Arkansas Courts

Arkansas Appeals Court Hears Case Over Steel Mill Permit

Oct 28, 2015

A steel company is asking a state appeals court to reverse a regulatory panel's decision to approve an air permit for a rival's $1.1 billion plant in northeast Arkansas.

An attorney for Nucor Steel told a three-judge panel of the Arkansas Court of Appeals that the state's Pollution Control and Ecology Commission didn't follow the law when it approved the permit for the Big River Steel facility under construction in Osceola. Nucor operates a mill about 20 miles away from the Big River site.

Arkansas' highest court has upheld the conviction and life sentence of a Little Rock man in the 2013 killing of a restaurant manager during a robbery at a mall.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the capital murder, attempted capital murder and aggravated robbery convictions of Deonte Edison.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas has filed suit asking for more time to nominate candidates for the 2016 election cycle, drawing a judge who earlier this year ruled against an independent candidate suing over the same issue.

Third parties must nominate candidates for the 2016 general election by Nov. 9, which is the end of the filing period for Republican and Democratic candidates.

The deadline is a result of a law passed this year in order to make it possible for Arkansas’ primaries to be on March 1, the so-called “SEC primary” involving other Southern states.

A federal judge is giving Arkansas two weeks to respond to an effort to expand the lawsuit challenging the state's decision to cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Wednesday ordered the state to respond by Oct. 28 to Planned Parenthood's motion seeking class-action status for its suit challenging the cancellation of its Medicaid contract. Baker denied a motion by the state to extend its time to respond, as well as a motion by Planned Parenthood to expedite the response.

The state has asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to dissolve a temporary restraining order issued last week by a Pulaski County Circuit Court judge that stayed eight executions scheduled to begin next week.

The request written by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Merritt asks the court to alternatively mandate that the inmates' request for a preliminary injunction be heard before the first scheduled execution on Oct. 21. As of early Wednesday, the justices had not responded to the request.

Lawyers for the state of Arkansas have filed notice that they will appeal a lower court judge's temporary restraining order that halted eight planned executions scheduled to begin next week.

L.T. Simes
KATV, Channel 7 News

Longtime Circuit Court Judge L.T. Simes II has died in a Missouri hospital. He was 65.

Brown's Home for Funerals in Helena-West Helena says Simes died Saturday at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Simes was first elected in the 1st Judicial District in 1996. He served until 2009 when he was suspended by the Arkansas Supreme Court for violating judicial rules. He was re-elected in 2010 and remained in that role until his death.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen has ordered the state to disclose the contents of its three drug lethal injection mixture before proceeding with eight executions.

While state law allows the drugs’ names be withheld, attorneys for the inmates argue secrecy hampers their ability to challenge a potentially cruel and unusual form of punishment.  

University of Arkansas Bowen School of Law professor Angela Epps says the case may go before the state supreme court.

Jeff Rosenzweig

An attorney for eight Arkansas inmates scheduled to be put to death beginning later this month is asking a judge to rule in their favor before the lawsuit alleging new death penalty procedures are unconstitutional goes to trial.

Attorney Jeff Rosenzweig filed motions in circuit court Thursday saying a new secrecy law violates an agreement prisoners have with the state. He said if a judge doesn't rule in their favor, the judge should impose an emergency injunction to protect the inmates' lives.

Eight death row inmates are asking an Arkansas judge to stop their executions, arguing that the state's refusal to reveal where it gets execution drugs is unconstitutional.

The argument, made in a court filing late Monday, is similar to arguments unsuccessfully used by death-row inmates in other states.

But the filing argues that Arkansas new secrecy law violates a previous settlement with the state that ensured inmates would be given the information.