Arkansas Supreme Court

Melissa McCann-Arms
Arkansas Department Of Correction

The Arkansas Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a woman sentenced to 20 years in prison after giving birth to a baby with methamphetamine in his system.

The court handed down the decision Thursday for 39-year-old Melissa McCann-Arms. She and her son tested positive for the drug after she gave birth in 2012. She was convicted of a felony crime called introduction of controlled substance into body of another person.

The Arkansas Supreme Court is considering whether the state can claim sovereign immunity after the Arkansas Board of Education’s January takeover of the Little Rock School District.

In March, the Supreme Court issued a stay in a Circuit Court case after Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen ruled against the state's claim that it has sovereign immunity.

Arkansas Dept. of Correction

The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of an inmate convicted of killing his cellmate at a maximum security prison.

Robert Holland was convicted of capital murder in the 2012 strangulation of Matthew Scheile. According to court records, Holland had refused to have a cellmate but agreed to accept Scheile in his cell on Dec. 7, 2012. That same night, Scheile was found dead in the cell they shared at the Cummins unit.

An ethics panel has dismissed a complaint that four members of the Arkansas Supreme Court delayed proceedings in a gay marriage lawsuit.

The Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on Wednesday dismissed the complaint against Justices Karen Baker, Courtney Goodson, Jo Hart and Robin Wynne over the court's handling of the lawsuit over Arkansas' gay marriage ban.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has denied a requested rehearing of a ruling that says state wildlife officers violated a hunter's constitutional rights when they ran a criminal background check on him when they didn't have any reasonable suspicion he had violated any laws.

The rehearing request was denied in a ruling issued Thursday without comment, though it noted three justices would have granted the hearing.

Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed University of Arkansas judicial ethics professor Howard Brill as Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court Tuesday.

Brill has taught law for 40 years and served as a special justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. He said his judicial philosophy is one of restraint and adherence to the law.

Jim Hannah says he's stepping down as Arkansas' chief justice at the end of the month because of a "significant" health issue.

Hannah on Thursday announced he will leave the court Aug. 31, more than a year before his eight-year term on the court expires. Hannah had been widely expected to not seek re-election next year.

Hannah said in a statement he's resigning to focus full-time on his health.

Arkansas' highest court has ruled that state wildlife officers violated a hunter's constitutional rights when they ran a criminal background check on him when they didn't have any reasonable suspicion he had violated any laws.

Justices on Thursday reversed and remanded a Craighead County judge's denial of the motion to suppress evidence against Jimmy Paul Pickle. Pickle was arrested by Game and Fish officers after they found he was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, then found Pickle had methamphetamine and a glass pipe when they searched him.

Ulonzo Gordon
adc.arkansas.gov

An opinion issued by the Arkansas Supreme Court Thursday could have major implications for more than 50 state inmates who were sentenced to mandatory life sentences as juveniles.

The Arkansas Supreme Court issued two decisions Thursday, one concerning mandatory life sentences for crimes committed by juveniles, the other on a lawsuit against the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs.

In one case, justices ordered a new sentencing hearing for an inmate serving mandatory life in prison without parole for crimes he committed as a juvenile. The state's high court upheld a lower court ruling that Ulonzo Gordon should receive a new sentence in line with a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring mandatory life sentences for juveniles.

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