Lawyer accused of conspiring to commit rape wants charges dropped

Daniel Arthur Stewart, a former Sebastian County public defender accused of conspiring to commit rape, is asking a Faulkner County judge to dismiss his case.

 

Stewart, 48, was arrested last year after arranging with undercover investigators to meet up with who he thought was a man and his 13-year-old son. He was later released from the county jail on a $250,000 bond.

Defense Attorney Michael Kiel Kaiser of the James Law Firm filed a motion Friday to dismiss Stewart’s case.

Kaiser said the case should be dismissed because the “two alleged overt acts” Faulkner County prosecutors have charged Stewart with conspiracy to commit rape over occurred in Sebastian County.

Faulkner County prosecutors charged Stewart with conspiracy to commit rape after he allegedly rented a room at the Hampton Inn in Fort Smith and for “communicating an invitation for a sexual encounter on March 19, 2016” and giving a Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office investigator directions to the hotel room, according to the motion to dismiss.

“All of these alleged overt acts occurred in Fort Smith, Arkansas, which is located in Sebastian County and part of the Twelfth Judaical District,” the motion reads. “None of the alleged overt acts occurred within the geographic area of Faulkner County or the Twentieth Judicial District. This Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the above-captioned case, and is an improper venue for this prosecution. Accordingly, this case must be dismissed.”

Bobby R. Digby II, who also works at the James Law Firm, requested statements made by Stewart following his arrest not be used as evidence.

“Any statements taken during the custodial interrogation were the result of coercion, physical intimidation, and/or unauthorized promises of leniency by members of the arresting police agency, and are therefore involuntary and inadmissible for any purpose,” he said.

The James Law Firm filed a handful of motions in Stewart’s case Thursday and Friday including requests for evidence, requests for the disclosure of statements and a hearing on the admissibility of statements and others.

Stewart, who has pleaded not guilty, is set to appear next in Faulkner County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. April 11 for a pretrial hearing. He also has a two-day jury trial set to begin May 8.

Background

FCSO deputies arrested Stewart March 19, 2016, on suspicion of conspiring to commit rape after he began communicating online with an undercover investigator and made arrangements to meet up with a minor.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the investigator saw an online ad seeking a “young guy” or “son” and later identified him as Stewart by “using information obtained from the suspect in the chat, his Kik user, and his Kik profile photograph.”

Stewart made plans to meet up with the deputy and his undercover profile’s 13-year-old son, according to the affidavit.

Three FCSO deputies and two FBI investigators, who assisted with the case, met Stewart at the Hampton Inn in Fort Smith. They confiscated a blue tote that had miscellaneous pornographic items and an iPhone and took him to the Fort Smith Police Department for questioning, where he was later transferred to the Faulkner County Detention Center.

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