A charge against Searcy County Judge Jimmy “Jim” Dale Harness in connection with a domestic disturbance last June has been upgraded.
Online court documents indicate a Class D felony charge of breaking or entering has been amended to a Class B felony of residential burglary.
Under Arkansas’s laws, the sentence for a Class B felony conviction is five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Class D felonies are the least serious felonies in Arkansas, punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition to the felony, Harness has been charged with misdemeanors of criminal mischief and first-degree interference with emergency communication.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Harness, identified as the estranged husband of the victim, arrived at a residence along Arkansas Highway 27 in Marshall on the evening of June 5 shortly after 11.
Officers from the Searcy County Sheriff’s Office and the Marshall Police Department responded to the residence, after Harness reportedly forced his way into the home.
According to the victim, Harness arrived at the scene, after she advised him via text messages she didn’t want to meet or talk with him.
The woman said Harness arrived at the residence where she and a guest were watching television in the living room and began yelling that he wanted in.
He reportedly beat on the door several times, as well as a window, breaking the glass.
The victim said she and her guest remained quiet, “thinking” Harness would leave.
She said Harness walked back to his truck and then returned to the front door of the residence. He said Harness “kicked” the locked deadbolted door four to six times, “and he was in my house.” The forced entry caused pictures to fall from the wall.
After gaining entry, Harness allegedly began taking pictures of the woman and her guest.
The woman said she tapped her cellphone in an attempt to reach 911, and Harness reportedly seized the device.
After being taken into custody, Harness was released on his own recognizance.