JPs question county judge on Sherwood hot check court | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

JPs question county judge on Sherwood hot check court

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 9:44 AM

HOT LETTER ON HOT CHECKS: Two JPs question the county's participation in the Sherwood hot check court now subject to a federal lawsuit.
  • HOT LETTER ON HOT CHECKS: Two JPs question the county's participation in the Sherwood hot check court now subject to a federal lawsuit.

Two members of the Pulaski County Quorum Court have sent a letter to County Judge Barry Hyde raising questions about the consolidation of hot check cases in a district court in Sherwood, an operation that has been equated to a debtors' prison by a sprawling class action lawsuit filed in cooperation with the ACLU.

The suit will be monumental and not be quickly resolved. In the meanwhile, the court still operates. The lawsuit alleges that minor hot checks have turned into years-long prosecutions of the check writers, with court fees piled on top of court fees and jail terms for failure to pay interrupting defendants' ability to work to pay off fines.

In a letter to Hyde, Justices of the Peace Lille McMullen and Donna Massey said that the participatin by the county government and prosecutor in the practice is "disconcerting." They said Pulaski government not only should condemn the practice but should also review whether state law still allows the arrangement first set up in a 1975 agreement.

The operation is detrimental to the community, vulnerable citizens and the perception of the county, the letter said. They urged "more fair and effective" ways to operate a hot check court.

The letter worries, too, about potential financial restitution obligations by the county if the plaintiffs win the lawsuit. It chastises the extent to which Sherwood relies on revenue from the court for municipal operations, calling the dependence on that money from the disadvantaged "appalling."

City and county officials, partly because some are defendants, have maintained a general silence since the suit was filed. Cases continue to go to the court, though David Koon observed in the immediate aftermath some procedural changes in the operation. 

I'm seeking a response from Hyde.

UPDATE: He responded by e-mail:

I've not seen this letter before it showed up on your blog.

Because we were named in the suit PUCO will not comment on pending litigation.

However, I'm confident that when the facts come to light through the judicial process, PUCO will be vindicated.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • El Dorado challenges state Board transfer decision; raises broad question about 'choice' vs. segregation

    The El Dorado School District HAS gone to federal court in response to the state Board of Education's approval, over El Dorado's objection, of the transfer of a white student from El Dorado to the majority white Parkers Chapel School District.
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • ADEQ denies C&H Hog Farm permit

    The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied a new permit for the C&H Hog Farms' concentrated animal feeding operation near Mount Judea (Newton County). This is a big and somewhat surprising victory for critics who have viewed C&H's large-scale pig farm and the pig waste it generates as an existential threat to the Buffalo National River.
    • Jan 10, 2018
  • Speaking of the Clinton Foundation: Returns in maize and beans

    A reporter for Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization, sent a reporter to Africa to see where money given to the Clinton Foundation has been put to work. He found tangible results.
    • Sep 6, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation