Arkansas Courts

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge plans to appeal a June ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court that said an inmate sentenced to life without parole for a killing he committed as a juvenile should be resentenced.

A spokesman for Rutledge says she will file a writ in early December requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court weigh in on whether mandatory life sentences for all prisoners convicted of crimes they committed as juveniles should be thrown out.

baxter county nativity

Baxter County Judge Mickey Pendergrass says there will be no Nativity scene or any secular holiday displays on the courthouse lawn this year.

Pendergrass announced the decision Wednesday in Mountain Home in response to a federal judge's ruling earlier this month that the Nativity display violates the Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks ruled that the county must either stop placing any religious seasonal displays on the property, or create a public forum allowing displays by all religions and viewpoints.

Arron Lewis
KATV, Channel 7 News

Attorneys for a man charged with capital murder and kidnapping in the death of a central Arkansas real estate agent have submitted written arguments to keep his statements and other evidence from being presented at trial.

Attorney Bill James submitted a written brief Monday asking a judge to suppress Arron Lewis' statements to investigators because he asked for an attorney. Lewis is charged with kidnapping and capital murder in the 2014 disappearance of Beverly Carter.

judge joe boeckmann
Arkansas Times

A state disciplinary panel is accusing an Arkansas judge of having inappropriate sexual relationships with defendants.

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission lodged administrative charges Tuesday against Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann. If substantiated, the commission could recommend his removal from office.

The complaint alleges Boeckmann inappropriately handled cases involving a man he was dating, the man's siblings and employees of a business run by Boeckmann's sisters.

Arron Lewis
KATV, Channel 7 News

The man charged with killing a central Arkansas real estate agent is in court for a hearing less than two months before his case is to go to trial.

Arron Lewis is charged with capital murder and kidnapping for last year's killing of Beverly Carter. He's appearing in Pulaski County Circuit Court on Monday as lawyers argue motions ahead of the scheduled Jan. 12 trial.

Lewis' attorneys have made several requests, including to suppress messages found on a phone and to keep Lewis' wife from testifying against him.

Timothy Lamont Howard
Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Parole Board has unanimously denied a parole request from an inmate who has served more than 17 years in prison for a 1997 double slaying in south Arkansas.

Timothy Howard was originally convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the killings of Brian and Shannon Day. But the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a new trial to review new evidence in the case. He was convicted of the lesser charges of second-degree murder and sentenced to 38 years in prison.

baxter county nativity

A federal judge has ruled that Baxter County in north Arkansas violated the Constitution by displaying a Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn in 2014.

Judge Timothy Brooks issued the ruling Thursday in a lawsuit brought by the American Humanist Association and Baxter County resident Dessa Blackthorn.

Circuit Judge Wade Naramore

A Garland County judge pleads for immediate help in a 911 call made after he found his 18-month-old son inside a hot car.

On tapes of the call released Thursday, Circuit Judge Wade Naramore said his son was in the car too long, at one point saying "It's too late, I think he's dead." Naramore's son died July 24th from excessive heat after being left in the car.

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Attorney General has asked a federal judge to issue a protective order to prevent her from being deposed in a defamation lawsuit filed against the state treasurer.

911 Calls Made In HS Toddler Death Still Withheld, Suit Filed Against Police

Oct 29, 2015
Circuit Judge Wade Naramore

It's a story that has continued developing over the past three months, when a Garland County circuit judge's son died in a hot car.

On Wednesday afternoon, Attorney and blogger Matt Campbell filed the suit in Garland County a lawsuit was filed against Hot Springs Police Chief, David Flory.

The suit claims Flory is violating the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act by not releasing the 911 recordings made the day Judge Wade Naramore's 18-month-old son Thomas died.

Arkansas Appeals Court Hears Case Over Steel Mill Permit

Oct 28, 2015

A steel company is asking a state appeals court to reverse a regulatory panel's decision to approve an air permit for a rival's $1.1 billion plant in northeast Arkansas.

An attorney for Nucor Steel told a three-judge panel of the Arkansas Court of Appeals that the state's Pollution Control and Ecology Commission didn't follow the law when it approved the permit for the Big River Steel facility under construction in Osceola. Nucor operates a mill about 20 miles away from the Big River site.

Arkansas' highest court has upheld the conviction and life sentence of a Little Rock man in the 2013 killing of a restaurant manager during a robbery at a mall.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the capital murder, attempted capital murder and aggravated robbery convictions of Deonte Edison.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office for ballot access. May 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas has filed suit asking for more time to nominate candidates for the 2016 election cycle, drawing a judge who earlier this year ruled against an independent candidate suing over the same issue.

Third parties must nominate candidates for the 2016 general election by Nov. 9, which is the end of the filing period for Republican and Democratic candidates.

The deadline is a result of a law passed this year in order to make it possible for Arkansas’ primaries to be on March 1, the so-called “SEC primary” involving other Southern states.

