Arkansas Judicial System

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35 men on Arkansas’s death row are now closer than anyone in the state has been in years to receiving a lethal injection. Governor Asa Hutchinson told reporters on Thursday he could soon begin scheduling execution dates. 

A former Arkansas district judge convicted of drug charges has been sentenced in an unrelated mail fraud case involving American Indian artifacts.

Bob Castleman, who was a judge in Pocahontas over a decade ago, has been sentenced to 21 months in prison and must pay nearly $16,800 in restitution.

The Jonesboro Sun reports  that Castleman had claimed to an insurance company in 2012 that Native American arrowheads were stolen from his residence. FBI agents later found the arrowheads in 2013.

Larry Jegley
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

The Arkansas House Judiciary Committee postponed a decision on a bill  Tuesday that would end life sentences without parole for crimes committed by juveniles.  The bill was pulled down for amendments following nearly two hours of discussion.

House Bill 1197 would end life without parole for individuals convicted of committing murder  before the age of 18 and allows for parole eligibility after a 20 year sentence if there was no intent to murder and 28 years for an intentional killing.

The FBI says it's looking into campaign donations made to a former circuit judge for his failed Arkansas Court of Appeals campaign.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the federal agency confirmed it's investigating contributions that came from political action committees traced back to a nursing home owner who had a case pending in Michael Maggio's court.

An FBI spokeswoman says she can't comment because it's an ongoing investigation.

Democratic Attorney General Nominee State Rep. Nate Steel (Nashville)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Democratic nominee for Arkansas attorney general Nate Steel took steps to distinguish himself from his Republican opponent Tuesday at the Political Animals Club in Little Rock. Steel said unlike his closest competitor Leslie Rutledge he will not focus on lawsuits against the EPA and federal government but instead on issues related to crime.

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.

An Arkansas jury sentenced a man to life in prison for a murder in retaliation for missing crack cocaine. The Texarkana Gazette reports a Miller County jury returned the verdict for 26-year-old Serandon Ramon Starling on Wednesday afternoon.

It took the jury 30 minutes to find him guilty of murder and committing a terroristic act. It took them 10 minutes to sentence him to two life terms and 15 years on each count of using a firearm in a felony.

A Pulaski County judge has opened a hearing in a lawsuit challenging Arkansas' constitutional ban on gay marriage.

State voters in 2004 approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. A number of same-sex couples filed suit this year asking that the amendment be set aside.

The lawsuit names officials from around the state, including county clerks and the state of Arkansas. The government wants the case dismissed, while those who sued are seeking an injunction to stop enforcement of the amendment.

A day after Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel generated headlines by saying that the state’s death penalty system is broken, he spoke with KUAR News Thursday about his hopes that this will spark a new debate in the coming weeks about what needs to be done by the state.

You can listen to the interview, aired during All Things Considered, above.

At the Arkansas Sheriffs Association convention Wednesday in Fort Smith, McDaniel pointed to roadblocks presented by endless litigation and the inability to get the drugs needed to carry out the procedure.

Judge To Hold Hearing For Arkansas Death Row Inmates

Mar 25, 2013


A hearing is planned in the case of six death row inmates who want the Arkansas Department of Correction to provide documents about lethal injection drugs. 

The hearing is scheduled for Monday morning in Pulaski County. Attorney Jeff Rosenzweig filed a lawsuit last week asking a judge to order the correction department to release the records under the Freedom of Information Act. The inmates are seeking documents containing information about the origin, history and quality of lethal injection drugs.