It's important to appreciate the little things ... like the fact that, on this lovely April morning, you're not locked up for life inside the near-colorless concrete tomb that is the Arkansas Department of Correction's Varner Supermax Prison near Grady in Lincoln County. A rather haunting video posted to the ADC's Youtube page features a series of rarely-seen views inside Varner. /more/
Sentences doled out by state judges in criminal cases should be appealable, a legislative task force recommended today. Currently, those who are convicted of crimes have no judicial means for challenging the severity of their punishment. Also, debate about racial disparities in the criminal justice system. /more/
Paul Bookout, the former Senate president pro tem who pleaded guilty to felony mail fraud last year, was sentenced to 18 months of federal prison today. U.S. District Judge Brian Miller also ordered Bookout to pay $150,048 in restitution, according to court records. He's to report to prison May 2. /more/
Tom Cotton, never missing a chance to take a hard line policy stance, is leading the opposition to the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, a Senate bill that seeks to address mass incarceration at the federal level by reducing the length of mandatory minimum sentences. The bill has broad bipartisan support, including from the Koch brothers, the ACLU and the White House. Cotton's statements against the bill are highly misleading, the Washington Post finds. /more/
KARK's Shannon Miller reports that police are searching near the Fourche Creek area by University and Colonel Glenn for what could be human remains. Detectives indicated they may have found a human leg, according to Miller. /more/
A 25-year-old fatally shot at 14 Baltimore St. marks the third homicide Little Rock has seen in 24 hours, KARK reports. The first victim was Junius Pitts, Jr., 19 — shot in the 5400 block of Asher shortly after midnight. Eunice Lopez, 27, was shot in the 8400 block of Keats Dr. at around 10 a.m. Lopez was reportedly holding her child at the time of the shooting. /more/
Arkansas Business reports that H. Dennis Smiley Jr. was sentenced today to 97 months in federal prison. Smiley, the former president of Arvest Bank's Benton County market, pleaded guilty to bank fraud last August. Smiley was also ordered to pay restitution of $4.9 million and two years of supervised release will follow his prison sentence. /more/
The Little Rock School District announced yesterday that Karina Bao, a senior at Little Rock Central High School, had scored a perfect 36 composite score on the four-part ACT test, an achievement by less than a tenth of one percent of the 2.1 million who took the test.
Craig and Cheryl Hart were the foster parents of the two sisters who were adopted by Rep. Justin Harris and his wife Marsha and later "rehomed." The Harts say that the adoption was allowed to proceed over the objections of the foster parents and local DHS staff due to pressure exerted by Cecile Blucker, head of the Division of Children and Family Services, on behalf of Justin Harris.
Twenty-four hours after meddling in President Obama's talks with Iran, hawkish Sen. Tom Cotton scheduled an off-the-record meeting with defense contractors, who'd be happy to supply goods for U.S. armed incursions in the Middle East.
Judging from Twitter, the latest fad in extremist circles is to join Sen. Tom Cotton's foray into usurping presidential authority for international diplomacy by waving a finger at Iran in hopes of provoking a conflict on which his backers in the defense industry can make some money. So when do the usual Arkansas suspect fall in line?
Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.