Arkansas Courts

Jake Files
Arkansas Times

Former Arkansas state Sen. Jake Files was sentenced Monday to 18 months in federal prison for what the judge called "egregious" violations. The Republican of Fort Smith pleaded guilty in January to charges of wire fraud, money laundering and bank fraud as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains

A court case in Arkansas is proving to be a bellwether of abortion-restrictive laws in the region, as a similar case in Missouri attempts to give fewer options to women choosing to terminate pregnancy.

Women in Arkansas only have access to surgical abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on whether a state law restricting access to medication abortion is unconstitutional.

Jake Files
Arkansas Times

Federal prosecutors are asking for up to 24 months of prison time for former Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, more than the 12 to 18 months that may have been suggested by the United States Probation Office. Files’ attorney is seeking a “very brief term of incarceration.”

Files’ sentencing is set for 10 a.m., June 18 at the federal courthouse in Fort Smith with U.S. District Court Judge P.K. Holmes III, presiding.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

Eighteen condemned inmates say in new court filings that the executions of four men in Arkansas last year exposed problems that should render the state's lethal injection procedure unconstitutional.

Citing witness accounts of what happened in the execution chamber, the inmates' lawyers say it was never clear whether the Arkansas Department of Correction followed its guidelines. They said there was no way to tell when each drug was administered and that it wasn't clear an attendant performed proper consciousness checks on each inmate.

Ten Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The man accused of destroying a Ten Commandments monument outside the Arkansas state Capitol has been acquitted of a felony charge by a judge who cited evidence of a mental disease or defect.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said Thursday that Michael Tate Reed must report to the state hospital in Little Rock for additional evaluations that could lead to his release.

Ten Commandments Jason Rapert
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Opponents of a Ten Commandments display at the Arkansas state Capitol are suing to have the monument removed, arguing it's an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by government.

Separate lawsuits were filed in federal court Wednesday challenging the display, which was installed on the Capitol grounds last month. A 2015 law required the state to allow the privately funded monument.

The monument was reinstalled last month after the original version was destroyed last year by a man who crashed his car into the display.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker is set to hear arguments Thursday in Little Rock concerning a back-and-forth civil case pitting Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and a Little Rock law firm seeking to clarify the state’s repeated rejection of proposed constitutional amendments.

Primary elections are set for May 22, the same day as the deciding nonpartisan judicial election for Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice. Three candidates, including the incumbent, are vying for the seat.

Justice Courtney Goodson was elected in 2010, and is seeking another eight-year term on the bench. Arkansas Department of Human Services Chief Legal Counsel David Sterling and state Appeals Court Judge Kenneth Hixson are running to unseat Goodson. 

Facebook/Arkansas Secretary of State/Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

There’s one seat up for grabs on the Arkansas’s highest court, and it belongs to Justice Courtney Goodson.

She’s seeking another eight-year term, and has two challengers in the nonpartisan judicial election: state Appeals Court Judge Kenneth Hixson, and Department of Human Services Chief Counsel David Sterling.

And while all three say they want to focus on the issues, a bigger story has loomed large over the race. Both Goodson and Hixson have been the subject of T-V and online ads from dark money groups; ones that don’t have to disclose their donors.

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

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was expected to testify Friday morning in a lawsuit accusing her of obstructing ballot initiatives in her role of approving the language of items being placed on the ballot. But as the hearing was getting underway, it was announced that the trail was being moved from state court to federal court.

It comes just days after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Griffen issued a strongly worded opinion ordering Mr. Rutledge to testify and not allowing her to defer it to a lower level staffer.

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