Mara Leveritt has reported on her website, maraleveritt.com, that Jason Baldwin, the youngest of the Arkansas inmates known as the West Memphis Three, has announced that he plans to be married in January. Baldwin, currently imprisoned at Tucker, is serving a life sentence for the 1993 murders of three children. He was 16 at the time of those murders.

Few details of the wedding have been set, but it will have to conform to restrictions set by the Arkansas Department of Correction. Baldwin said the ADC requires that inmates planning to marry attend a marriage counseling class conducted by a prison chaplain, and that only six guests will be allowed at the wedding. He added, though, that he and his bride-to-be will be allowed “to find a minister” of their choice.

Baldwin also reported he has been given a new work assignment. He is now one of two clerks who handle office work for the prison’s two field majors. The majors oversee seven horseback “riders.” Each rider manages a “hoe squad” comprised of 125 inmates.

Job inquiry

Former Arkansas attorney general Steve Clark wants to return to the state as a law professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

UA Law School Dean Cynthia Nance said Clark “stopped in to say hi and say he would be interested” in a teaching position there. “I told him we’re not hiring now,” Nance said.

Nance said she didn’t know who Clark was at the time, adding that the faculty will decide whether to add instructors in the coming months.

Clark is currently on the faculty at the St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami. After serving 12 years as attorney general, he was convicted in 1990 of felony theft-by-deception for using a state-issued credit card to pay for a lavish lifestyle. He regained a law license in Texas.

For the record

We reported here last week about the purchase of an estimated $7,500 worth of china and crystal for First Lady Janet Huckabee from tax-deductible contributions to the Governor’s Mansion Association, which works to preserve and improve the building.

There’s been some confusion about the gift. Was it 25 place settings of Lenox china or 20 five-piece place settings? Was it Waterford or less expensive crystal? What was the precise value? Huckabee friends who run the association clammed up.

We asked Don Bingham, the mansion administrator, for records of any china and crystal purchases. The governor’s office legal counsel Kelly Pace responded that any documents Bingham might possess are exempt under the FOI as gubernatorial “working papers,” though the mansion is not part of the governor’s office. Later, she offered a second argument — that the mansion didn’t have to disclose records originating with the Association, a private organization. It all adds up to a stonewall.

Note: legislation is going to be proposed in 2007 that would make it easier for plaintiffs to recover attorney fees from defendants who resist legitimate FOI requests. Too late for the Huckabee gang, unfortunately.


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