Justia Constitutional Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the circuit court denying the State's motion to dismiss and granting a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiff, holding that the preliminary injunction was granted erroneously.Plaintiff, a hearing-instrument dispenser whose license was not renewed, brought this action against the Arkansas Department of Health, the Secretary of Health, and Arkansas Board of Hearing Instrument Dispensers, and the Executive Director of the Board of Hearing Instrument Dispensers (collectively, the State), arguing that the Board's refusal to provide him a proper renewal notice and a hearing violated his due process and equal protection rights and was an arbitrary and capricious abuse of the Board's power. The circuit court granted Plaintiff's request for a temporary injunction and declaratory relief. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) Plaintiff adequately pleaded a due process claim; (2) Plaintiff's equal protection claim was barred by sovereign immunity; and (3) because the preliminary injunction order contained no findings on irreparable harm or likelihood of success on the merits, the case must be remanded for findings in accordance with Ark. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(1). View "Arkansas Department of Health v. Solomon" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying John Thurston's motion to dismiss this action based on sovereign immunity, holding that Thurston was not entitled to sovereign immunity.Plaintiffs, the League of Women Voters of Arkansas and Arkansas United and several individuals, filed suit against Defendants, including Thurston in his official capacity as the Secretary of State, alleging that four acts passed by the 93rd Session of the Arkansas General Assembly were unconstitutional. Thurston filed a motion to dismiss based on sovereign immunity, which the circuit court granted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Thurston was not entitled to sovereign immunity under the facts of this case. View "Thurston v. League of Women Voters of Ark." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the supplemental order of the circuit court denying Ark. R. Crim. P. 37 relief, holding that the circuit court did not err.Defendant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. Defendant later sought postconviction relief, which the circuit court denied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant was not denied the right to a fair and impartial jury; (2) the circuit court did not clearly err in denying Defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel arguments; (3) Defendant's challenges to the third death-penalty verdict form did not constitute grounds for relief under Rule 37; (4) Defendant's challenges to the verdict forms did not constitute grounds for relief; and (5) Defendant's remaining allegations of error were without merit. View "Gay v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Appellant's petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1, holding that the circuit court did not err in denying relief.In denying and dismissing Appellant's petition, the circuit court found that the criminal information in this case was not deficient and that Appellant's counsel provided effective assistance. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, contrary to Appellant's contention on appeal, the criminal information complied with Ark. Const. art. VII, 49. View "Halliburton v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgment denying Appellant's petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1, holding that Appellant's claims lacked merit.Appellant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced as a habitual offender to life imprisonment without parole. In his postconviction petition, Appellant argued, among other things, that his counsel provided ineffective assistance. The circuit court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant was not entitled to relief on any of his allegations of error. View "Thomas v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the circuit court's dismissal of Plaintiff's lawsuit against the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (collectively, State Defendants) and Nature's Herbs and Wellness of Arkansas, LLC, holding that the Court lacked jurisdiction.Plaintiff brought this suit alleging violations of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission's administrative rules, the Administrative Procedure Act, and Plaintiff's equal protection and due process rights. The circuit court concluded that Plaintiff lacked standing to bring its lawsuit and dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court dismissed Plaintiff's appeal, holding that because the record was not filed within ninety days from the filing of the first notice of appeal this Court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. View "Medicanna, LLC v. Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed as moot in part the order of the circuit court that disposed of Appellant's motion for the return of seized property, holding that the circuit court correctly held that Appellant's available remedy was a separate action in the civil division of the circuit court or some other remedy.The county sheriff seized thirty-one dogs belonging to Appellant. Appellant was subsequently found guilty of thirty-one misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. After the circuit court dismissed the charges on speedy-trial grounds Appellant filed a motion to have the dogs returned to her. The circuit court did not order the return of the seized dogs or that Appellant be compensated for the property. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to provide the requested relief; and (2) Appellant's constitutional arguments were moot. View "Siegel v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's order dismissing Appellant's complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, holding that there was no error.Appellant was cited for aiding and abetting two individuals in his boat who were violating Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AG&FC) Regulation N1.03(B)(3)(i)(b), which prohibits using barbed hooks in designated areas, and Regulation 1.00-C. Appellant filed a complaint seeking declaratory judgment that the two regulations are unconstitutional because they are in direct conflict with Ark. Code Ann. 35, 8. The circuit court dismissed the complaint, determining that there was no conflict between the AG&FC regulations and the Arkansas Constitution. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the regulations in question were not unconstitutional. View "Peveto v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Petitioner's petition for postconviction relief without holding an evidentiary hearing, holding that there was no error.Petitioner was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. In his petition for postconviction relief, Petitioner alleged that his counsel was ineffective for failing to develop the defense of provocation, among other things. The circuit court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court's finding that Petitioner did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel was not clearly erroneous. View "Coakley v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner's pro se petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a petition for writ of error coram nobis, holding that Petitioner failed to raise allegations that warranted coram nobis relief.Petitioner was found guilty of the rape of his minor daughter and sentenced to life imprisonment. In his petition for coram nobis relief, Petitioner argued that his daughter had recanted her trial testimony, his daughter perjured herself, and his trial counsel was ineffective. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding that Petitioner failed to establish that he was entitled to the writ. View "Chunestudy v. State" on Justia Law