Arkansas Courts

The Arkansas attorney general's office is warning legislators not to explore alternative execution methods after the state's lethal injection protocol and execution secrecy law were found constitutional by Arkansas' high court.

The House Judiciary Committee considered Monday whether to approve a study on hypoxia- replacing the oxygen in a person's lungs with an inert gas like nitrogen- as a back-up method for executions. But the committee decided not to vote after a representative from the attorney general's office advised members to "let sleeping dogs lie."

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito
Wikipedia

A U.S. Supreme Court justice has denied a request for more time made by attorneys for nine Arkansas death row inmates challenging the state Supreme Court's June ruling that upheld the state's execution secrecy law and three-drug protocol.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito denied the request for more time to file a petition at the federal high court Monday. A reason for the denial was not immediately given, but the petition will be due Oct. 19.

Lawyers for the inmates, eight of whom had been scheduled for Arkansas' first executions in a decade, asked for a 30-day extension.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)
Governor's Office

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has appointed replacements for two judges who have been elected to state Supreme Court and another for a judge who's joining the state Court of Appeals.

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Arkansas from prohibiting Medicaid payments for Planned Parenthood patients, expanding her order that forced the state to continue paying for three patients. 

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state from suspending any Medicaid payments for any patients who receive services from Planned Parenthood. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson ended the state's Medicaid contract with the organization last year because of videos secretly recorded by an anti-abortion group. 

Sebastian COunty Sheriff's Deputy Bill Cooper
Sebastian Co. Sheriff's Office

A prosecutor says he'll look at an autopsy report due this week as he explores whether to seek the execution of a man accused of killing a western Arkansas deputy.

The Arkansas State Crime Lab says the medical examiner has completed its autopsy on Sebastian County Cpl. Bill Cooper and that investigators and prosecutors should have access soon. Prosecutor Dan Shue told the Southwest Times Record newspaper that part of his due diligence before starting a possible death-penalty case includes a look at the autopsy.

Judge Milas "Butch" Hale Hot bounded checks sherwood
Arkansas Times

A central Arkansas city and judge are denying a lawsuit's claims that they're effectively operating a debtors' prison with a court that has imposed hefty fines and jail time on thousands of people whose checks bounce.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A federal lawsuit alleges twelve percent of the city of Sherwood is being funded through predatory practices of a bad checks court system.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas partnered with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to file the case against the city and Pulaski County.  

Attorney Bettina Brownstein says the city imposes a ceaseless punishment of jail time and escalating fines for those who write bad checks and can’t cover the cost of an initial court fine.

A federal judge will decide what should happen to more than $1 million worth of guns seized from the home of an Arkansas doctor who was later convicted in a bombing that nearly killed the head of the Arkansas State Medical Board.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Miller will consider arguments this week regarding the guns that belonged to Randeep Mann, who's serving a life sentence for the 2009 bombing at the West Memphis home of Dr. Trent Pierce.

Wade Naramore
KATV, Channel 7 News

Garland County Circuit Judge Wade Naramore has been found not guilty of negligent homicide in the hot-car death of his 18-month-old son.

A Garland County jury deliberated for less than two hours Friday before returning with the verdict.

A federal appeals court Thursday issued a ruling affecting how an Arkansas school choice law affects districts under desegregation orders.

In its opinion, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier federal district court ruling which said the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2013 does not trump the requirements of a 1992 Garland County school desegregation settlement.

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