Former Judge Michael Maggio Asks To Withdraw Guilty Plea

A former central Arkansas circuit judge is asking a federal judge to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea on a federal bribery charge, two weeks before he is scheduled to be sentenced.
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KUAR Week-In-Review Podcast
Michael Hibblen

Two and a half weeks before Arkansas's presidential primary, the election and ramifications from the New Hampshire vote dominate the podcast this week. We include comments from UALR political science professor Greg Shufeldt and leaders of the state campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

As states like Arkansas are searching for ways to cut rising Medicaid costs, a liberal-leaning think tank says the nation could eventually save 40 percent in Medicaid costs by creating a new, universal public insurance for the elderly and disabled.

Senior Fellow Howard Gleckman of the Urban Institute said a universal payroll tax-based insurance would relieve Medicaid from covering such catastrophic costs.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) in February.
C-SPAN

In a rare bi-partisan moment the U.S. Senate - or all but one member - was prepared to take a step on Thursday to change part of the nation's juvenile justice system. President Obama's State of the Union address in January harped on criminal justice as an area where common ground might be found.

The congressional news site Roll Call has an account of U.S. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas ruffling the feathers of Democrats and Republicans alike.

The National Weather Service says some areas of northern Arkansas could see light wintry precipitation over the weekend but it won't stick around for long.

Forecasters say the northernmost counties could see a mix of light freezing rain and sleet on Sunday night, but no snowfall is expected. The Little Rock area is expected to see rain with a slight chance for freezing rain on Sunday.

But the weather service says a warmup is on the way for next week: forecasters predict sunny weather and highs in the 60s for much of Arkansas.

Objecting to the Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that lower-court judges can require that defendants pay their bail only in cash, the high court's chief justice cited a musician seldom thought of as a legal scholar: Johnny Cash.

Interim Chief Justice Howard Brill on Thursday cited Cash's song "Starkville City Jail" in a dissent. He said it was wrong for the majority to deny a Benton County man's objection to a $300,000 cash-only bail set in an assault and battery case.

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce for the first time is making independent expenditures in state legislative races. The expenditures are paying for mailers backing candidates who support Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Medicaid expansion plan, Arkansas Works.

Chamber President and CEO Randy Zook said Thursday that the expenditures were being made in “a couple, three Senate races; a couple, three House races.” He said the expenditures were being made to “people who have been targeted by other groups for defeat because of that single vote.”

Arkansas Surgeon General Gregory Bledsoe speaking at the winter meeting of the County Judges Association of Arkansas.
Association of Arkansas Counties

The surgeon general of Arkansas made the case to the County Judges Association of Arkansas at its winter meeting that continuing Medicaid expansion will help free up state funds for other programs, such as the governor's highway plan.

The president of the association, Judge David Hudson of Sebastian County, said the group may take a position before the special session on Medicaid expansion expected in April. 

Arron Lewis
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A man convicted of capital murder and kidnapping in the death of a central Arkansas real estate agent has filed notice that he plans to appeal.

Arron Lewis was found guilty and sentenced to life without parole in the slaying of Beverly Carter after a four-day jury trial in January.

Prosecutors said Lewis targeted Carter in a failed ransom plot, taking her from a fake home showing. When police began looking for her and Lewis found out Carter had financial problems, prosecutors say Lewis smothered Carter with duct tape and buried her in a shallow grave.

KATV, Channel 7 News

The bodies of two missing boaters have been recovered from Lake Maumelle, a day after the search for the men began.

A spokesman for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says a dive team located the bodies of Anthony Mayfield and Joseph Greenway Thursday at about 2:30 p.m. Their bodies have been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab to determine the cause of death.

On Wednesday, a woman called police after she saw an unoccupied boat circling in the lake about 20 miles west of Little Rock and a man in the water. Another witness told police he saw a man thrown from the boat.

Dennis Milligan treasurer
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An Arkansas circuit court has been asked to review whether the state’s Ethics Commission appropriately applied the law in allowing Treasurer Dennis Milligan to retroactively alter finance reports.

Attorney and liberal blogger Matt Campbell said his ethics complaint against state Treasurer Dennis Milligan was for financial filings made before passage of a law allowing office holders to alter filing reports. 

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