A local Department of Human Services employee must appear for a contempt of court hearing in Faulkner County Circuit Court after she did not return to court as ordered during a domestic battery trial last week.
Circuit Judge H.G. Foster filed a criminal contempt charge against Tiffany Bailey, a local child abuse investigator, after she failed to report back to court as a rebuttal witness.
Bailey was initially called to testify as a defense witness in the case against John Ray Jones of Vilonia.
The 31-year-old was accused of child abuse and faced two felony charges – second-degree domestic battery and aggravated assault on a family or household member. However, a jury of five women and seven men ultimately found that Jones was not guilty and acquitted him of the aforementioned charges on Sept. 3.
The DHS worker was the first witness called to the stand by defense attorney Samuel F. Eastman.
Though the Vilonia father’s son testified that Jones choked him and made him bump his head on June 24, 2019, the child abuse investigator said she did not notice any signs or injuries that would her to believe the then-7-year-old boy was abused. Bailey said that while the boy had a “small, raised area” on his head, “it wasn’t alarming.”
Following her testimony that afternoon, deputy prosecutors Cortney Kennedy and Benjamin Fruehauf requested Bailey return later in the day as a rebuttal witness. Judge Foster upheld the prosecution’s request and extended Bailey’s subpoena.
The DHS worker told court officials she needed to pick up her 6-year-old child and that she planned to take her other child to a ball game in Searcy that night. The judge gave Bailey the OK to pick up her 6-year-old child but ordered her to return to court.
Later that evening, prosecutors attempted to call Bailey to the stand but could not find her. Court officials attempted to call Bailey on her cell phone, but she did not answer. Shortly before the trial ended, Bailey reportedly called one of the 20th Judicial District bailiffs saying she was in Searcy but that she could “return in an hour or so,” according to court documents.
The circuit judge issued a contempt of court warrant against Bailey after she failed to return to court as ordered on Sept. 3.
The DHS worker has since been ordered to appear at 9 a.m. Thursday “to answer charges of criminal contempt,” according to the judge’s order.