Arkansas Supreme Court

The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected an effort to make it easier to challenge proposed constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by the Legislature.

Justices on Thursday rejected an attorney's request to change court rules to allow challenges to be filed directly with the state Supreme Court over proposed amendments referred to voters by the Legislature. The proposal would have also required the same standard on ballot measures initiated by voters to be used on legislatively referred ones.

Judge Bobby McCallister
Arkansas Business

An Arkansas judge accused to failing to pay state and federal income taxes is agreeing to a temporary suspension with pay.

An attorney for Saline County Circuit Court Judge Bobby McCallister told the state Supreme Court in a filing Monday the judge agrees to the temporary suspension until his tax case is resolved. The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission asked justices for McCallister's temporary suspension with pay after he was charged with four felony counts of failing to pay taxes.

A state commission will be holding a public hearing Tuesday morning on its proposal to raise salaries by two percent for state elected officials. The Independent Citizens Commission meets at the state Capitol Tuesday at 9am. The commission has proposed pay raises for members of the state judiciary, including Supreme Court justices, Appeals Court justices; state legislators and the state’s seven constitutional officers.  

Arkansas' highest court is seeking an 11 percent pay raise for its justices, a move the chief justice says is needed to be in line with what other state supreme courts in the country are paid.

Chief Justice Dan Kemp on Tuesday outlined the proposal to the Independent Citizens Commission, which sets salaries for the state's top elected officials.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has denied requests to stay the executions of two death row inmates scheduled to die this month. The court denied requests from inmates Stacey Johnson and Ledell Lee. The court’s orders relate to the inmates’ post-conviction appeals process.

Jason McGehee
Department of Correction

The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected an effort to block the execution for one of eight inmates who are scheduled to be put to death next month.

Justices on Thursday denied a motion to recall the mandate in the case of convicted murderer Jason McGehee, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on April 27. McGehee's attorney had asked justices to vacate his death sentence and send his case back to a lower court for resentencing, citing problems with the verdict forms in his resentencing.

Attorneys for eight Arkansas death row inmates scheduled to be put to death next month are asking the state's highest court to void Gov. Asa Hutchinson's orders setting their execution dates.

The inmates asked the state Supreme Court on Wednesday to invalidate the proclamations scheduling their executions. On Monday, Hutchinson set four double executions during a 10-day period in April, though the state is lacking one of the drugs needed to put the men to death.

Execution dates have been set for eight Arkansas death row inmates, but attorneys for the men argue their appeals have not been exhausted. The state hasn’t carried out an execution since 2005.

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a proclamation Monday scheduling four double executions on four separate days in April. It comes after the U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected a request by the inmates to review a state court ruling upholding an Arkansas law that keeps the source of lethal injection drugs secret.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has struck down a city's ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but it stopped short of saying whether a state law aimed at prohibiting local LGBT protections is constitutional.

Fayetteville anti-discrimination Arkansas Supreme Court
courts.arkansas.gov

The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday concerning Fayetteville’s anti-discrimination ordinance which includes protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Justices questioned whether the city ordinance, passed by voters there in September 2015, conflicts with a state law passed earlier that year which bans cities and counties from enacting protections not contained in the state's civil rights law.

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