Arkansas Courts

Arron Lewis
KATV, Channel 7 News

A judge has ruled that a jury can hear a recording of an Arkansas real estate agent asking her husband to follow ransom instructions recorded days before she was found dead by police.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Herbert Wright ruled Tuesday on several challenges to evidence prosecutors planned to present at Arron Lewis's trial next week.

Lewis is charged with capital murder and kidnapping in the death of real estate agent Beverly Carter.

Beverly Carter
Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

A Pulaski County judge has ruled that evidence found in the car of a man charged in the death of a central Arkansas real estate agent cannot be introduced at trial.

Circuit Court Judge Herbert Wright said in a ruling late Wednesday that the evidence taken from Arron Lewis' car was obtained using an overly broad search warrant, not during an inventory of items when the car was impounded. Lewis is charged with kidnapping and capital murder in the 2014 killing of Beverly Carter.

The Arkansas Court of Appeals has denied an appeal from a man convicted of raping an 11-year-old girl who was later found dead in a drainage ditch.

The court ruled Wednesday that it wasn't improper for a judge to deny Freddie Sharp access to State Crime Laboratory files and other material because he refused to sign a protective order. The court said Sharp could have used the material in court if he'd signed the agreement not to publicly release it.

Arron Lewis
KATV, Channel 7 News

Attorneys for a man charged in the death of a central Arkansas real estate agent say a judge should not reconsider excluding evidence seized from his car.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herbert Wright had ruled that the evidence was inadmissible because investigators relied on an overly broad search warrant to obtain it. Attorneys for Arron Lewis, who is charged with capital murder and kidnapping in the 2014 slaying of Beverly Carter, say the state cannot prove the evidence was collected during an impound-lot inventory of the car.

Big River Steel

The state Court of Appeals has rejected a steel company's attempt to block the air permit for a rival's $1.3 billion mill under construction in northeast Arkansas.

The court on Wednesday upheld the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission's decision to issue the permit for the Big River Steel mill in Osceola.

The Arkansas Supreme Court kept the state from having to disclose where it gets its three execution drugs on Friday, temporarily putting on hold a lower-court's order to make that information public. It's the latest in the long, multifaceted legal battle over the constitutionality of Arkansas' execution law.

Here are key dates to know:

Nov. 28, 2005 - Eric Nance, convicted of killing an 18-year-old woman, is the last person to be executed in Arkansas before the legal wrangling begins.

Police say the ex-girlfriend of a man facing capital murder charges in the death of his son was released on her own recognizance because of medical reasons.

They gave no details. Court officials say Lesley Marcotte will likely have a first court appearance Friday.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen

A state judge has struck down a portion of Arkansas' law that keeps confidential the source of its execution drugs.

Pulaski County District Court Wendell Griffen also ruled Thursday that the state must disclose details of the drugs by noon Friday. 

He sided with death row inmates who challenged a law passed by legislators this year that shielded the identity of drug suppliers. 

Boxer Jermain Taylor Changes Pleas To Guilty In Three Cases

Dec 1, 2015
Jermain Taylor
KATV, Channel 7 News

Boxing champion Jermain Taylor appeared in court Tuesday morning, changing his pleas to guilty in three cases in which he is charged.

Former Banker Dennis Smiley Sentencing Set For Jan. 21

Nov 30, 2015
dennis smiley
Arkansas Business

Former Arvest Bank President for Benton County H. Dennis Smiley Jr., will be sentenced Jan. 21 at the Judge Isaac Parker Federal Courthouse in Fort Smith. U.S. District Court Judge P.K. Holmes III signed the sentencing notice on Nov. 23.

Smiley’s sentence is anybody’s guess. Judge Holmes can defer from the sentencing guidelines. Federal sentencing guidelines indicate that Smiley could face a maximum sentence of 71-months, but it’s more likely the sentencing will be less.