Arkansas Courts

Ten Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A man charged with crashing his vehicle into Arkansas' Ten Commandments display nearly three years after he was accused of destroying a monument at Oklahoma's Capitol has been found mentally unfit to go to trial.

A Pulaski County judge on Thursday found Michael Tate Reed unfit to proceed and ordered him to be held by the state hospital for further evaluation. Judge Chris Piazza set a September 2018 hearing on Reed's mental status.

A federal appeals court says it won't reconsider a panel's ruling that Arkansas can block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, two years after the state ended its contract with the organization over videos secretly recorded by an anti-abortion group.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) was selected as to chair the Tax Reform and Relief Task Force.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Republican leader of the Arkansas Senate says his company is cutting ties with a drug rehabilitation program amid reports that workers provided by the nonprofit were not getting paid. In an interview with KUAR News, Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren denied any wrongdoing by his company.

The accusations were detailed by news outlet Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting as part of a larger series looking at questionable practices by some rehab programs. On Tuesday a story was published by reporters Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walker saying Hendren’s company in northwest Arkansas relied on the workers who weren’t getting any monetary compensation.

John Rogers
Mark Friedman / Arkansas Business

A plea and arraignment hearing is scheduled for Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court for former Arkansas sports memorabilia dealer John Rogers. He's facing state charges while awaiting sentencing next month on a federal wire fraud charge.

The new charges stem from the alleged theft by Rogers of three hard drives containing images valued at $364,167. In March he pleaded guilty in federal court after reaching a plea agreement that acknowledged he took part in an effort "to fraudulently obtain at least approximately $10 million" from investors, financial institutions and customers. Prosecutors say Rogers used a variety of schemes that included false pretenses, misrepresentations and lies.

Members of Arkansas' Supreme Court say the state must change a law that kept same-sex couples from listing both of their names on birth certificates, but disagree on who should do it.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled the Arkansas law invalid, and state justices Thursday sent a case back to a lower court. Three justices say Pulaski County Judge Tim Fox impermissibly rewrote the statute and needs to write a new order, while another justice wants Fox to hold additional hearings. Three justices said legislators alone can change the law.

A former Arkansas judge accused of giving lighter sentences to defendants in return for nude photographs and sexual favors has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and witness tampering charges.

Joseph Boeckmann had been set for trial later this month but changed his plea to guilty Thursday in federal court.

The head of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission has called the allegations among the worst cases of judicial misconduct in state history.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge is again asking a disciplinary panel to dismiss a complaint concerning his participation in an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked the state from using an execution drug.

An attorney for Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Friday renewed a request that the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission drop the complaint. Griffen was photographed in April lying down on a cot outside the governor's mansion after he blocked Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug over claims that the state misled a medical supply company.

Planned Parenthood
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A federal appeals court says it won't reconsider a panel's decision to clear the way for the state to restrict how the abortion pill is administered.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday denied a request from Planned Parenthood to have the full court review a three-judge panel's ruling vacating a judge's preliminary injunction against the 2015 law.

The measure requires doctors providing the pill to maintain a contract with another physician who has admitting privileges at a hospital and who agrees to handle any complications.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

An Arkansas judge says prison officials must release the package label from a recently acquired lethal injection drug, saying manufacturers don't enjoy the same secrecy as others under the state's execution procedures.

Lawyer Steven Shults says Arkansas' Freedom of Information law requires disclosure. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce on Tuesday rejected the state's argument that privacy granted to drug sellers and suppliers in Arkansas' execution law also extends to manufacturers.

An Arkansas trial has been delayed for a Tennessee rapper and his bodyguard, who face federal weapons charges.

The scheduled Monday trial of Ricky Hampton, who performs as Finese2Tymes, and bodyguard Kentrell Gwynn, both of Memphis, was postponed on Friday until March 19.

Hampton is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection with a shooting outside a nightclub in eastern Arkansas and Gwynn is charged with providing a felon with a firearm and with providing armed security to a felon.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

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