Arkansas Courts

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)
Governor's Office

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has appointed replacements for two judges who have been elected to state Supreme Court and another for a judge who's joining the state Court of Appeals.

Sebastian COunty Sheriff's Deputy Bill Cooper
Sebastian Co. Sheriff's Office

A prosecutor says he'll look at an autopsy report due this week as he explores whether to seek the execution of a man accused of killing a western Arkansas deputy.

The Arkansas State Crime Lab says the medical examiner has completed its autopsy on Sebastian County Cpl. Bill Cooper and that investigators and prosecutors should have access soon. Prosecutor Dan Shue told the Southwest Times Record newspaper that part of his due diligence before starting a possible death-penalty case includes a look at the autopsy.

Judge Milas "Butch" Hale Hot bounded checks sherwood
Arkansas Times

A central Arkansas city and judge are denying a lawsuit's claims that they're effectively operating a debtors' prison with a court that has imposed hefty fines and jail time on thousands of people whose checks bounce.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A federal lawsuit alleges twelve percent of the city of Sherwood is being funded through predatory practices of a bad checks court system.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas partnered with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to file the case against the city and Pulaski County.  

Attorney Bettina Brownstein says the city imposes a ceaseless punishment of jail time and escalating fines for those who write bad checks and can’t cover the cost of an initial court fine.

A federal judge will decide what should happen to more than $1 million worth of guns seized from the home of an Arkansas doctor who was later convicted in a bombing that nearly killed the head of the Arkansas State Medical Board.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Miller will consider arguments this week regarding the guns that belonged to Randeep Mann, who's serving a life sentence for the 2009 bombing at the West Memphis home of Dr. Trent Pierce.

Wade Naramore
KATV, Channel 7 News

Garland County Circuit Judge Wade Naramore has been found not guilty of negligent homicide in the hot-car death of his 18-month-old son.

A Garland County jury deliberated for less than two hours Friday before returning with the verdict.

wade naramore
Arkansas Times

A jury has been seated in the trial an Arkansas judge charged with negligent homicide after his 18-month-old son died after being left in a hot car last summer.

Television station KATV reports that a jury of six men and six women with one male alternate was seated Monday afternoon in the trial for Wade Naramore. He pleaded not guilty in March in the heat-related death of his son, Thomas.

Jury selection began at 8:30 a.m. Monday and a jury was seated at 5:45 p.m. The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday.

Jim Harris Arkansas Treasurer
KATV, Channel 7 News

A federal judge has declared a mistrial in the defamation lawsuit filed by a former employee of the state treasurer's office against the treasurer and his chief of staff.

An execution drug obtained by the Arkansas prison system earlier this month appears to have been made by a subsidiary of Pfizer, even though Pfizer has said it doesn't want its drugs to be used in executions.

The Associated Press on Monday obtained redacted photos of the vecuronium bromide label from the Arkansas Department of Correction. It matches labels submitted to the National Institutes of Health by Hospira, Inc., which Pfizer bought last year.

wade naramore
Arkansas Times

A motion to dismiss charges against a suspended Garland County circuit judge in the death of his toddler son has been denied.

Attorneys for Judge Wade Naramore had argued the documents filed by prosecutors lacked adequate evidence for a conviction and asked that the case be dismissed.

Online court records show special judge John Langston on Tuesday found that the documents are sufficient and scheduled Naramore's trial to start Aug. 15.

Judge Wade Naramore has pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide in the July 24 death of his 18-month-old son, Thomas.

The city of Rogers and three police officers are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit over the fatal shooting of a woman by police.

Fallon Frederick was shot to death Aug. 1, 2011, at a convenience store after officers responded to her 911 call for help.

The lawsuit by her brother - Darrell Frederick - says Frederick was a paranoid schizophrenic who thought she was being pursued and was cowering in the corner of the store when she was shot with a stun gun by Cpl. Nick Torkelson, then shot by Officer Vince Motsinger as she tried to run away.

A Searcy man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison in the death of his 2-year-old son.

Forty-three-year-old Jeffery Clifton was sentenced Friday to 30 years for second-degree murder in the death of Malik Drummond and to 10 more years for abuse of a corpse.

Clifton pleaded no contest to the charges Friday after the murder charge was reduced from capital murder, which could have resulted in a death penalty or life in prison if Clifton were convicted.

wade naramore
Arkansas Times

A prosecutor assigned to the case of a suspended Garland County circuit judge says the man's attorneys have all investigative material in the death of the defendant's son in a hot car last summer.

The Sentinel-Record reports that Wade Naramore's attorneys filed a motion last week arguing that prosecutors hadn't disclosed requested material.

Judge Chris Piazza
Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge says he's siding with the state in a lawsuit that claims legislators didn't adequately fund public schools. He cited missteps in some areas but said he found nothing that violates the state's constitution.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said in a memorandum opinion issued Wednesday that the issues raised by Deer/Mount Judea School District didn't amount to a violation of the state's constitution. Piazza asked attorneys for the district and the state to draft a written order reflecting his findings.

A fourth alleged victim will join a civil lawsuit filed against a former Arkansas judge who resigned this week amid an investigation into allegations he engaged in inappropriate sexual relationships with defendants in his court.

Three men have filed a lawsuit against an Arkansas judge, alleging they were the victims of sexual misconduct or abuse while they were defendants in his court.

