Arkansas Courts

The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday that an Alabama death row inmate has the right to a mental health evaluation from a neutral party. Previously, such evaluations were done by doctors within state government. 

In April, Arkansas inmates Don Davis and Bruce Ward were granted stays of execution after asking for such independent evaluations.

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of an Alabama inmate who complained that he didn't have an independent mental health expert to help him try to stave off a death sentence at his trial.

The justices divided 5-4 Monday in siding with inmate James McWilliams. He did not have his own expert when he was convicted of raping and killing a convenience store clerk in Tuscaloosa.

The justices had previously decided that poor defendants whose mental health might be a factor in the criminal charges they are facing have a right to an expert's evaluation.

Settlement Announced In Mayflower Oil Spill Case

Jun 15, 2017
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A lawsuit brought on behalf of nearly 150 Mayflower residents impacted by a 2013 pipeline rupture has been settled. Attorneys with three law firms representing the residents confirmed with KUAR they had settled the suit with ExxonMobil, the pipeline operator.


An 11-member jury ruled in favor of former Little Rock police Lt. David Hudson in an excessive force case in federal court on Wednesday.

 

Hudson was working as an off-duty security guard at Ferneau, a restaurant in the Hillcrest neighborhood, on Oct. 29, 2011 when he punched Chris Erwin in the face seven times on the sidewalk outside after asking Erwin and his party to leave the establishment. 

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The top two officials for a judicial ethics panel are recusing themselves from investigations involving an Arkansas judge who participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he issued an order that effectively blocked executions in the state.

The executive director and deputy director of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on Tuesday stepped away from the cases involving Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who lay on a cot outside the governor's mansion last month after blocking the state from using a lethal injection drug.

The trial of a former Arkansas state senator and two others on corruption charges is being delayed.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that a federal judge in Fayetteville on Tuesday postponed the trial of Republican former Sen. Jon Woods, Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III and consultant Randell Shelton Jr. until Dec. 4. Prosecutors say the investigation continues and more indictments are expected.

The judge also rejected Paris' request that he be tried separately in the case.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam speaking to reporters after the inauguration of Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

On a 73- 13 vote Wednesday, the Arkansas House of Representatives implemented rules that specify the procedure for removing a public elected official from duty. The measure’s passage came after calls by conservative legislators to impeach Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

The judge took part in an anti-death penalty demonstration just a few hours after issuing a ruling last month that temporarily blocked Arkansas’s scheduled executions.

Tony Alamo
KATV, Channel 7 News

Disgraced preacher Tony Alamo, who was convicted in Arkansas of sexually abusing girls he considered his wives, has died in a North Carolina prison. He was 82.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons says Alamo died Tuesday while in a federal prison hospital in Butner, North Carolina. Alamo was convicted in 2009 of taking underage girls across state lines for sex, including a 9-year-old. He was sentenced to 175 years in prison.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen
PBS

An Arkansas judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state's lethal injection law, the latest setback for efforts to block the state's unprecedented plan to conduct four double executions over a 10-day period next month.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen granted the state's motion Tuesday to dismiss the lawsuit filed by eight inmates facing lethal injection next month. Griffen said he has no jurisdiction over the case after the state Supreme Court upheld the lethal injection law and protocol.

Will Bond Bryan King Dan Greenberg
Jacob Kuaffman / KUAR News

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill Monday that would require offenders sentenced three times previously to the Department of Correction to serve at least 80% of their sentences on the next commitment.

Senate Bill 177 by Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, passed by a voice vote and now goes to the full Senate.

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