* The Arkansas Supreme Court today affirmed the capital murder conviction of Aaron Lewis in the 2014 slaying of realtor Beverly Carter. He’d challenged the circuit court’s denial of his motion to suppress some evidence, including recordings found on Lewis’ cell phone.

Investigators had traced a call on Carter’s phone to a phone belonging to Lewis’ wife. That led to a surveillance of Lewis, who was injured in a vehicle wreck. At that time, he gave as his phone number a number one digit away from the number of his wife’s phone, from which Carter had received text messages. He subsequently gave an accurate number and deputies seized Lewis’ phone. It contained a recording of Carter’s voice. Lewis raised a number of challenges to legalities of search and use of statements he made, all of which the court rejected.


In other actions today:

* CONTEMPT: The court affirmed a lower court finding that the city of Little Rock was in contempt of court for failing to timely pay a $10,000 penalty for its delays in defending a gender discrimination case.


Circuit Judge Tim Fox had held that the city should pay $10,000 for inexcusable delays in responding to Tiffany Malone’s gender discrimination complaint against the police department. Fox ordered the penalty paid in 10 days, which the city didn’t do. The city was trying to appeal the penalty. Fox found the city in contempt for failure to pay, but said it could be cured by City Attorney Tom Carpenter attending education courses on law office management. The city appealed both the penalty and the contempt finding.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on the penalty as moot because the city ultimately paid it voluntarily. It also said as to the remaining issue that it was indisputable that the city didn’t pay on time. It lost any attempt to justify that by challenging the legality of the penalty order when it voluntarily paid the fine. That precludes a review of the order, the court said.


* EXECUTION DRUGS: A procedural order notes that the McKesson drug distributor lawsuit against the state continues. This is the suit that attempted to reclaim a drug used in executions on the ground that it was obtained by dishonest state representations. Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen granted a temporary order to prohibit use of the drug in executions. The Supreme Court overruled him and removed him from the case because of his appearance at a death penalty demonstration the same day. It also overruled a similar order from another judge, Alice Gray. The drug was used and the remainder of the drug in the state’s possession is now out of date. But McKesson still wants its unused backs and is continuing with a full appeal of its claim.

* FOI:  The court declined to review a Court of Appeals ruling rejecting a Freedom of Information Act complaint by June Bradshaw over a Fort Smith School Board meeting at which a change of mascot of Southside High School was discussed. The lower court held the meeting was properly announced.