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Harry Barnes

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Harry Barnes
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas
Title:   Senior Federal Judge
Position:   Seat #4T
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   11/22/1993 - 11/1/2008
Senior:   11/1/2008 - Present
Preceded by:   Morris Arnold
Succeeded by:   Susan Hickey
Personal History
Born:   1932
Hometown:   Memphis, TN
Undergraduate:   United States Naval Academy, 1956
Law School:   University of Arkansas School of Law, 1964
Military service:   U.S. Marine Corps 1956 - 1986

Harry F. Barnes is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Barnes is on senior status. He works out of the court's office in El Dorado, Arkansas.[1]

Early life and education

Barnes graduated from the United States Naval Academy with his bachelor's degree in 1956 and later graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law with his juris doctorate degree in 1964. Barnes served in the U.S. Marine Corps on active duty from 1956 to 1961 and on the Marine Corps Reserves from 1964 to 1986.[2]

Professional career

Barnes served as a private practice attorney in the State of Arkansas from 1964 to 1982 and started his judicial career as a part-time municipal judge in Camden County and Ouachita County from 1975 to 1982. From 1982 to 1993, Barnes served on the Arkansas Thirteenth Circuit.[2]

Judicial career

Western District of Arkansas

On the recommendations of Senators David Pryor and Dale Bumpers, Barnes was nominated by President Bill Clinton on October 27, 1993, to a seat vacated by Judge Morris Arnold. Barnes was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 20, 1993, on a Senate vote and received commission on November 22, 1993. Barnes assumed senior status on November 1, 2008.[2]

Notable cases

Tony Alamo Christian Ministries case (2012)

     United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas (Tony Alamo Christian Ministries v. John M. Selig, No. 10-1424)

Judge Barnes dismissed a civil lawsuit filed by the staff of Tony Alamo Christian ministries against the Arkansas Department of Human Services on February 1, 2010. Tony Alamo Ministries filed a lawsuit claiming the Arkansas government agency responsible for child welfare efforts violated their First Amendment rights by taking the children away from their compound. The judge found that the Arkansas Department of Human Services acted legally when raiding the compounds in September and November of 2008.[3] The case was appealed and upheld by the Eighth Circuit.[4]

Tony Alamo case (2009)

     United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas (United States of America v. Bernie Lazar Hoffman, No. 09-3651)

Judge Barnes presided in the trial of jailed evangelist Tony Alamo. Almo, a 74 year-old evangelist, was charged with 10 counts of taking young girls across state lines for sex. Prosecutors and defense lawyers met with Judge Barnes in a pre-trial conference on July 10, 2009. The conference discussed specifics for the trial and briefed both sides of the judge's expectations before the trial began.[5] The Alamo defense team filed a set of motions to Judge Barnes before the conference began. During the July 10th conference, Judge Barnes allowed the Alamo defense team's motion to bar certain words said during testimony. Those words include "polygamy," "cult," and "compound".[5] However, the judge disallowed a separate motion to require federal prosecutors to use the names of FBI informants during a September 2008 raid of his ranch in Arkansas.[6] Because of the trial's high-profile and emotion, extra security officers patrolled the courthouse.[5]

On July 13, 2009, jury selection began in the trial. A pool of more than 200 potential jurors were questioned by prosecutors and defense lawyers. The court selected a group of fifty to seventy jurors. The practice is common in high-profile trials to have a large pool.[7] If in the event if a juror is disqualified, there are replacements ready without compromising the trial. The next day, the jury of nine men and three women in the trial were sworn in by Judge Barnes.

Federal prosecutors and Alamo's attorneys gave their opening statements on July 14, 2009.[8] On the same day, the judge rejected a request by the defense to get mental health records of three girls called to testify for the prosecution.[7] On July 15, 2009, the first round of testimony began in the Tony Alamo trial. U.S. Attorneys for the Western District of Arkansas began their round of testimony by calling women who were alleged to be victims of the evangelist.[9] Tony Alamo said to reporters outside of the courthouse on July 21, 2009 that he planned to testify in the trial.[10] Alamo said this statement before the prosecution wrapped up their testimony on the same day.[10] Defense attorneys planned to call ten witnesses to testify when they presented their case in the trial.[10]

A jury found Alamo guilty of 10 counts of bringing girls across state lines for sex on July 24, 2009.[11] After his conviction, Alamo's defense team filed a motion to Judge Barnes for a new trial. The judge denied the request on September 8, 2009 as the judge cited there was not enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to grant a new trial.[11] On November 13, 2009, Judge Barnes sentenced the former minister to 175 years in prison. During the emotionally charged sentencing, the judge said that Alamo used his status as minister to commit the crimes he was convicted for. The judge said to Alamo: "Mr. Alamo, one day you will face a higher a greater judge than me, may he have mercy on your soul."[12] Attorneys for Alamo on April 16, 2010, filed for a request for a new trial. Alamo's legal team feels that the judge injected his own religious views during the time of his sentencing when the former evangelist was sentenced to the maximum term on all 10 counts he was convicted. Alamo appealed to Eighth Circuit, where the decision was upheld.[13]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Morris Arnold
Western District of Arkansas
Seat #4T
Succeeded by:
Susan Hickey

ArkansasArkansas Supreme CourtArkansas Court of AppealsArkansas Circuit CourtsArkansas District CourtsArkansas City CourtsUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of ArkansasUnited States District Court for the Western District of ArkansasUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern and Western Districts of ArkansasUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitArkansas countiesArkansas judicial newsArkansas judicial electionsJudicial selection in ArkansasArkansasTemplate.jpg