FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 1990

Prosecutor-elect targets task force foe

Democrat Benton Bureau

BENTON - The 7th Judicial District's not big enough for him and the director of its anti-drug task force, prosecutor-elect Dan Harmon said Wednesday.
    "There is no room in my administration for Jean Duffey," Harmon said.
    Duffey, who was out of town on task force business Wednesday, could not be reached for comment.
    That's just one of the changes Harmon hopes to make after taking office Jan. 1, 1991. Harmon won Tuesday's Democratic primary and faces no Republican opposition. Final results of Tuesday's vote have Harmon with 15,397 votes to 8,535 for Richard Mattison.
    Duffey is just one of the enemies the outspoken Harmon has made. Harmon was voted in this month's issue of Arkansas Times magazine, calling Dr. Fahmy Malak, the state medical examiner, a dangerous, unbalanced "son of a b****."
    Harmon lead the 1988 grand jury investigation into the deaths of two Bryant teenagers which contradicted Malak's ruling of accidental death.
    Harmon said it was more than his highly visible role in that investigation and colorful quotes that got him elected.
    "There just hasn't been much prosecution in this district for years," Harmon said. "I told people we were going to have to spend more money, pay deputy prosecutors more, hire more staff and buy a computer system, and I still won."
    Harmon carried all three counties in the 7th District - Saline County by 57 percent, Hot Spring County by 69 percent and Grant County by almost 75 percent.
    "I believe the changes can be financed by adding to court costs and fines, so we can get a system that's not 25 years out of date without charging the taxpayer," Harmon said.
    "We're going to move that docket," Harmon said. "In my first six months, you'll see a tremendous increase in the cases being resolved."
    Harmon has served as prosecutor before, for one term beginning in 1978. He dropped out of the race for re-election after he declared personal bankruptcy.
    "I'm not going to get in that shape again," Harmon said. "It means I won't be a full-time prosecutor like I was then, which is why I got in that shape. I'm going to keep a private practice this time and rely more on my deputies."
    Asked if the animosities between him and people like Duffey, lawmen and the medical examiner might interfere, Harmon said that "they will do there (sic) job and I'll do mine. I think anybody who works with the prosecutor will be delighted with he prosecuting attorney's officer whether they like me or not.
    "The only person I know who failed miserably to do his duty to the best of his ability is Dr. Malak. Everybody else will do fine."
    Asked why he couldn't extend Duffey the same treatment, Harmon said: "There are more serious crimes than neglecting or abuse of an animal, yet that's what she'd rather spend time prosecuting. I also think she's wasted task force money on automatic rifles and surveillance equipment that might be nice in New York City, but is not essential in rural Arkansas."
    Harmon and Duffey, publicly and often, have held each other in mutual disdain since June of 1988. That was the month that Duffey, a founding member of Arkansans for Animals, participated in a raid on an alleged puppy mill in Saline County.
    Harmon, a Benton lawyer, represents the owner of the alleged puppy mill. The dogs Arkansans for Animals seized were eventually returned and the owner comes to trial July 10.

Demise of Jean Duffey's Task Force