Trial date set for Fort Smith woman for contempt for violating court rules earlier in the month
A hearing was held Thursday afternoon in Courtroom 104 in Sebastian County District Court to set a trial date for a Fort Smith woman who used a cellphone to take pictures during a court proceeding back on April 5.
Darla Roachelle Lackey, 48, of Fort Smith, was arrested on April 18 on a misdemeanor charge of contempt of court. Lackey's inquiry to set her court date was set for Monday, but she appeared without an attorney and was given until Thursday to obtain legal counsel.
Lackey showed up for court again on Thursday without a lawyer present, but she told the court that she had obtained legal representation. The trial date on the contempt charge was set for May 2 at 1:30 p.m. in Sebastian County District Court.
After the judge dismissed Lackey from Court on Thursday, Today in Fort Smith editor and publisher Dennis McCaslin was called to the podium in the courtroom. Since McCaslin was a subject of the pictures that Lackey took in court on April 5, the court officially subpoenaed him to appear as a witness at the May 2 trial.
There was also an incident in the courtroom hallway prior to the hearing on Thursday in which McCaslin and the boyfriend of Lackey had a verbal exchange after the boyfriend attempted to intimidate McCaslin as he was trying to enter the courtroom.
Lackey is somewhat of a local social media terrorist, who has attacked dozens of people over the past two-and-a-half years for failing to agree with her agenda in her endless attacks on McCaslin and Today in Fort Smith. Lackey's attacks on local organizations and individuals have been ongoing for at least five years.
Lackey will also be back in court on May 26, as she faces contempt charges in a separate case evolving from a slander and defamation suit she filed against another local woman.
Lackey, who seemingly was trying to represent herself in that case, failed to respond to a motion to compel to answer discovery by the defendant, and a judge ruled earlier in the month that Lackey can present no evidence at trial claiming contempt against the other party.
The responding defendant filed a counter suit and gave the court a number of examples of Lackey committing contempt after a judge ordered her and the other party to no longer engage in conversation on social media that could be considered libelous.
Therefore, the May 26th court proceedings places Lackey in danger of being found guilty of contempt of court in two separate cases in a. four week period.
Lackey is a convicted felon out of the state of Kansas where she did prison time back in the early 2000's for forgery, theft, and drug charges. She is the founder of a non-proft organization Pay it Forward Fort Smith that was evicted from a building on North 10th Street after failing to pay rent for a number of months.
Lackey was ordered to pay the landlord almost $5000 during the eviction proceeding. The former landlord has not received any compensation from that judgement.
Lackey lost another case last year in which she tried to sue a local man who she claimed hit vehicles in her yard on May Avenue in Fort Smith. The judge in that case found in favor of the defendant, saying that Lackey's "evidence" in the case, supplied by her own "investigation" into the matter, did not reach the level of proof needed for the court to rule in her favor.
Lackey was sued earlier this month in small claims court by another local man who sought the return of furnishings and other items he had loaned to the non-profit as a well as $140 in cash he had loaned to Lackey personally. Lackey lost that case when the judge stated in open court that Lackey's "evidence" and testimony was not credible and awarded the plaintiff almost $1800, none of which has been paid.
On March 16, 2022 a business owned by Lackey "Fort Smith Handyman" was sanctioned by the Arkansas Contractor's Licensing Board (ACLB) for doing work on a project that was over $10,000 in value while the company was unlicensed and unbonded. The fine amount for the 11 days it took to complete the project was $4400 ($400 per day X 11 days).
As of May 27, that fine has still not been paid.
You can click HERE to see the previous stories we have posted on Lackey and her various court appearances.