Arkansas Supreme Court

Sarah Kellogg - KUAR News

Whether to analyze previously untested evidence found during a murder investigation over 20 years ago was the main argument during the Arkansas Supreme Court’s first oral argument of the 2019 fall term.

Speaking Thursday in the Old Supreme Court Chamber at the Arkansas Capitol, Olga Akselrod, an attorney for appellant Stacey Johnson argued evidence that was not tested at the time of the investigation, which ultimately convicted Johnson, should now be tested, given the advancement of technology that would allow for such analysis.

Arkansas Supreme Court
courts.arkansas.gov

A Pulaski County circuit judge has petitioned the Arkansas Supreme Court to restore his power to hear and decide civil and criminal cases concerning the death penalty, capital punishment and the method of execution.

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

An ethics complaint has been dismissed against Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen for taking part in a death penalty demonstration in April 2017 on the same day he blocked the state from using an execution drug. Now Griffen is demanding he be given back the power to consider death penalty cases.

 Justice Courtney Goodson Judicial Crisis Network.
Arkansas Times / You Tube

An Arkansas court is dismissing a television station's appeal of an order that prohibited it from airing a conservative group's attack ad against a state Supreme Court justice during her re-election bid.

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday dismissed the appeal by Tegna, Inc., which challenged the ruling preventing several television stations from airing the Judicial Crisis Network's ad targeting Justice Courtney Goodson last spring. Goodson won re-election in November.

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

Attorneys for an Arkansas judge say they're asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the judge's complaints against members of the state Supreme Court.

Attorney Mike Laux says the petition was filed Friday on behalf of Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen. It comes after previous complaints were dismissed by a district judge, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and a judicial oversight commission.

Laux said he's confident the high court will take the case because he believes the appeals court "got it wrong."

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Supreme Court has struck down a law that gives the state's prison director authority to determine whether an inmate is mentally competent to be put to death, siding with two convicted murderers who were spared from execution last year.

Justices ruled Thursday that the competency law violated due process rights guaranteed in the Arkansas and U.S. Constitutions. Convicted murderers Bruce Ward and Jack Greene were granted stays last year so the court could hear their case. Ward was one of eight inmates whom Arkansas planned to execute in April 2017.

An Arkansas Supreme Court justice says she voted against a pay raise request cited in an outside group's attack mailer that she's trying to get a federal judge to halt.

Justice Courtney Goodson testified Wednesday that she was one of two justices who voted privately against the $18,000 raise the court's chief justice requested from a panel that sets officials' salaries. The panel rejected the request and instead raised justices' pay 2 percent, giving her a $3,330 raise.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Arkansas' governor has named seven special justices to hear an effort by members of the state Supreme Court to halt ethics charges they face for their decision to prevent a judge who participated in a death penalty demonstration from handling any execution-related cases.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed seven people Thursday to fill in for the justices, who have filed a lawsuit challenging a disciplinary panel's decision to charge them with ethics violations.

Arkansas House
www.arkleg.state.ar.us

The Arkansas Supreme Court has ordered election officials to not count votes cast for a ballot measure that would have imposed the strictest term limits in the country on state legislators.

Justices on Friday disqualified the proposed initiative, ruling that thousands of signatures submitted by supporters were invalid and should not have been counted. The court, however, did not rule on part of the lawsuit challenging the wording of the proposed amendment.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Voters will not get to weigh in on a proposed amendment to limit lawsuit damages but will vote on raising the state’s minimum wage after the Arkansas Supreme Court released two decisions Thursday.

The decisions came a week after the court ruled in favor of keeping on the ballot Issue 4, which will allow voters to decide on the fate of casinos in four locations. Still to come is a decision on an amendment that would limit legislative terms.

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

Five Arkansas Supreme Court justices are challenging efforts to sanction them over the court's decision to disqualify a judge who participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration from hearing any execution-related cases.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas voters will be able to consider a casino amendment during next month's election, the state highest court ruled Thursday. The Arkansas Supreme Court also ruled in favor of the constitutionality of a voter ID law passed by the Legislature last year.

In one casino case brought by Ensuring Arkansas’ Future, the petitioners raised 27 challenges to Issue 4, which would allow casino operations at Oaklawn and Southland and also at sites in Pope County and Jefferson County.

David Monteith / KUAR News

The United State Supreme Court opens its new session the first Monday in October. Monday, the current dean of the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Theresa Beiner, and one of its former deans, John DiPippa, shared their predictions for which cases the court will agree to hear at a public lecture in Little Rock.

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

An Arkansas judge who was banned from hearing execution cases after participating in an anti-death penalty demonstration is seeking the removal of an attorney investigating his ethics complaint against the state Supreme Court.

Arkansas Supreme Court Lee Rudofsky
courts.arkansas.gov

The Arkansas Supreme Court has cleared the way for the state to launch its medical marijuana program.

Justices on Thursday reversed and dismissed a judge's ruling that prevented officials from issuing the first licenses for businesses to grow the drug.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in March that the state's process for awarding medical marijuana cultivation licenses was unconstitutional.

He said the process violated constitutional amendment that voters approved in 2016 that legalized marijuana for patients with certain conditions.

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