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Arkansas Supreme Court

Pro Government
Total Judgeships: 

7 (0 vacancies)

Political Makeup: 

Non-Partisan

Location(s): 
Little Rock
Caseload: 

300

Recent Cases

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Competency of Defendant Necessary to be Convicted

Thu, 06/26/2014

Newman v. Crawford County Circuit Court: Newman was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 2002. In 2014 a petition was filed against his conviction on the grounds that Newman was not in adequate health nor competent enough to stand trial back in 2002. In response, the Circuit Court accepted the appeal and committed Newman for care, detention, and treatment by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services and then to the county jail.

Decision

The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower court and, due to the care and treatment already granted in the case, declared the petitioner’s motion as moot. The Court reversed the death sentence conviction and remanded the case for a new trial upon the recovery of health by Newman.

Read the full decision here
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What is Calculated Against You When You Apply for Benefits?

Thu, 05/29/2014

Arkansas Department of Human Services v. Gordon Pierce: After Gordon was admitted to a long-term-care facility, his wife, Martha, applied for Medicaid assistance. When calculating her benefits, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took into consideration Martha’s 401k and IRA. Martha filed suit against HHS on the grounds that they should not have calculated in her retirement plan when determining Gordon’s benefits.

Decision

The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower courts by ruling that HHS acted within their power to take Martha’s retirement into consideration. Under the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act, a spouse’s retirement is considered a resource and asset to an individual applying for benefits.

Read the full decision here
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Licenses and Credentials Cannot Be Revoked Without Notice

Wed, 05/14/2014

Lonnie Williams v. Mark Martin: Williams petitioned the Circuit Court after it came to her attention that a candidate for circuit judge, A. Byrd, was not licensed as an attorney because she failed to pay her annual bar license fee on time. As a result, A. Byrd filed a complaint that the rule restricting her to run was unconstitutional. The Circuit Court dismissed William’s petition but granted Byrd’s complaint.

Decision

The Supreme Court of Arkansas affirmed the decision of the lower court. The Court decided that Rule VII of the Arkansas Supreme Court’s Rules Governing Admission to the Bar was unconstitutional on the basis that her license was revoked without giving her notice or due process. As a result, Byrd was legally allowed to continue her candidacy.

Read the full decision here