Fort Smith "non-profit" director jailed for second time in a month on contempt of court charges
A litigious 48-year-old Fort Smith woman whose legal maneuverings seemingly keep backfiring was arrested and jailed for the second time in just over two weeks on Tuesday according to information from the Sebastian County Detention Center.
Darla Rochelle Lackey, who filed a slander and defamation suit that was thrown out of court and later turned into an attempted contempt of court situation at her own behest, landed in jail for the second time in the month of May after her arrest Tuesday afternoon.
Lackey, who failed to appear for a trial last week in Sebastian County Circuit Court, was found guilty in abstention and sentenced to 48 hours in jail at the end of a long and convoluted case against another Fort Smith woman. In essence, Lackey lost a case that would have never been tried had she not defied the original judges order and brought proceedings back to the courtroom after they were originally dropped with prejudice.
The second contempt charge in less than a month involved lackey's attempt to have Susanna Sisson arrested on contempt charges after an original trial was thrown out of court last year by the Honorable Diana Ladd. Lackey had claimed Sisson slandered her and harmed her now almost defunct non-profit Pay it Forward Fort Smith when she reported a theft of grant funds to the Fort Smith Police Department.
Judge Ladd threw that case out of court, dismissing it with prejudice which means the matter could not be brought back before the court. Lackey defied the judge by exploiting a legal back door and claiming contempt after the fact and reopening the case against the courts wishes last year.
Lackey provided the court with one example of what she claimed was contempt by Sisson after the judge had ordered both women to stand down in their posts on social media.
In her counter suit, Sisson was able to show hundreds of examples of Lackey violating not only the original court order but the order handed down by the judge after the contempt case was challenged by Sisson.
Sisson's attorney was able to get sanctions against Lackey because she never answered discovery in the original or contempt case and the judge was forced to rule that any evidence she might have had showing contempt would not be allowed in court.
On May 26 lackey failed the show for the trial and Ladd had no choice but to find Lackey on contempt. She sentenced Lackey to 48 hours in jail and issued a judgment in the amount of $2,500 to pay Sisson
s attorney fees.
Lackey now has a total of just over $8,000 in judgments from local courts. She lost a case against a former landlord for the Pay it Forward non-profit after an eviction, a Fort Smith man was handed a victory in a small claims case for over $1,700 last month, as well the $2,500 judgment to attorney Sam Sexton III in her latest attempt to manipulate the legal system.
It was the second time in just over two weeks Lackey spent time in Sebastian County detention center after an arrest for contempt charges. Earlier this month she was arrested after she took photos during a court session and posted them on social media. Today in Fort Smith publisher Dennis McCaslin, who has been a victim of slander, defamation, harassment, and whose family has also been attacked by lackey over the past two-and-one-half-year, was the subject of those photographs.
Lackey and a unlicensed and unbonded, handyman service that she owns was also fined $4400 by the governing board over Arkansas contractors for working on an illegal remodeling product over the course of 11 days last year.
Today in Fort Smith has been told of at least two other pending civil actions in the process of being filed against lackey and her fiancé, Pay it forward Fort Smith and the Pay it Forward board of directors.
According to a phone call this week to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office, Pay it Forward Fort Smith is not in compliance with the rules and regulations governing non-profits in the state of Arkansas because of failure to file certain paperwork over the past two years.
Because of that non-compliance, the "non-profit} is not legally allowed to raise funds in the state of Arkansas until the proper paperwork has been filed.
Lackey is scheduled tp be released from jail on June 1 at 5:50 p.m.