Arkansas Judicial System

Arkansas' stockpile of a paralytic drug needed for the executions of eight death row inmates will expire at midnight Thursday, leaving the state without a means to resume executions for the first time in a decade.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she will request new execution dates for eight death row inmates after the Arkansas Supreme Court uphold the state's execution secrecy law. 

McPherson Prison Unit in Newport.
Arkansas Department Of Correction

A preliminary trial date has been set for a former Arkansas women's prison chaplain charged with 50 counts of sexual assault after authorities say he coerced three inmates into engaging in sexual acts.

Kenneth Dewitt has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A Jackson County Circuit Court judge agreed Wednesday to combine the charges brought on behalf of the three women into one trial, preliminarily set for Aug. 11.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland want to amend a lawsuit challenging Arkansas' abortion restrictions, including dropping a challenge to a law requiring abortion pill providers to follow U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A former Arkansas Treasurer's office employee is asking to move part of his defamation lawsuit against Treasurer Dennis Milligan and Milligan Chief of Staff Jim Harris to state court.

Former employee David Singer filed a motion in federal court Wednesday asking to move his Whistleblower Act claim and other state-based claims to circuit court. Singer argues the state waived a portion of its immunity claims when it requested to move the matter to federal court.

The director of the state agency responsible for housing and treating Arkansas' youth offenders has announced his resignation.

The Department of Human Services announced Thursday that its Division of Youth Services director, Marcus Devine, had resigned. Spokeswoman Amy Webb says Devine met with staff Thursday to announce he was leaving immediately for a position in the private sector.

File photo: Former Circuit Court Judge Michael Maggio outside of federal court in Little Rock.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A former Arkansas circuit judge has asked to delay reporting to federal prison while he appeals a bribery charge in which he admitted lowering a jury award in a civil lawsuit in exchange for campaign donations.

Cummins arkansas department of correction prison
Arkansas Department of Correction

Attorneys for a group of death row inmates say Arkansas' highest court should strike down the state's execution law if justices agree with a lower court that its secrecy provisions on lethal injection drugs are unconstitutional.

The attorneys on Monday said the court should dismiss the appeal of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's ruling against the secrecy provisions. The Supreme Court previously stayed eight executions until the challenge filed by a handful of death row inmates is heard.

File photo: Former Circuit Court Judge Michael Maggio outside of federal court in Little Rock.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Former Faulkner County Circuit Court Judge Mike Maggio, who pleaded guilty last year to accepting a bribe, was sentenced Thursday to a maximum 10 years in federal prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Brian Miller handed down the sentence, which also includes two years of supervision upon release. Miller did not issue a fine.

A judge has denied a request from a former Arkansas circuit judge to withdraw his guilty plea on a federal bribery charge.

Federal judge Brian Miller issued his ruling Thursday and scheduled Maggio's sentencing for March 24. Miller said the federal bribery law was correctly applied in Maggio's case and that there was sufficient evidence against Maggio and that the state judge likely understood the charge when pleading guilty last year.