In a press release issued Sunday, Faulkner County attorney David Hogue says that the office of Faulkner County Clerk Melinda Reynolds will refuse to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples this week. According to the press release from Hogue, the basis of Reynolds' refusal is three-fold, including the question of whether Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza has the authority to strike down a statewide law.
Circuit Judge Tim Fox, who last week struck down the 2013 Voter ID law because it unconstitutionally adds additional requirements to be eligible to vote, today again found the law unconstitutional in a separate case, but stayed his decision, citing the beginning of early voting on Monday. He said he didn't want to create turmoil at the polls.
A Paragould OBGYN accused of five counts of video voyeurism in a case in which a patient said he photographed her without her consent during an examination has seen his bond set at a half-million dollars. Dr. Paul Becton, Jr. 68, is currently being held in the Greene County Detention Center, and has been ordered to surrender his passport, have no contact with the alleged victim in the case, and to not travel outside the Second Judicial District without approval from the court if he bonds out of jail.
For the 10s of you following the state judicial eligibility saga, a quick note about this morning Arkansas Democrat-Gazette story that led with the finding that nearly a third of sitting judges in the state have been suspended for not paying their bar dues since 2006: Aside from serving as further evidence that judges are slackers like the rest of it, the story didn't tell us much.
A lengthy and sometimes moving hearing before Judge Chris Piazza today at the Pulaski County Courthouse, with the attorneys for the plaintiffs both sometimes choking back tears and they argued in favor of a motion for summary judgment in their challenge to Arkansas's ban on same-sex marriage, with Pulaski Co. Judge Chris Piazza says he will rule in two weeks' time on a motion for summary judgment that could overturn Arkansas's ban on same-sex marriage.
The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied the petition from Circuit Judge H.G. Foster asking the Court to settle the ongoing matter of what counts as a law-license suspension for judicial candidates once and for all.
Circuit Judge Sam Bird yesterday ruled that Circuit Judge Tim Fox is an eligible candidate for re-election. A lawsuit was filed earlier this month alleging that Fox should be disqualified because of a suspension in his law license in 2013 for failure to pay bar dues. The Arkansas Constitution requires judicial candidates to have been licensed attorneys in the state for six consecutive years prior to taking the seat (eight for Supreme Court judges). Bird ruled that an administrative suspension for late payment, unlike a punitive suspension for misconduct, would not disqualify a candidate.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox today ruled that the Republican Party of Arkansas will be able to help defend the state in a lawsuit over how to deal with absentee ballots under the state's Voter ID law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature last year almost completely on partisan lines, overriding Gov. Mike Beebe's veto.
Here's the ruling from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen finding that it's unconstitutional to automatically suspend the law license of an attorney (in the case for non-payment of dues) without giving a chance for the attorney to contest the suspension. Griffen declared the automatic suspensions unconstitutional on Wednesday and released his 18-page ruling yesterday.
In Bull Shoals, sitting police chief Dan Sutterfield has been ordered by a federal judge to live with the town's mayor, Bruce Powell, as a condition of his release from jail after Sutterfield was arrested on FBI allegations that he hit, kicked and tased a handcuffed suspect.. Powell says he will not ask Sutterfield to step down.
All seven Arkansas Supreme Court justices have paid their annual bar fees late in the past. Two justices, Justice Karen Baker and Justice Courtney Hudson Henry, failed to pay their annual dues within eight years of joining the Court. That time window may be significant because Amendment 80 of the Arkansas Constitution requires Supreme Court justices to be licensed attorneys at least eight years immediately preceding the date they assumed office.
Less than 24 hours after manslaughter charges against him were dismissed, former LRPD officer Josh Hastings has filed for a hearing with the Civil Service Commission which could help him regain his position with the department. Little Rock attorney Bill James tells KTHV that he will represent Hastings in his hearing before the commission, and will submit evidence that the jury wasn't allowed to hear.
The Arkansas Republican Party is hoping to intervene in the lawsuit over how to deal with absentee ballots under the state's Voter ID law, but the Pulaski County Election Commission yesterday asked a Pulaski County judge to turn down the GOP's request, the AP reports. The commission filed suit last month against the state Board of Election Commissioners, arguing that the board overstepped its authority when it followed the guidance of Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin and adopted a rule that absentee votes without ID should be treated as provisional ballots, with the voter having until the Monday after the election to present ID.
The mother of Bobby Moore III, the 15-year-old shot by former Little Rock Police officer Josh Hastings in Aug. 2012, is speaking out about the dismissal of manslaughter charges against Hastings yesterday. Sylvia Perkins, Moore's mother, told THV This Morning today that the dismissal of the charges has been a nightmare for her family. Perkins said that she prays that Josh Hastings isn't able to regain his position with the police department. Hastings' attorney Bill James said yesterday that Hastings plans to seek a civil service hearing to try and get his job back. "Closure and justice," Perkins said. "That's all I want. That's all I ever wanted."
The beat goes on in the kerfuffle over suspended law licenses, as Blue Hog Report lists off a whopping 59 currently sitting district, circuit, and Court of Appeals judges who have had their licence suspended for failure to pay bar dues within the timeframe that would arguably have disqualified from running in the first place (or running for re-election).
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wants the Arkansas Supreme Court to sort out this judicial candidate eligibility business, too. In an answer to Circuit Judge H.G. Foster's petition to the Court, McDaniel agrees that, among other reasons, "matters of substantial public interest" are within the Court's jurisdiction. He also argues that administrative fees shouldn't affect a judge's eligibility to hold office.
Andrea Clevenger, the former reality show figure who was charged with rape in January, accussed of having sex with a 13-year-old boy, appeared in court this morning in Pulaski County and plead not guilty. The office of Seventh Division Circuit Judge Barry Sims said that the Judge set an Aug. 7 pretrial hearing in the case, with trial dates set for Sept. 9-11. Sims also issued a no-contact order between Clevenger and the victim in the case.
Jean Gordon, who's worked a half-century in just about every social justice and peace movement you can name, will receive the Arkansas Community Institute's 2014 Community Truth Teller Award at a program at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the library's Darragh Center
An open line that features new Congressman French HIll's antipathy in the Catholic newspaper to Obamacare as a "giveaway" to drug companies and hospitals. A Catholic nurse points out that children and other people in need are the real beneficiaries of this giveaway, along with Catholic hospitals.
The University of Arkansas will be fined $25,000 by the SEC because Hog fans stormed the football field after Saturday's victory over LSU snapped a long SEC losing streak. It was a second offense by the UA of the conference's "access to competition area" policy.
It was inevitable. The long crusade against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has pivoted from a battle against socialism to a populist war against big business: The program known as Obamacare is now supposed to be merely a feed trough for the captains of industry, not a government program to force health care on the undeserving poor.
A hearing is underway in federal court today on a lawsuit to invalidate Arkansas's ban on same-sex marriage. It's a separate, but similar, companion to a state court challenge pending before the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Two hearings are scheduled in state and federal court today on separate lawsuits challenging the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and the state's lack of recognition for those married legally in other states.
The Jonesboro City Council put the brakes on a $30,000 grant from a nonprofit organization because several members don't like the politics of a phlanthropist who supports the agency, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Really.
Nathanael Franks, a University of Arkansas graduate, has made the final round of interviews in Seattle this Saturday for selection of 32 Rhodes Scholarship winners. The scholarships, won by the likes of Bill Clinton, provide two years of study at Oxford.