Arkansas Courts

Michael Maggio
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A former Arkansas judge was ordered to begin serving his 10-year prison sentence after an appeals court upheld his bribery conviction.

Former circuit judge Michael Maggio was ordered Monday to surrender to federal authorities before 2 p.m. Wednesday to begin serving his sentence. The order from U.S. District Judge Brian Miller said an arrest warrant will be issued if Maggio doesn't report to authorities.

Judge Bobby McCallister
Arkansas Business

An Arkansas judge accused to failing to pay state and federal income taxes is agreeing to a temporary suspension with pay.

An attorney for Saline County Circuit Court Judge Bobby McCallister told the state Supreme Court in a filing Monday the judge agrees to the temporary suspension until his tax case is resolved. The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission asked justices for McCallister's temporary suspension with pay after he was charged with four felony counts of failing to pay taxes.

Saline County Circuit Judge Bobby McCallister
Arkansas Business

A commission that oversees Arkansas judges has filed charges of failing to pay state and federal income taxes against Saline County Circuit Court Judge Bobby McCallister.

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission said Tuesday that McCallister appears to have filed no more than tax returns since 1995, but said it isn't clear how much he may owe.

Attorneys for McCallister didn't immediately return phone calls for comment.

Rita Sklar ACLU American Civil Liberties Union
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Abortion rights groups are asking a federal judge to block several new abortion restrictions in Arkansas, including a ban on a commonly used second-trimester procedure.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit Tuesday to block laws that have yet to take effect but were approved by lawmakers this year.

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. 

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part in an anti-death penalty demonstration in front of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion in April 2017.
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.

Arkansas voters will be asked next year to limit damages awarded in civil lawsuits, cap attorneys' fees and give the Legislature power to write court rules under a measure given final approval by lawmakers.

The Senate approved by a 20-11 vote on Wednesday a resolution to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot next year. The measure, if approved by voters would place a $500,000 limit on punitive and non-economic damages awarded in civil lawsuits, and limit attorneys' contingency fees to 33.3 percent of the net amount recovered.

Execution dates have been set for eight Arkansas death row inmates, but attorneys for the men argue their appeals have not been exhausted. The state hasn’t carried out an execution since 2005.

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a proclamation Monday scheduling four double executions on four separate days in April. It comes after the U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected a request by the inmates to review a state court ruling upholding an Arkansas law that keeps the source of lethal injection drugs secret.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has set execution dates for eight death row inmates, even though the state lacks one of three drugs needed to put the men to death.

The Republican released a statement Monday saying he signed a proclamation scheduling executions for the eight inmates, though no dates were released.

The move comes days after the state's attorney general told the governor the men had exhausted their appeals and there were no more legal obstacles to their executions.

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by Arkansas inmates to stop their executions over claims that their deaths would be "intolerably painful."

The nine inmates asked the justices to review an Arkansas Supreme Court decision upholding a law that keeps secret the source of the lethal injection drugs. Justices on Tuesday handed down decisions in the Arkansas case, plus several other death row cases nationwide.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she will ask Gov. Asa Hutchinson to set execution dates for the inmates whose appeals have been exhausted.

Gary Eugene Holmes Acen King
Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

The man accused of fatally shooting a 3-year-old boy in a road-rage incident in Little Rock has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

An attorney for Gary Eugene Holmes entered the plea Thursday. He's accused of fatally shooting 3-year-old Acen King as the boy was riding in his grandmother's car on Dec. 17.

Holmes' attorney, Ron Davis, requested a mental evaluation for his client, and a May 15 hearing has been set to discuss the results.

Davis told reporters that Holmes does not admit any guilt in the case.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has admonished Lincoln County's clerk over how her office handled court papers submitted by inmates unable to pay their filing fees.

Cindy Glover had previously pleaded not guilty to a contempt charge. Justices on Thursday said she agreed to accept an admonishment instead.

Prosecutors say an Arkansas lawmaker set to leave office next week has pleaded guilty to conspiracy for arranging bribes while he was a member of the state House.

The U.S. Attorney's office says 42-year-old Republican Rep. Micah Neal of Springdale pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. A sentencing date was not announced.

A phone call to a number listed for Neal was not immediately returned.

flickr.com

An Arkansas judge has left office and agreed to never serve on the bench again after a disciplinary panel said it was prepared to administratively charge him with trading sexual favors with female defendants in exchange for their release.

Billy Monroe Jones
Sebastian Co. Sheriff's Office

An Arkansas man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to capital murder in the fatal shooting of a sheriff's deputy earlier this year.

Ted Suhl
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The owner of two Arkansas mental health companies has been sentenced to seven years in prison for bribing a top official at the state's Human Services Department.

Prosecutors say Ted Suhl of Warm Springs was sentenced Thursday after being convicted in July of honest services wire fraud, interstate travel in aid of bribery and bribery involving federal program funds.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Givens says Suhl is to report to prison Jan. 3.

A judge has ordered the release of a 59-year-old man convicted of a killing that occurred in Arkansas more than 40 years ago.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Dennis Lewis of Wichita, Kansas, was 17 years old when he fatally shot Jared Cobb during a robbery at a Springdale pawn shop in April 1974.

Lewis was convicted of capital murder and assault with the intent to rob in the case, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

judge joe boeckmann
Arkansas Times

A former Arkansas judge accused of bribery, fraud and witness tampering related to allegations he gave lighter sentences to male defendants in exchange for nude photos, spanking and other sexual acts has been released to the custody of family members.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe agreed at a hearing Tuesday to release 70-year-old Joseph Boeckmann to relatives in Hot Springs. Federal prosecutors objected to his release because of the witness tampering charge.

Federal prosecutors oppose the release of a former Arkansas judge until his trial on charges of giving lighter sentences to defendants in exchange for nude photos and sexual acts.

The motion filed Friday says former Cross County District Judge Joseph Boeckmann has tried to bribe or threaten witnesses against him by using third parties, showing he "has both the ability and the willingness" to try to tamper with witnesses without personally contacting them.

Boeckmann's attorney had asked that he be allowed to live with relatives until his November trial.

A former Arkansas judge accused of giving lighter sentences to defendants in exchange for nude photos and sexual acts has been indicted on federal fraud and bribery charges.

The indictment against former Cross County District Court Judge Joseph Boeckmann was unsealed Monday. He's facing several charges, including wire fraud and witness tampering.

Boeckmann resigned in May after an investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships with men accused of crimes dating back decades, to his time as a prosecutor.

The Arkansas attorney general's office is warning legislators not to explore alternative execution methods after the state's lethal injection protocol and execution secrecy law were found constitutional by Arkansas' high court.

The House Judiciary Committee considered Monday whether to approve a study on hypoxia- replacing the oxygen in a person's lungs with an inert gas like nitrogen- as a back-up method for executions. But the committee decided not to vote after a representative from the attorney general's office advised members to "let sleeping dogs lie."

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito
Wikipedia

A U.S. Supreme Court justice has denied a request for more time made by attorneys for nine Arkansas death row inmates challenging the state Supreme Court's June ruling that upheld the state's execution secrecy law and three-drug protocol.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito denied the request for more time to file a petition at the federal high court Monday. A reason for the denial was not immediately given, but the petition will be due Oct. 19.

Lawyers for the inmates, eight of whom had been scheduled for Arkansas' first executions in a decade, asked for a 30-day extension.

Pages