Governor fills four judgeships | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Governor fills four judgeships

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Gov. Mike Beebe today announced appointments to one vacant and three soon-to-be vacant circuit judgeships.

As I mentioned yesterday, Beth Burgess of Perryville will get the appointment to serve until a successor is elected for the late Melinda Gilbert, who served in a juvenile court division slot for Pulaski and Perry counties. Burgess is the first Perry County resident in memory to take a judicial seat in the circuit. She's the daughter of Democratic stalwart Herby Branscum.

Also of interest is the governor's appointment of Chadd Mason of Fayetteville. He'll succeed Judge Mary Ann Gunn of Fayetteville, who has resigned from the bench effective June 11 to pursue production of a reality TV show in which she'll play a judge trying to rehab drug offenders. Her own televised court became controversial when a judical ethics panel raised questions about it. Multiple questions remain on use of public agencies and facilities for her planned reality show. Mason's appointment had been expected and I had asked the governor's office in advance about the rumor because Mason represented Gunn in her divorce and critics of the drug TV idea wondered if Mason would arrive in the office prepared to facilitate Gunn's TV show with a supply of "actors" from drug cases. Matt DeCample, the governor's spokesman, said those concerns had been expressed to the governor and he'd asked Mason about them before making the appointment. He wouldn't divulge the details of the conversation. I'm trying to reach Mason. UPDATE: He sent a short release praising Gunn for her "ethic and vision" and said her shoes "will not be filled." He didn't respond to my written questions relative to participation in a TV drug court or what he and Beebe discussed.

Beebe also named:

* Jon Comstock of Rogers to replace Judge David Clinger when he retires June 30.

* Mark Fryauf of Rogers to replace Judge Jay Finch when he retires July 8.

None of the appointees can run in the elections to fill these judgeships permanently in 2012.

The latest buzz from Fayetteville on Drug TV with Mary Ann is that the Washington County courthouse will be used; employees from the prosecutor and elsewhere will get after-hours roles as actors; the TV show will be styled as a drug treatment program that would qualify for referrals from the Department of Community Correction. I've seen no evidence yet that TV makes for better rehab. The entanglement of various public employees and agencies in a commercial TV production inevitably will raise questions about equal treatment and undue influence related to people in the justice system for drug offenses.

FOR EXAMPLE: A note from someone close to the situation:

Most of us here have huge problems with the way this thing is being put together. Civil cases in Judge Judy's court are one thing. Criminal cases involving an individual's liberty and Constitutional rights are quite another. Attorneys take an oath to defend the Constitution. What happens when a producer wants to create some drama? Does the attorney playing an attorney have the same ethical obligations as they do in real life? Wait a minute. This IS real life for defendants.

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Sunday open line

    Open line and “news” on the Hog football coach.
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • The Clintons side by side in Little Rock 25 years after

    Bill and Hillary Clinton side by side taking questions from Donald Carville. The only thing more I could have asked for was a seat for Donald Trmp to handle the same topics.
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • Arkansas a leader in laws against better working conditions

    The Economic Policy Institute has compiled a national look at state laws that prevent local governments from mandating better working conditions in cities and counties than state law provides.As you might expect, Arkansas is among the leaders
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016
  • Police identify two women found fatally shot on Chicot Road

    Little Rock police have identified two women found dead of gunshot wounds in an SUV parked next to a vacant trailer in a mobile home park at 11500 Chicot Road.
    • May 16, 2017
  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sunday open line

    • Charlie Manson is dead yet Donald Trump lives......life ain't fair at all. Durango has the…

    • on November 20, 2017
  • Re: The Medicaid charade explained

    • Get THE 2017 BLANK ATM Programmed Card and cash money directly in any ATM Machine…

    • on November 20, 2017
  • Re: Sen. Greg Standridge dies at 50

    • He put up a good fight. I know his family is grieving. I wish his…

    • on November 19, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation