Attorney General Dustin McDaniel answered our questions about what his office will do now that the state essentially controls a district they’ve been fighting. In a statement, McDaniel addressed the potential conflict between the state’s position on desegregation money and that of the Pulaski County Special School District. He sought counsel from retired justice David Newbern who advised him to let the district’s previous lawyers continue with the case. According to McDaniel’s statement:
“Given the ongoing litigation involving the State and the Pulaski County Special School District, it is important to make certain that the interests of all parties in the litigation are protected. Therefore, when I was notified by the Governor that this action was about to take place, I requested advice from former Supreme Court Justice David Newbern, an expert on ethics and civil procedure. Justice Newbern has provided me with a written analysis and recommendations that I will follow.”
Here’s the gist of Newbern’s statement. His full letter is on the jump.
“My recommendation is that, in the event of state action to relieve the PCSSD Superintendent and Board of Directors, notice of that action be provided the [United States District Court] and added to the record before the Court of Appeals as soon as possible. The motion should request an order to the effect that, in view of the contingencies addressed above, appeals filed by PCSSD will be allowed to go forward and that counsel who have served PCSSD to date will be allowed to continue to participate in the appellate process to its conclusion and be compensated by [Department of Education] in accordance with whatever contract or other arrangement they had with PCSSD prior to the dismissals. Obviously, you could under no circumstances be counsel for both the state and PCSSD… The federal courts could, of course, entertain any issues about fairness of attorney fees for representation by PCSSD lawyers.”