A drug dealer sentenced to 40 years in prison filed suit Tuesday alleging
his rights were violated when former Prosecuting Attorney Dan Harmon of
Benton tried to extort thousands of dollars from him in exchange for a
Jimmy Doyle Bumgardner, 26, of Sheridan filed a federal complaint seeking
relief from his 40 year sentence, citing Harmon's federal indictment on
racketeering, drug and extortion charges.
"Petitioner was extorted for money to reduce the sentence, he did not pay
it, and his sentence was not reduced," says the complaint, filed by Little
Rock attorney John Wesley Hall Jr. "Also, false testimony was given at his
suppression hearing to facilitate the plan."
Bumgardner is the first person to file a federal challenge to his
conviction and sentence since Harmon, the former prosecuting attorney for
Grant, Saline and Hot Spring counties, was indicted in April.
Harmon was prosecuting attorney for the 7th Judicial District from 1979-80
and from 1991 to July 1996, when he resigned after pleading guilty to
misdemeanor charges in state court.
The indictment alleges that Harmon ran his office as an "organized criminal
enterprise" and repeatedly demanded money from those he was supposed to be
prosecuting in exchange for lighter sentences or release.
"I cant predict whether we'll see any more [such lawsuits] or not," Kelly
Hill, a deputy attorney general, said. "The allegations may be made, but
they're going to have to be proved."
Hill said she hadn't read the complaint and couldn't comment.
Representatives from the U.S. attorney's office prosecuting Harmon and his
seven codefendants also declined to comment.
Harmon denied trying to get money from Bumgardner.
"Jimmy pleaded guilty to 40 years," Harmon said. "I don't know of any
relief he'd be entitled to after all this time."
Bumgardner admits in his complaint that he was a drug dealer. He pleaded
guilty April 2l, 1994, in Grant County to drug charges and was sentenced to
He pleaded guilty simultaneously to a Saline County drug charge and was
sentenced to 10 years in prison, to be served at the same time. He pleaded
guilty to a drug charge two months later in Faulkner County and was
sentenced to seven years in prison, to be served simultaneously with his
But Bumgardner is challenging only the Grant County conviction, claiming he
would be eligible for parole without the 40-year sentence.
Bumgardner's suit alleges that Roger Walls, the former head of the drug
task force based in Harmon's office, lied under oath at a hearing in his
case to help set up the extortion scheme. Walls is charged with Harmon in
The complaint also says a defense attorney told Bumgardner that if he paid
$30,000 his sentence would be reduced. The defense attorney, now deceased
and not' named in the complaint, later told him the puce was $40,000.
The complaint contends Bumgardner thought he was paying a fine, but when he
tried to pay $10,000 toward the obligation, Harmon wouldn't accept a check
that was when he realized the "payment to reduce the sentence was not for a
lawful purpose," according to the suit.
Jack Lassiter, Walls attorney, said his client didn't participate in any
"Walls said that he did not perjure himself at that hearing or any other,"
"He did not participate in extorting money from anyone, and he didn't lie