Court: Former Newport Alderman Can Serve Time at Home

NEWPORT, AR - A federal appeals court ruling says a former Newport alderman can serve his sentence on a federal drug conviction at home because he suffers from a variety of medical ailments.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Pinkey McFarlin could serve his three-year probation sentence in home detention.  Judges said McFarlin has undergone multiple heart surgeries, a graft bypass surgery and suffers asthma and several other diseases.

The court noted that doctors also have diagnosed McFarlin, who weighs 310 pounds, with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

McFarlin originally was to serve his sentence at a halfway house after taking a plea agreement in 2007.  That plea ended a trial where he faced 25 counts of drug trafficking and a charge of witness tampering.

McFarlin was later released from the City of Faith house in Little Rock because the halfway house couldn't accomodate his medical problems.  He was placed in home detention, and prosecutors appealed.

Prosecutors originally accused McFarlin of possessing and dealing crack cocaine and the tranquilizer Xanax.  He also faced a charge of witness tampering accusing him of telling a prosecution witness in 2006 that she'd be "dead meat" if she testified at his trial.

His trial saw five continuances since its original start date of February 2005.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)