Attorney to appeal cash-only bond for drug suspect

The attorney for a Pine Bluff man arrested Tuesday after six pounds of suspected marijuana allegedly was found in his vehicle argued unsuccessfully in court Thursday that a cash-only bond requested by a prosecutor was not fair to his client.

Acting on instructions from Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter, Deputy Prosecutor Maxie Kizer asked for a $25,000 cash-only bond for Jarvis Battles, 30, on charges of possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Kizer said Battles has an extensive history of convictions dating back to 2001, is on parole, and “has a history of failures to appear (in court) dating back to 2004.”

Attorney Garfield Bloodman, representing Battles, contended that his client is entitled to “a reasonable bond and $25,000 cash is not reasonable.”

Bloodman also argued that because of a change in state laws, possession of four ounces to 25 pounds of marijuana is a Class C felony, and the cash-only bond is “not what the statute called for.”

Battles was arrested after agents of the Tri-County Drug Task Force received information that a man later identified as Battles was driving in Pine Bluff with a large quantity of marijuana in his vehicle.

Task Force Investigator Danny Fletcher and Pine Bluff Police Detective Keith Willoughby stopped the vehicle driven by Battles for a traffic violation in the area of East Sixth Avenue and Belmont Street. According to Kizer, Battles “exited the vehicle and started walking away while it was running.”

Fletcher reported that he detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, which gave investigators probable cause to search it. A backpack containing several large bags of suspected marijuana were found in the vehicle, along with digital scales and sandwich bags.

Battles had $2,414 in cash on his person and Kizer said Battles gave investigators a written statement saying that he “sold drugs to get by.”

Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth agreed to the request for the $25,000 cash-only bond, and told Bloodman he had a right to file a motion to reduce that bond, which Bloodman said he would do Thursday.

“I’m going to ask you to put it back on the docket as quickly as you can,” Bloodman said to Bridgforth.