Arkansas Courts

A lawsuit against Craighead County claims that everyone who has been sentenced in circuit court may have been unlawfully charged an $86 fee.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that the county may owe those defendants the money if a circuit judge agrees with the claim. Attorney Mark Rees argues on behalf of Christopher Miles and all other similarly situated persons that the county collected $236 in court costs from individuals who were issued a judgment.

Arkansas Code sets a $150 cost for misdemeanor or felony violations of state law in circuit court.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit by death row inmates that challenges the state's execution law.

The court issued a brief statement Thursday granting the request for oral argument by the inmates' attorneys. The statement says a date will be set later.

Nine inmates have asked justices to uphold a circuit judge's decision to strike down the portion of the law that blocks state officials from revealing where Arkansas gets its execution drugs.

The FBI is backing away from an Arkansas prosecutor's statement that its agents would help unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple, saying it hasn't examined the devices and isn't sure whether it can help.

The FBI's statement Thursday didn't rule out help in the Arkansas case, but said that without more details, it doesn't know whether its agents can access the devices.

Hunter Drexler
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

The FBI has agreed to help an Arkansas prosecutor unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple.

Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said Wednesday that the FBI agreed to the request from his office.

The trial for 18-year-old Hunter Drexler was delayed Tuesday so prosecutors could ask for help. He's accused in the shooting deaths of Robert and Patricia Cogdell. 

15-year-old Justin Staton also is charged in the shootings. The Conway couple had raised Staton as their grandson. 

A former Arkansas sheriff has pleaded guilty to felony charges of abuse of public trust and theft of property and was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Former Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington pleaded guilty to the circuit court charges Tuesday.

Saline County Circuit Court Judge Gary Arnold ordered that the sentence be served concurrently with a federal prison term of one year and one day that Pennington received late last year after pleading guilty to using money from his campaign account to pay for personal items and expenses.

Hunter Drexler
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

A judge has postponed the trial of a teenager charged in the shooting deaths of an Arkansas couple so prosecutors can ask the FBI to help access an iPod and iPhone to search for evidence.

The trial of 18-year-old Hunter Drexler for his role in the killing of Robert and Patricia Cogdell was moved from next week to June 27. Drexler is charged with capital murder.

Deputy Prosecutor Hugh Finkelstein said Tuesday that the Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and Conway Police would reach out to the FBI to ask for help.

File photo: Former Circuit Court Judge Michael Maggio outside of federal court in Little Rock.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Federal prosecutors say a former Arkansas circuit judge should be sentenced to 10 years in prison for lowering a jury award in exchange for campaign donations from a nursing home operator.

In a filing Tuesday, U.S. attorneys say former Faulkner County Circuit Judge Michael Maggio lied to the Arkansas Ethics Commission, failed to cooperate under his plea agreement and failed a lie detector test when asked about details of the alleged bribery.

On Monday, Maggio filed a request asking for leniency and probation when he's sentenced Thursday.

Luther Sutter Dennis Milligan
KATV, Channel 7 News

A Little Rock attorney has filed a civil lawsuit against the state treasurer over an incident last month that turned into a shoving match.

Attorney Luther Sutter filed the lawsuit Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Sutter represents a former treasurer's office employee who filed a federal lawsuit against Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan and his chief of staff alleging defamation.

Before a deposition in the case in February, Sutter entered the room on his cellphone and cursed. Sutter says he apologized to Milligan's wife, who was in the room.

Michael Maggio
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A former state judge in Arkansas is asking that probation be considered for his sentence in a bribery case where he admitted to lowering a jury award in a lawsuit in exchange for campaign donations from a nursing home operator.

Attorneys for former Faulkner County Circuit Judge Michael Maggio asked Monday that he be sentenced below the guidelines in the bribery case. Maggio is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday and faces up to 10 years in prison.

A federal lawsuit filed against the Benton County sheriff says the elected official had a list of employees he planned to dismiss after the March 1 primary election.

Three sheriff's office employees filed the suit against Sheriff Kelley Cradduck on Thursday. They're suing for violation of their free speech rights and association, along with civil rights. They also allege there was an Arkansas Whistle Blowers Act violation because the sheriff's behavior is in retaliation to the employee's cooperation with a state police investigation against him.