Arkansas legislators discover due process in the case of Jeremy Hutchinson | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Arkansas legislators discover due process in the case of Jeremy Hutchinson

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 8:18 AM

click to enlarge LAWYER HUTCHINSON: Who was he representing in the Senate? Voters?  Or paying clients? - BRIAN CHILSON
  • BRIAN CHILSON
  • LAWYER HUTCHINSON: Who was he representing in the Senate? Voters? Or paying clients?

A number of Arkansas legislators told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette yesterday that Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson is entitled to due process of law concerning allegations that he effectively was bribed to represent Preferred Family Healthcare in the legislature.  They declined to join calls for his resignation.

More is at issue with Hutchinson than criminal law. Also, by the way, due process is a consideration some of them have not wanted to extend to Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen for issuing rulings they don't like.


I particularly liked hearing from Sen. Bart Hester.

Senate Republican leader Bart Hester of Cave Springs said the Senate Republican caucus adopted a policy last year to strip a senator who is indicted of his leadership duties, so "we don't make emotional decisions when these times come." He said he intends to follow that process.

"We live in a country where you are innocent until proven guilty," Hester said.
Hester, however, has joined the jimpeachment lynch mob howling after Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen. When Griffen correctly ruled that the legislature had violated separation of powers by directing judges on court procedure involving use of "comfort dogs" for child witnesses, Hester commented ever-so-unemotionally (and dishonestly as to facts)


screen_shot_2018-06-13_at_7.59.41_am.png

Griffen did not side with child rapists. He said court rules are set by the Supreme Court under the Arkansas Constitution, not by the legislature.


So my question: How long will Arkansas elect senators who side with corrupt plunderers of state tax dollars? Hutchinson, indeed is entitled to due process as a matter of law. He has not been charged. He insists the half-million he was paid on retainer was for legitimate legal work, though, as yet, no specific records of that work have been produced. But, no, he should not be forced to resign for mere allegations of criminal law violation short of a formal charge.

But here's what we do know for facts: Hutchinson's law practice has never been much (see the many bad debts he's piled up that have resulted in legal action). For a time, he racked up "finder's fees" for directing business to John Goodson's law firm. He's participated directly in legislative action in support of clients including Preferred Family Healthcare, a mattress merchant and a maker of gambling machines. It wasn't much of a secret, though there's no official public document that discloses his "legal clients."  He participated in legislative action despite these financial ties. Does anybody think Hutchinson would have had such clients were he NOT a member of the Arkansas Senate?

It is an obvious conflict of interest, just as it was an undisclosed conflict of interest when Bart Hester passed a huge tax break for billboard property owners when he himself owned such property.

I suspect we'd also find many conflicts of interest if we could see the record of "clients" of consulting firms several legislators have incorporated to gin up extra income. Some of these consultants have no visible means of support except legislative pay and per diem. Where is their expertise as consultants — beyond casting votes in committee and the House and Senate chambers? I'll believe Senate leaders are serious about ethics reform if they do something about that sewer. Jon Woods was a consultant, speaking of a felonious senator.

In light of the disclosures in the bribery case of Rusty Cranford, and with only about six months left in his term of office, if Hutchinson had any sense of shame, he'd remove his festering ethical sore from the legislature. But I expect he needs the paycheck the next few months to help pay Tim Dudley, his criminal defense lawyer. Give him due process and another $20,000 or so of tax money, by all means. At least he's off the public teat come January. But his legal client, Preferred Family, continues to reap $43 million a year from the state Medicaid program.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Jerry Dhonau, former Gazette editorial page editor, dies at 83

    Jerry Dhonau, a retired newspaperman whose career included reporting on the Little Rock school crisis and being editorial page editor of the Arkansas Gazette when it closed in 1991, has died. Ernest Dumas provides his colleague’s obituary.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • DHS confirms it's withholding personnel records on Leslie Rutledge

    Chris Burks, the lawyer in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking personnel records of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge when she was a staff lawyer at the Department of Human Services, says DHS confirms the existence of records that have not been released in previous examinations of her record there.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • Death reported in Malvern prison

    The Correction Department is reporting what it calls an apparent suicide Thursday evening in the Ouachita River Correction unit in Malvern.
    • Aug 18, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Trump's strangulation of Obamacare

    If he can't kill it outright, Donald Trump will do all he can to cripple Obamacare. Vox has detailed reporting on deep cuts in federal spending that support nonprofit agencies that help people sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017

Most Viewed

  • An open line

    Tell us something.
  • How charter schools and Asa Hutchinson's policies are hurting education everywhere in Arkansas

    Here's a new voice writing about the damage being done to Arkansas education by the charter school movement and the Hutchinson administration's waiver of school standards.
  • The Family Council vs. Issue 1

    Here's a storyline to watch: The Family Council, the conservative Christian group that's long fought against same-sex marriage and abortion rights, has come out heavy against Issue 1, the so-called "tort reform" ballot proposal that would limit damage awards in lawsuits. The messaging battle over Issue 1 has long been seen as one that pitted the deep pockets of the state Chamber of Commerce and big business in the state against the deep pockets of trial lawyers. Could the Family Council's truck with evangelicals tip the scales?

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: An open line

    • 1958 we had a group of student from Turkey and they were hostile to Any…

    • on August 18, 2018
  • Re: An open line

    • My roommate and fellow history student told me about the Turks he fought with in…

    • on August 18, 2018
  • Re: An open line

    • There weren't a whole of lot of Turkish fighters in the Korean War, but there…

    • on August 18, 2018

Slideshows

 

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