LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A federal prosecutor has appealed a ruling and is asking for a Hot Spring County sheriff to be placed in jail.
Sheriff Scott Finkbeiner is currently free on a $5,000 bond after being charged with obstruction of justice in the Western District or Arkansas federal court last Friday. Prosecutors allege that Finkbeiner interfered with a May FBI investigation into a drug house in the county.
In the Nov. 3 hearing where bond was set, prosecutors asked at the time that Finkbeiner not be released. The reasoning used then was the reasoning in the appeal filed Wednesday.
In the appeal, prosecutor Assistant United States Attorney Bryan Achorn lists how Finkbeiner’s unique position as a sheriff charged with obstruction is a serious risk of either fleeing or interfering with the court case the government is bringing against him.
The prosecutor presented a list of reasons why he felt Finkbeiner should be taken into custody:
- Finkbeiner is willing to obstruct, having been charged with obstruction of justice, and at the hearing the Magistrate Judge upheld the charges, the prosecutor stated.
- As a sheriff, Finkbeiner has access to the National and Arkansas Crime Information Center databases, giving him the ability to collect information on witnesses or potential witnesses.
- The sheriff has access to the department’s evidence room and has admitted to using controlled substances, which are presumably accessible in the evidence room.
- The sheriff has access to department radios and other communication equipment and could monitor law enforcement activities.
- The government’s investigation allegedly shows that Finkbeiner forced a woman to smoke methamphetamine and perform a sex act while he was at the drug house.
- The same investigation alleges that Finkbeiner has tried to “spook” an unnamed Hot Spring County elected official who was looking into his drug activities. Finkbeiner also allegedly began an official investigation into the unnamed official.
The prosecutor stated in his appeal that these reasons were enough to mandate a detention hearing.
On Monday, Finkbeiner posted to the department’s Facebook page:
“I want to start by saying please pray for my family and friends! This has been a nightmare for all of us. We are working on my legal defense and I have been advised by legal counsel to not discuss my case until the appropriate time. However, I do want to emphatically say I DID NOT OBSTRUCT JUSTICE in any way!! In fact it is the contrary. Thank you for the huge outpouring of support!! Its my hope that you can all come to the trial and see the truth! I will discuss more at a later date.”Facebook post on Nov. 6 signed by Sheriff Scott Finkbeiner