Arkansas Supreme Court

Marissa Marisa Pavan Birth Certificate certificates same-sex marrriage
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' highest court will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit over whether married same-sex couples can have the names of both spouses on their children's birth certificate without a court order.

The Arkansas Supreme Court says it will not reconsider its decision rejecting an appeal by an inmate sentenced to death for the killing of a prison guard in eastern Arkansas.

Without comment, justices said Thursday they would not grant a rehearing to inmate Latavious Johnson, who was convicted of capital murder in the death of guard Barbara Ester. The court rejected Johnson's appeal last month after he argued jurors at his 2014 trial should have considered a lesser manslaughter charge.

John Williams death row attorney lethal injection
courts.arkansas.gov/courts/supreme-court

Executions may be a step closer to resuming in Arkansas if the state’s Supreme Court rules in favor of Arkansas’s lethal injection drug-supplier secrecy laws.

John Williams, an attorney for eight inmates on death row argued before the high court Thursday that state secrecy about drug suppliers violates their constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

Arkansas is running out of time to put eight prisoners to death before one of its lethal drugs expires next month, even if the state Supreme Court gives a quick green light after hearing an inmate challenge to execution procedures next week.

The state finds itself against a deadline because its supply of the paralytic vecuronium bromide - one of the three drugs in Arkansas' lethal drug protocol - expires June 30. The state's drug supplier has said it won't sell the state more.

An attorney representing four judges says the Legislature circumvented the Arkansas Constitution when it passed a law eliminating retirement benefits for judges who are elected at age 70 or older.

The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday in an appeal of a lower court's December ruling upholding the law.

The state framed the law as protecting the integrity of the judiciary because a person's abilities can deteriorate with age. Judges who turn 70 while they are in office can finish their term without losing their benefits.

The Arkansas Supreme Court says an Arkansas law does not give inmates credit for jail sentences served before their probation is revoked.

The court issued the ruling Thursday after a Pulaski County man argued that a lower court should have granted him 120 days of jail credit. Michael Burgess was sentenced to serve the 120 days and then serve terms of probation.

The lower court denied Burgess credit for the 120 days when he violated probation and was given an additional jail sentence of 36 months.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by an inmate sentenced to death for killing a prison guard.

The court issued its opinion Thursday that a lower court did not commit error during the 2014 trial of Latavious Johnson when it didn't instruct the jury on the requirements for a lesser manslaughter charge.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has ordered a county clerk to appear next month and explain why the court should not hold her in contempt.

The court issued the order Thursday for Lincoln County Clerk Cindy Glover to appear before the court on May 5 and explain a filing issue with an inmate's legal appeal. Inmate Kenny Halfacre had asked for a poverty designation to file a lawsuit without paying the filing fee.

That request was denied, and Halfacre tried to appeal. The clerk's office had not filed the orders because no fees had been paid, which halted the appeal.

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.

A split Arkansas Supreme Court says a Bella Vista police officer doesn't have to face trial after arresting the wrong woman on an outstanding warrant.

Officer Travis Trammell claimed there was no intent to commit false imprisonment, and that he should be immune from the lawsuit.

Trammell claimed that, while checking on a report of gunfire, dispatchers told him a woman at the scene was wanted on a warrant in Elkins. After the woman objected, Trammell re-checked with the dispatcher, who told him the warrant was good.

Pages