Arkansas Courts

An Arkansas judge has agreed to never seek judicial office again in the state after admitting that he made inappropriate comments online, including the revelation of confidential details involving actress Charlize Theron's adoption of her son.

The Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission announced Wednesday that Circuit Judge Mike Maggio has agreed to be suspended for the rest of the year with pay, then be removed from office. The state Supreme Court must approve the agreement.

Opening arguments are set in a resentencing trial for an Arkansas man whose death sentence was overturned more than two years ago by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Frank Williams Jr. was convicted in Lafayette County for the 1992 killing of farmer Clyde Smith. But in December 2011, the state's highest court ordered that Williams be resentenced, citing problems with his original sentencing in 1993.

Opponents of Arkansas' 12-week abortion ban say a federal appeals court should rule the law unconstitutional, arguing the state is trying to overturn 40 years of court precedent by seeking to reinstate the prohibition.

Two Little Rock doctors who perform abortions filed a brief Thursday asking the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a federal judge's ruling that the ban is unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Center for Reproductive Rights sued on behalf of the doctors.

Bill James
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Supreme Court has tossed out nine of the 10 contempt violations a judge issued to an attorney who represented a former Little Rock police officer in a manslaughter trial over the shooting death of a teenager.

Justices on Thursday reversed all but one of the violations and fines that Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen levied against Bill James in last year's trial of Joshua Hastings.

Prosecutors in April dropped the felony manslaughter charge against Hastings after two previous mistrials.

Terrick Nooner
Arkansas Dept. of Correction

Arkansas' highest court has denied a bid to reopen the case of a death row inmate convicted of a 1993 killing at a Little Rock laundry.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday denied Terrick Nooner's request to vacate his death sentence and order a new sentencing hearing in his capital murder conviction for the killing of Scot Stobaugh.

Nooner's attorneys had argued for the new sentencing hearing on grounds the jury didn't consider evidence that he had a troubled childhood.

Leaders in Faulkner County say they'll ask the Arkansas Supreme Court to appoint a temporary judge to handle the caseload left by the vacancy of Circuit Judge Mike Maggio.

Earlier this year, the high court removed cases from Maggio's docket and assigned them to other judges amid investigations of ethics violations by Maggio. On Tuesday, the Faulkner County Circuit Court agreed to ask the Supreme Court to appoint a special judge on a permanent basis until the first of the year, when Troy Braswell takes over the Division II judgeship.

An anti-abortion group based in Texas wants to help Arkansas officials defend the state's 12-week abortion ban before a federal appeals court.

The Justice Foundation on Monday asked to file a friend of the court brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals defending the Arkansas law prohibiting most abortions 12 weeks into a woman's pregnancy. The group said it wanted to file the brief on behalf of women who it said had suffered physical and psychological injuries because of their abortions.

A Jonesboro orthodontist is suing the Arkansas Dental Examiners Board over a claim that barring him from offering stand-alone basic services like cleanings and X-rays is unconstitutional.

Lawyers for Dr. Benjamin Burris on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit in Little Rock that names the dental board and its members.

The Washington County clerk has resumed issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a day after a circuit judge in Pulaski County ruled that all state laws barring gay marriage are unconstitutional.

Two same-sex couples received wedding licenses shortly after the Washington County clerk's office opened Friday at 8 a.m. Clerk Becky Lewallen says a couple did stop by Thursday afternoon for a license, but she told them toreturn in the morning.

Two courts are considering challenges to Arkansas' new voter ID law as early voting approaches for the state's May 20 primary.

Pulaski County Judge Tim Fox is scheduled to hold a hearing Friday afternoon on whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the new law that requires voters to show photo identification before they cast a ballot. Fox struck down the law in a separate case last week, but the state Supreme Court stayed that ruling while it considers an appeal of the decision.