Arkansas Courts

Ted Suhl
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The owner of two Arkansas mental health companies has been sentenced to seven years in prison for bribing a top official at the state's Human Services Department.

Prosecutors say Ted Suhl of Warm Springs was sentenced Thursday after being convicted in July of honest services wire fraud, interstate travel in aid of bribery and bribery involving federal program funds.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Givens says Suhl is to report to prison Jan. 3.

A judge has ordered the release of a 59-year-old man convicted of a killing that occurred in Arkansas more than 40 years ago.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Dennis Lewis of Wichita, Kansas, was 17 years old when he fatally shot Jared Cobb during a robbery at a Springdale pawn shop in April 1974.

Lewis was convicted of capital murder and assault with the intent to rob in the case, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

judge joe boeckmann
Arkansas Times

A former Arkansas judge accused of bribery, fraud and witness tampering related to allegations he gave lighter sentences to male defendants in exchange for nude photos, spanking and other sexual acts has been released to the custody of family members.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe agreed at a hearing Tuesday to release 70-year-old Joseph Boeckmann to relatives in Hot Springs. Federal prosecutors objected to his release because of the witness tampering charge.

Federal prosecutors oppose the release of a former Arkansas judge until his trial on charges of giving lighter sentences to defendants in exchange for nude photos and sexual acts.

The motion filed Friday says former Cross County District Judge Joseph Boeckmann has tried to bribe or threaten witnesses against him by using third parties, showing he "has both the ability and the willingness" to try to tamper with witnesses without personally contacting them.

Boeckmann's attorney had asked that he be allowed to live with relatives until his November trial.

A former Arkansas judge accused of giving lighter sentences to defendants in exchange for nude photos and sexual acts has been indicted on federal fraud and bribery charges.

The indictment against former Cross County District Court Judge Joseph Boeckmann was unsealed Monday. He's facing several charges, including wire fraud and witness tampering.

Boeckmann resigned in May after an investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships with men accused of crimes dating back decades, to his time as a prosecutor.

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.

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