The Friday night line is open:
* ARKANSAS TIMES FESTIVAL OF IDEAS: Tomorrow is the day for our second Festival of Ideas. It’s a full schedule of free seassions at the Old State House, Clinton School, Historic Arkansas Museum and Heifer International on music, film, art, business development, education, technology and current issues such as crime, immigration and health care
The full schedule is here.
Find me at 2 p.m. at the Old State House for a panel with Sen. David Sanders, Mayor Mark Stodola and City Director Ken Richardson on crime, punishment and rehabilitation. Sheila Sharp, director of Community Correction for the state, and her chief deputy, Dina Tyler, will be in the audience as we discuss parole and related topics. I don’t intend this to be a rehash of recent legislative hearings on procedural parole issues (though that will undoubtedly come up), but a broader discussion of organic issues — causes of crime, parole versus punishment, community re-entry of offenders. The RSVP count indicates some strong interest in the subject.
* BLUE HOG WALLOWS IN IRONY: The Blue Hog Report, in looking through an FOI response from the secretary of state’s office, finds they’d inadvertently supplied him evidence of an office employee engaging in some political e-mailing on his state account. The horror! It’s small stuff (just distribution of political articles), but the irony is rich, given the Republican Party’s effort to destroy Blue Hog (Matt Campbell), a former state employee, for blogging he once did on breaks from his former job in the judicial department.
* PARTIAL REVERSAL OF RULING IN SALINE COUNTY JAIL CASE: The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today, acting before trial on a question in a lawsuit over the death of an inmate at the Saline County Jail, reversed a portion of a lower court order. This is the case by Elaine Thompson over the death of her son, Johnny, who died from a drug overdose in the jail. He appeared intoxicated and died before receiving medical attention. The court earlier had said all defendants but two jail officers had immunity from lawsuit. Today, the 8th Circuit said one of those officers, Stephen Furr, also should have immunity because he hadn’t demonstrated deliberate indifference to Thompson’s medical needs. But it left in place the finding that there was a question for the jury on the conduct by deputy Ulenzen King. There evidence exists that King should have known Thompson had obvious medical needs. Full opinion here.
* FACTS V. FAITH — CHAPTER UMPTEEN: No, the science doesn’t support the proffered premise for anti-abortion legislation craftily marketed as “fetal pain” legislation. This, you’ll recall was passed in Arkansas this year over Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto because it is unconstitutional to prohibit a woman to have an abortion before fetal viability, as the 20-week bans do. It also staggeringly insensitive to women who could be forced to carry malformed fetuses to term, even at great risk to themselves.
* JURY JUDGING: At last word, David Koon says they’re still working to fill the jury in the retrial of Josh Hastings for manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a fleeing suspect when he was a police officer.
* INJUDICIOUS JUDGE: The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission announced today it had issued a letter of “informal adjustment” to Circuit Judge Annie Hendricks of Fort Smith for an ethical breach. She identified herself as judge in a sharp text message to a former in-law demanding that he return the iPad of a child of her stepsister.
* PARTISAN JUDGING: I looked up the campaign website of the judge, Melissa Goodwin, who wrote the decision for a 2-1 court overturning Tom DeLay’s conviction for laundering campaign cash into Republican legislative races in Texas. Excerpt:
Participation in Republican Party
I’m not new to the Republican Party. My husband Grant and I have been active in the Travis County Republican Party for over a decade. I have been active in TFRW Clubs for over 10 years. My primary TFRW club is Hill Country Republican Women, though I am also an associate member of numerous TFRW Clubs. I am a former President of Hill Country Republican Women (2001-2003). I have twice been honored at the State Convention Tribute to Women Luncheon for activities to promote Republican efforts within Travis County and the Region (2002 and 2008). Since 1999, I have regularly attended Precinct Conventions, County Conventions (SD 14 as a Delegate, SD 25 as a guest) and State Conventions.
She added a new party credit this week.