The Arkansas Supreme Court has fired back at Court of Appeals criticism for shifting review of post-conviction relief petitions to the Court of Appeals.
I ran down this dispute yesterday, some of it reflective of Supreme Court unhappiness about the small advantage they enjoy in pay over their lessers at the Court of Appeals.
Brian Fanney reports on the news release — not generally distributed to the best of my knowledge — in the Sunday Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
It says the Supreme Court had authority to transfer cases without a rule change; that a limited number of cases were transferred; that the Court of Appeals had been informed about the transfer, and that training was provided on handling of the cases. The Supreme Court apparently also justified its separate staff that had handled such matters. The Court of Appeals had noted that along with complaining about a shift of cases without a formal rule change.
No response from the Court of Appeals to the news release. And there may not be. Columnist John Brummett added a relevant detail in his column — that Court of Appeals Chief Judge Rita Gruber had been called to the woodshed by the Supreme Court on Thursday. There are some tongues among the supremes that can do some lashing.
This is an item mostly of interest only to lawyers. The public would prefer its elected officials just to do their work. But it is decidedly an inauspicious happening in one respect. The Arkansas Supreme Court recently asked for an 11 percent pay raise while the rest of state government is struggling to make ends meet.
I’ll pass along a full copy of the news release if one is supplied in response to my request.