In a Supreme Court decision last week, the justices said Arkansas can retry a man for murder even though jurors were unanimously opposed to some charges and undecided on others. As a result, the man's first jury trial ended in a mistrial and the state set another trial date. This is normally the case when a hung jury cannot agree on the verdict. However, this Supreme Court decision will probably cause criminal defense attorneys to ensure that a jury's intentions are specific, closed to interpretation and entered into the court record in the future.
According to a new Public Safety Performance Project study by the Pew Center on the States, a division of the Pew Charitable Trusts, Arkansas's prison population doubled during the last 20 years. Part of the reason was because our state judges were keeping white collar, or non-violent, criminals behind bars; underutilizing probation, going beyond the sentencing guidelines and delaying their release to parole. In addition, the state was not developing plans or services to help reduce recidivism.
The name of a 37-year-old man shot Friday night in Jonesboro has been released. Interestingly enough, the shooter, originally from Pine Bluff, turned himself in over the weekend. He was charged with first-degree murder, and his bond and parole hearing is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier this week, an Arkansas man was arrested in Florida then extradited to Pike County where he is facing an outstanding contempt of court warrant. However, State Police are questioning him as a person of interest in a November 2011 horse theft and death case.
A 29-year old man was convicted this week in Little Rock federal court for drug trafficking. Arrested three years ago, he was found guilty of two counts of possessing more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana with the intent to distribute. He faces at least 10 years in prison, no less than five years of probation and up to $4 million in fines.