Arkansas Courts

Satanic Temple

A 3,000-pound goat-headed statue of the Satanic idol Baphomet is to be part of a protest of the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas state Capitol, organizers say.

The statue is owned by the Satanic Temple, which describes itself as "non-theistic religious organization." The co-founder of the temple, who uses the pseudonym Lucien Greaves, announced Monday the statue will be part of the protest on August 16.

Hughes Street Interstate 630 I-630 expansion
Arkansas Department of Transportation

U.S. District Judge James Moody said he will likely issue a decision Tuesday on whether to halt an expansion project just getting underway on Interstate 630 in Little Rock. On Monday he heard a full day of oral arguments and testimony that continued into the evening. 

Arkansas Capitol
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Yet another guilty plea has been entered in a kickback scheme using tax money related to convicted lobbyist Milton “Rusty” Cranford, a former Preferred Family Healthcare executive.

Duane “Dak” Kees, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced Thursday that Jerry Kennedy Walsh of Magnolia, Ark., pleaded guilty today to conspiring to misapply over $380,000 from South Arkansas Youth Services (SAYS)without the authority of the non-profit’s Board of Directors.

Ten Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A federal judge has agreed to merge two lawsuits by opponents of Arkansas' Ten Commandments monument that seek to have the display removed from the state Capitol grounds.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday granted the request to consolidate the lawsuits challenging the privately funded display. A 2015 law required the state to allow its construction.

The monument was reinstalled in April after the original version was destroyed by a man who crashed his car into it.

Jake Files
Arkansas Times

Former Arkansas state Sen. Jake Files was sentenced Monday to 18 months in federal prison for what the judge called "egregious" violations. The Republican of Fort Smith pleaded guilty in January to charges of wire fraud, money laundering and bank fraud as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains

A court case in Arkansas is proving to be a bellwether of abortion-restrictive laws in the region, as a similar case in Missouri attempts to give fewer options to women choosing to terminate pregnancy.

Women in Arkansas only have access to surgical abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on whether a state law restricting access to medication abortion is unconstitutional.

Jake Files
Arkansas Times

Federal prosecutors are asking for up to 24 months of prison time for former Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, more than the 12 to 18 months that may have been suggested by the United States Probation Office. Files’ attorney is seeking a “very brief term of incarceration.”

Files’ sentencing is set for 10 a.m., June 18 at the federal courthouse in Fort Smith with U.S. District Court Judge P.K. Holmes III, presiding.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

Eighteen condemned inmates say in new court filings that the executions of four men in Arkansas last year exposed problems that should render the state's lethal injection procedure unconstitutional.

Citing witness accounts of what happened in the execution chamber, the inmates' lawyers say it was never clear whether the Arkansas Department of Correction followed its guidelines. They said there was no way to tell when each drug was administered and that it wasn't clear an attendant performed proper consciousness checks on each inmate.

Ten Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The man accused of destroying a Ten Commandments monument outside the Arkansas state Capitol has been acquitted of a felony charge by a judge who cited evidence of a mental disease or defect.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said Thursday that Michael Tate Reed must report to the state hospital in Little Rock for additional evaluations that could lead to his release.

Ten Commandments Jason Rapert
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Opponents of a Ten Commandments display at the Arkansas state Capitol are suing to have the monument removed, arguing it's an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by government.

Separate lawsuits were filed in federal court Wednesday challenging the display, which was installed on the Capitol grounds last month. A 2015 law required the state to allow the privately funded monument.

The monument was reinstalled last month after the original version was destroyed last year by a man who crashed his car into the display.

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