggravated assault on a family or household member. He was arrested on Aug. 9, 2019, at a residence on Carroll County Road 955, according to court documents. The arrest came less than three hours after Parker allegedly made threats toward Carroll County Circuit Judge Scott Jackson during a phone call with probation/parole officer Suzanne Villines.
Parker allegedly said “that he knew where Judge Jackson lives and where his family lives. He stated he was going to get even with Judge Jackson,” according to an affidavit written by Carroll County Sheriff’s Office deputy Daniel Mehn.
In a separate investigative report, Mehn writes that Parker was taken into custody without incident. During the transport to the Carroll County Detention Center, Parker said: “I wonder if Judge Jackson will like flipping burgers at Wendy’s,” according to Mehn’s report. He later asked Mehn: “Do you think Judge Jackson would like to polish the wheels on (Parker’s) truck?” the report says.
Parker underwent a court-ordered mental examination in September 2019 at Ozark Guidance Center in Springdale. Clinical psychologist Donala K. Jordan, who examined Parker, wrote in a report filed Nov. 24, 2019, that although Parker had the capacity to understand the proceedings against him, he lacked the capacity to assist effectively in his own defense.
In September 2020, Parker was committed to the Arkansas State Hospital in Little Rock, where he was examined on Nov. 9 by Dr. Vanessa Freeman, a forensic psychiatry fellow at the hospital.
In a report submitted Dec. 14, Freeman diagnosed Parker with delusional disorder, currently in partial remission, and methamphetamine disorder, in sustained remission in a controlled environment.
Freeman wrote that Parker “verbalized grandiose and paranoid delusions” during the interview.
Parker properly identified a picture of a courtroom and identified the location of courtroom participants including a judge, jury, attorneys and a testifying witness, Freeman wrote. He also correctly described the role of various participants and described how he could assist his attorney.
“It is my opinion that, at the time of the examination, the defendant had a factual and rational understanding of the proceedings against him and had the capacity to effectively assist his attorney,” Freeman wrote.
Parker originally was arrested in April 2019 after he allegedly rammed a vehicle driven by a Berryville woman after a domestic dispute at the woman’s home. Jackson was the original judge presiding in that case but recused himself in May 2019. The Arkansas Supreme Court then appointed Saline County Circuit Judge Gary Arnold to preside over the case.
After Parker’s arrest in August 2019, Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Rogers asked Arnold to appoint a special prosecutor. Arnold initially appointed Jason Barrett of Maumelle to serve as special prosecutor, then appointed Hugh Finkelstein of Little Rock to replace Barrett after Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Barrett to serve as prosecuting attorney for Montgomery and Polk counties.
Parker is represented by public defender Beau Allen.