A federal judge is giving Arkansas two weeks to respond to an effort to expand the lawsuit challenging the state's decision to cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Wednesday ordered the state to respond by Oct. 28 to Planned Parenthood's motion seeking class-action status for its suit challenging the cancellation of its Medicaid contract. Baker denied a motion by the state to extend its time to respond, as well as a motion by Planned Parenthood to expedite the response.

The state has asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to dissolve a temporary restraining order issued last week by a Pulaski County Circuit Court judge that stayed eight executions scheduled to begin next week.

The request written by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Merritt asks the court to alternatively mandate that the inmates' request for a preliminary injunction be heard before the first scheduled execution on Oct. 21. As of early Wednesday, the justices had not responded to the request.

Lawyers for the state of Arkansas have filed notice that they will appeal a lower court judge's temporary restraining order that halted eight planned executions scheduled to begin next week.

L.T. Simes
KATV, Channel 7 News

Longtime Circuit Court Judge L.T. Simes II has died in a Missouri hospital. He was 65.

Brown's Home for Funerals in Helena-West Helena says Simes died Saturday at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Simes was first elected in the 1st Judicial District in 1996. He served until 2009 when he was suspended by the Arkansas Supreme Court for violating judicial rules. He was re-elected in 2010 and remained in that role until his death.

Judge Orders State To Release Lethal Injection Drug Information

Oct 12, 2015
Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen has ordered the state to disclose the contents of its three drug lethal injection mixture before proceeding with eight executions.

While state law allows the drugs’ names be withheld, attorneys for the inmates argue secrecy hampers their ability to challenge a potentially cruel and unusual form of punishment.  

University of Arkansas Bowen School of Law professor Angela Epps says the case may go before the state supreme court.

Jeff Rosenzweig

An attorney for eight Arkansas inmates scheduled to be put to death beginning later this month is asking a judge to rule in their favor before the lawsuit alleging new death penalty procedures are unconstitutional goes to trial.

Attorney Jeff Rosenzweig filed motions in circuit court Thursday saying a new secrecy law violates an agreement prisoners have with the state. He said if a judge doesn't rule in their favor, the judge should impose an emergency injunction to protect the inmates' lives.

Eight death row inmates are asking an Arkansas judge to stop their executions, arguing that the state's refusal to reveal where it gets execution drugs is unconstitutional.

The argument, made in a court filing late Monday, is similar to arguments unsuccessfully used by death-row inmates in other states.

But the filing argues that Arkansas new secrecy law violates a previous settlement with the state that ensured inmates would be given the information.

A pharmaceutical company that ended its contract with Arkansas in 2013 after its drugs were purchased for lethal injections is investigating whether the state plans to use one of its sedatives in upcoming executions.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has set the execution dates for eight death row inmates after more than a decade-long dearth of lethal injections.

U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge announced on Tuesday that he would be resigning from his post on Friday, Aug. 21.

He did not announce his intentions for what his next move would be, but Eldridge has been rumored to be considering a challenge to U.S. Senator John Boozman, R-Arkansas, in 2016.

Eldridge, appointed by President Obama to the Western District post in 2010, said he would discuss his future plans after he leaves the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Jacob Trieber
Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture

The U.S. Senate has approved legislation co-sponsored by Republican Arkansas Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton to name the federal building in Helena-West Helena after federal Judge Jacob Trieber.

Trieber was appointed by President William McKinley and served from 1900 to 1927 as the federal judge for the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. He was the first Jewish federal judge and also served on the Helena City Council and as Phillips County treasurer.

Below is a collection of statements on the SCOTUS marriage ruling issued by Arkansas-related politicians and elected officials.

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson released the statement below following the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage:

Hutchinson Statement On Marriage Ruling

Jun 26, 2015

Governor Asa Hutchinson Issues Statement on Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson released the statement below following the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage

A former circuit judge who pleaded guilty to bribery late last year will go before a federal judge this fall for sentencing, according to court documents filed late Wednesday.

Mike Maggio was scheduled to be sentenced July 24 in federal court in Little Rock. However, the sentencing has been postponed until 10:30 a.m., Nov. 20 before Chief District Judge Brian S. Miller.

A federal appeals court has struck down parts of an Arkansas law that sought to ban most abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the viability standard the law cites is becoming more difficult to use because of advances in technology.

The appeals court noted the viability standard was once 28 weeks, but in the Arkansas case was generally considered 24 weeks.

Edwin Keaton

An Arkansas district court judge has been reprimanded after he said he forgot about a divorce case that took him 20 months to rule on.

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on Friday said Judge Edwin Keaton had agreed to a series of corrective actions. Keaton has agreed to conduct a quarterly docket review and take other steps to avoid delayed rulings.

The commission says the judicial district has stopped assigning him domestic relations cases.

Timothy Lamont Howard
Arkansas Times

An Ashdown man reconvicted in the 1997 slaying of a couple could be eligible for release due to time already spent behind bars.

Timothy Lamont Howard recently was found guilty on lesser charges in the deaths of Brian Day and Shannon Day and attempted killing of the couple's son.

The Texarkana Gazette reports Howard was convicted in 1999, but it was overturned in 2013. He has been in custody since December 1997, which is around 17 years and five months.