Courthouse news | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Courthouse news

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Pulaski Circuit Judge Mary Ann McGowan asked today to take over the docket of removed Judge Willard Proctor. She notified Judge Vann Smith, the administrative judge for the district, in a letter. She would keep the drug cases assigned to the Ninth Division, as well as five probation officers assigned to her by the state. Fifth Division, over which Proctor presided, would take on McGowan's civil, criminal and probation cases.

Judges Ellen Brantley, Joyce Warren and Smith have more seniority than McGowan, but Smith is not interested and he doesn't expect Brantley or Warren will be either. Collins Kilgore and Chris Piazza, of equal seniority to McGowan, aren't thought to be interested either.

Whoever takes over Proctor's court will need to go through the files of all the 1,200 to 1,300 probationers, Smith said, to determine their status; Smith said some whose cases were dismissed and expunged are still apparently designated as probationers.

I wasn't able to verify word I got today that two of Proctor's probationers who were being held in the Pulaski County jail only because they hadn't paid fees to his Cycle Breakers program were released today.

The Supreme Court removed Proctor from the bench Monday for violations of the judicial code of ethics related to his operation of the Cycle Breakers program and relationships with defendants in his court.

Also, Ernest Sanders, a Parole Board administrative law judge who made an unsuccessful race for Little Rock district judge last year, said today he is mulling over running for Proctor's seat. Rita Bailey, Wrightsville district judge, has announced her intention to run.

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