Prosecutor’s Campaigning During Trial Leads to Overturned Murder Conviction

An Arkansas man will be tried a fourth time for murder after the state’s high court on Thursday overturned his latest conviction because of the prosecutor’s campaign activities during trial, which it found to be an “abuse and exploitation of the judicial system.”

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Presidential Pardon

Democrat Jimmie Wilson is ineligible to serve in the Arkansas House of Representatives, the state’s high court ruled, because he was convicted in 1990 of converting public money or property for personal use and converting property mortgaged or pledged to farm credit agencies. Wilson’s pardon from President Bill Clinton “did not restore his eligibility” to serve in the Arkansas General Assembly.

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Signature Gathering

The Eighth Circuit reversed a decision that enjoined the Arkansas Secretary of State from enforcing the state’s initiative petition rules, which require in-person signatures and notarizations. A group of voters argued the rules violate their First Amendment rights and endanger people due to Covid-19, but the signature requirement does not impose “severe burdens” and the notarization requirement has no effect on the “communication of ideas associated with petition circulation.”

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