Arkansas Courts

A federal judge has canceled next week's scheduled trial for a former Arkansas state senator accused in a reported kickback scheme.

Former Sen. Jon Woods was set to go on trial Monday on 15 counts on fraud, but a judge in Fayetteville canceled the trial Friday so a hearing can be held on new evidence in the case. No hearing date has been set.

Woods was charged along with Oren Paris III and Randell Shelton Jr.

An Arkansas judge has dismissed a murder charge in a case involving evidence gathered by an Amazon Echo smart speaker.

Television station KHOG reports that the prosecutors' request to dismiss a first-degree murder charge against James Andrew Bates was granted Wednesday.

Bates was charged in the November 2015 death of Victor Collins, whose body was found in a hot tub at Bates' home. Prosecutors say they requested the dismissal because the evidence supports more than one reasonable explanation.

John Rogers
Mark Friedman / Arkansas Business

A Chicago federal judge has revoked bond for an Arkansas sports memorabilia collector who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to wire fraud earlier this year.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin made the order Monday after prosecutors said John Rogers of North Little Rock, Arkansas, has continued to commit fraud. Federal prosecutors previously said Rogers defrauded investors by offering a phony Heisman Trophy as collateral for a $100,000 loan. Rogers pleaded guilty in March.

Ten Commandments
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A man charged with crashing his vehicle into Arkansas' Ten Commandments display nearly three years after he was accused of destroying a monument at Oklahoma's Capitol has been found mentally unfit to go to trial.

A Pulaski County judge on Thursday found Michael Tate Reed unfit to proceed and ordered him to be held by the state hospital for further evaluation. Judge Chris Piazza set a September 2018 hearing on Reed's mental status.

A federal appeals court says it won't reconsider a panel's ruling that Arkansas can block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, two years after the state ended its contract with the organization over videos secretly recorded by an anti-abortion group.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) was selected as to chair the Tax Reform and Relief Task Force.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Republican leader of the Arkansas Senate says his company is cutting ties with a drug rehabilitation program amid reports that workers provided by the nonprofit were not getting paid. In an interview with KUAR News, Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren denied any wrongdoing by his company.

The accusations were detailed by news outlet Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting as part of a larger series looking at questionable practices by some rehab programs. On Tuesday a story was published by reporters Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walker saying Hendren’s company in northwest Arkansas relied on the workers who weren’t getting any monetary compensation.

John Rogers
Mark Friedman / Arkansas Business

A plea and arraignment hearing is scheduled for Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court for former Arkansas sports memorabilia dealer John Rogers. He's facing state charges while awaiting sentencing next month on a federal wire fraud charge.

The new charges stem from the alleged theft by Rogers of three hard drives containing images valued at $364,167. In March he pleaded guilty in federal court after reaching a plea agreement that acknowledged he took part in an effort "to fraudulently obtain at least approximately $10 million" from investors, financial institutions and customers. Prosecutors say Rogers used a variety of schemes that included false pretenses, misrepresentations and lies.

Members of Arkansas' Supreme Court say the state must change a law that kept same-sex couples from listing both of their names on birth certificates, but disagree on who should do it.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled the Arkansas law invalid, and state justices Thursday sent a case back to a lower court. Three justices say Pulaski County Judge Tim Fox impermissibly rewrote the statute and needs to write a new order, while another justice wants Fox to hold additional hearings. Three justices said legislators alone can change the law.

A former Arkansas judge accused of giving lighter sentences to defendants in return for nude photographs and sexual favors has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and witness tampering charges.

Joseph Boeckmann had been set for trial later this month but changed his plea to guilty Thursday in federal court.

The head of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission has called the allegations among the worst cases of judicial misconduct in state history.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge is again asking a disciplinary panel to dismiss a complaint concerning his participation in an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked the state from using an execution drug.

An attorney for Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Friday renewed a request that the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission drop the complaint. Griffen was photographed in April lying down on a cot outside the governor's mansion after he blocked Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug over claims that the state misled a medical supply company.

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