Arkansas Courts

Will Bond Bryan King Dan Greenberg
Jacob Kuaffman / KUAR News

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill Monday that would require offenders sentenced three times previously to the Department of Correction to serve at least 80% of their sentences on the next commitment.

Senate Bill 177 by Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, passed by a voice vote and now goes to the full Senate.

Arkansas voters will be asked next year to limit damages awarded in civil lawsuits, cap attorneys' fees and give the Legislature power to write court rules under a measure given final approval by lawmakers.

The Senate approved by a 20-11 vote on Wednesday a resolution to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot next year. The measure, if approved by voters would place a $500,000 limit on punitive and non-economic damages awarded in civil lawsuits, and limit attorneys' contingency fees to 33.3 percent of the net amount recovered.

Execution dates have been set for eight Arkansas death row inmates, but attorneys for the men argue their appeals have not been exhausted. The state hasn’t carried out an execution since 2005.

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a proclamation Monday scheduling four double executions on four separate days in April. It comes after the U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected a request by the inmates to review a state court ruling upholding an Arkansas law that keeps the source of lethal injection drugs secret.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has set execution dates for eight death row inmates, even though the state lacks one of three drugs needed to put the men to death.

The Republican released a statement Monday saying he signed a proclamation scheduling executions for the eight inmates, though no dates were released.

The move comes days after the state's attorney general told the governor the men had exhausted their appeals and there were no more legal obstacles to their executions.

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by Arkansas inmates to stop their executions over claims that their deaths would be "intolerably painful."

The nine inmates asked the justices to review an Arkansas Supreme Court decision upholding a law that keeps secret the source of the lethal injection drugs. Justices on Tuesday handed down decisions in the Arkansas case, plus several other death row cases nationwide.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she will ask Gov. Asa Hutchinson to set execution dates for the inmates whose appeals have been exhausted.

Gary Eugene Holmes Acen King
Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

The man accused of fatally shooting a 3-year-old boy in a road-rage incident in Little Rock has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

An attorney for Gary Eugene Holmes entered the plea Thursday. He's accused of fatally shooting 3-year-old Acen King as the boy was riding in his grandmother's car on Dec. 17.

Holmes' attorney, Ron Davis, requested a mental evaluation for his client, and a May 15 hearing has been set to discuss the results.

Davis told reporters that Holmes does not admit any guilt in the case.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has admonished Lincoln County's clerk over how her office handled court papers submitted by inmates unable to pay their filing fees.

Cindy Glover had previously pleaded not guilty to a contempt charge. Justices on Thursday said she agreed to accept an admonishment instead.

Prosecutors say an Arkansas lawmaker set to leave office next week has pleaded guilty to conspiracy for arranging bribes while he was a member of the state House.

The U.S. Attorney's office says 42-year-old Republican Rep. Micah Neal of Springdale pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. A sentencing date was not announced.

A phone call to a number listed for Neal was not immediately returned.

flickr.com

An Arkansas judge has left office and agreed to never serve on the bench again after a disciplinary panel said it was prepared to administratively charge him with trading sexual favors with female defendants in exchange for their release.

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange are leading a legal challenge of new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations.

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