Part-time Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann resigned Monday amid an investigation by the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission into allegations he had inappropriate sexual relationships with male defendants dating back to his time as a prosecutor.

Justin Staton
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

An Arkansas teenager has pleaded guilty to charges that he killed the couple who raised him as their grandson.

Justin Staton, who is now 15 years old, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of first-degree murder and other charges related to the 2015 shooting deaths of Robert and Patricia Cogdell.

A Faulkner County judge accepted the change of plea and the agreement for Staton to testify against his co-defendant Hunter Drexler, who has pleaded not guilty in the case.

An Arkansas judge accused of having inappropriate sexual relationships with male defendants has resigned.

David Sachar, the executive director of the state's Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, said Monday that part-time Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann had submitted his letter of resignation.

Boeckmann has agreed to never seek public office again at the state or local level.

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

A federal judge has ruled that a former Arkansas circuit court judge can remain free pending his appeal of a federal bribery conviction.

A lawsuit against Craighead County claims that everyone who has been sentenced in circuit court may have been unlawfully charged an $86 fee.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that the county may owe those defendants the money if a circuit judge agrees with the claim. Attorney Mark Rees argues on behalf of Christopher Miles and all other similarly situated persons that the county collected $236 in court costs from individuals who were issued a judgment.

Arkansas Code sets a $150 cost for misdemeanor or felony violations of state law in circuit court.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit by death row inmates that challenges the state's execution law.

The court issued a brief statement Thursday granting the request for oral argument by the inmates' attorneys. The statement says a date will be set later.

Nine inmates have asked justices to uphold a circuit judge's decision to strike down the portion of the law that blocks state officials from revealing where Arkansas gets its execution drugs.

The FBI is backing away from an Arkansas prosecutor's statement that its agents would help unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple, saying it hasn't examined the devices and isn't sure whether it can help.

The FBI's statement Thursday didn't rule out help in the Arkansas case, but said that without more details, it doesn't know whether its agents can access the devices.

Hunter Drexler
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

The FBI has agreed to help an Arkansas prosecutor unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple.

Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said Wednesday that the FBI agreed to the request from his office.

The trial for 18-year-old Hunter Drexler was delayed Tuesday so prosecutors could ask for help. He's accused in the shooting deaths of Robert and Patricia Cogdell. 

15-year-old Justin Staton also is charged in the shootings. The Conway couple had raised Staton as their grandson. 

A former Arkansas sheriff has pleaded guilty to felony charges of abuse of public trust and theft of property and was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Former Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington pleaded guilty to the circuit court charges Tuesday.

Saline County Circuit Court Judge Gary Arnold ordered that the sentence be served concurrently with a federal prison term of one year and one day that Pennington received late last year after pleading guilty to using money from his campaign account to pay for personal items and expenses.

Hunter Drexler
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

A judge has postponed the trial of a teenager charged in the shooting deaths of an Arkansas couple so prosecutors can ask the FBI to help access an iPod and iPhone to search for evidence.

The trial of 18-year-old Hunter Drexler for his role in the killing of Robert and Patricia Cogdell was moved from next week to June 27. Drexler is charged with capital murder.

Deputy Prosecutor Hugh Finkelstein said Tuesday that the Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and Conway Police would reach out to the FBI to ask for help.

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

Federal prosecutors say a former Arkansas circuit judge should be sentenced to 10 years in prison for lowering a jury award in exchange for campaign donations from a nursing home operator.

In a filing Tuesday, U.S. attorneys say former Faulkner County Circuit Judge Michael Maggio lied to the Arkansas Ethics Commission, failed to cooperate under his plea agreement and failed a lie detector test when asked about details of the alleged bribery.

On Monday, Maggio filed a request asking for leniency and probation when he's sentenced Thursday.

Luther Sutter Dennis Milligan
KATV, Channel 7 News

A Little Rock attorney has filed a civil lawsuit against the state treasurer over an incident last month that turned into a shoving match.

Attorney Luther Sutter filed the lawsuit Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Sutter represents a former treasurer's office employee who filed a federal lawsuit against Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan and his chief of staff alleging defamation.

Before a deposition in the case in February, Sutter entered the room on his cellphone and cursed. Sutter says he apologized to Milligan's wife, who was in the room.

Michael Maggio
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A former state judge in Arkansas is asking that probation be considered for his sentence in a bribery case where he admitted to lowering a jury award in a lawsuit in exchange for campaign donations from a nursing home operator.

Attorneys for former Faulkner County Circuit Judge Michael Maggio asked Monday that he be sentenced below the guidelines in the bribery case. Maggio is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday and faces up to 10 years in prison.

A federal lawsuit filed against the Benton County sheriff says the elected official had a list of employees he planned to dismiss after the March 1 primary election.

Three sheriff's office employees filed the suit against Sheriff Kelley Cradduck on Thursday. They're suing for violation of their free speech rights and association, along with civil rights. They also allege there was an Arkansas Whistle Blowers Act violation because the sheriff's behavior is in retaliation to the employee's cooperation with a state police investigation against him.

ASU standoff
KATV, Channel 7 News

  The attorney for a man charged with taking a gun onto the Arkansas State University campus wants the trial moved out of Craighead County.

Brad Bartelt is charged in connection with the Dec. 10 incident in which he was arrested on campus after a standoff with police. Police say Bartelt had a 12-gauge shotgun and containers of gasoline and propane with him.

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