NewsEvents

Rutledge Statement on News of Ebby Steppach

'I ask my fellow Arkansans to help shine light on the state’s over 500 active missing person cases’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued a statement in response to the developments of the Ebby Steppach’s case in Little Rock after she went missing in 2015.

“Over the past two years, Arkansans have kept Ebby’s family in their thoughts and prayers as they sought answer into Ebby’s disappearance” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I first met Ebby’s mother, Laurie Jernigan, in 2016 at my Annual Never Forgotten event along with many other brave families of missing persons. I witnessed her grief firsthand, but I also saw Laurie’s true strength as she endured unimaginable pain. As Laurie and her family bring their daughter home, I pray they find solace and peace as they wrestle with this difficult new reality. On this devastating occasion, I ask my fellow Arkansans to help shine light on the state's over 500 active missing persons cases. Please pray for Ebby's family as well as for those who are searching for other missing Arkansans."

For more information on the full list of missing persons from Arkansas, go to NeverForgotten.ar.gov.

Rutledge Issues Decisions on Pending Ballot Measures

The Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms the Attorney General’s call for the General Assembly to clarify the ballot measure process

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced that in light of the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision today in Couch v. Rutledge, she is certifying ballot titles for proposals to raise the minimum wage, authorize casino gaming, and revise the legislative redistricting process. Attorney General Rutledge is rejecting a proposal that would legalize marijuana because of insufficiencies and fundamental flaws in the text of the measure.

“I have issued opinions on ballot proposals based on standards set forth in statutes as well as case law of the Arkansas Supreme Court,” said Rutledge. “However, the Arkansas Supreme Court has once again muddied the waters on these standards by offering no insight in its decision requiring me to certify or substitute language of a ballot title that I had previously rejected. In light of the Arkansas Supreme Court’s failure to put forth clear standards, I am certifying these proposals in an exercise of caution to ensure Arkansans are given an opportunity to put these measures on the ballot.”

“To be clear, today’s certifications do not prevent a citizen from legally challenging a ballot proposal once the required number of signatures are submitted to the Arkansas Secretary of State. Therefore, it is a real possibility that any one or all of the certified proposals will not appear on the ballot in November.”

“The Arkansas Supreme Court’s failure to include clear standards and reasoning has only exacerbated the confusion surrounding ballot title submissions. As I stated last week, I am calling on the General Assembly to create a system ensuring Arkansans have a clear and fair process to amend the constitution and place initiatives on the ballot.”

Rutledge Sets June Mobile Office Locations

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for June.

Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and assisted nearly 1,000 Arkansans last year.

Rutledge believes in face-to-face conversations to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.

This year, the Cooperative Extension Service will be on hand at each mobile office to also provide information on the services they provide statewide.

Rutledge continues her partnership with local law enforcement across Arkansas to offer prescription drug take back boxes at each mobile office. Law enforcement will be at all mobile offices to handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Rutledge encourages Arkansans to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office.

For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.

The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:

Cleburne County

Tuesday, June 5

10:30 a.m. – noon

Heber Springs Community Center

201 Bobbie Jean Lane

Heber Springs, AR 72543

Miller County

Thursday, June 7

10:30 a.m. – noon

Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative, Texarkana Office

2904 E. 9th St.

Texarkana, AR 71854

Fulton County

Tuesday, June 12

10:30 a.m. – noon

North Arkansas Electric Cooperative in Salem

225 S. Main

Salem, AR 72576

Hot Spring County

Thursday, June 14

9:30 to 11 a.m.

Central Arkansas Development Council Malvern Senior Activity Center

1800 W. Moline

Malvern, AR 72104

Ouachita County

Tuesday, June 19

10:30 a.m. – noon

Ouachita County Cooperative Extension Service

2760 Mount Holly Road

Camden, AR 71701

St. Francis County

Thursday, June 21

10:30 a.m. – noon

St. Francis County Cooperative Extension Service

313 S. Izard St.

Forrest City, AR 72335

Polk County

Tuesday, June 26

10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Mena-Polk County Senior Center

401 Autumn Drive

Mena, AR 71953

Pope County

Thursday, June 28

10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Pope County Senior Wellness and Activity Center

1010 S. Rochester Ave.

Russellville, AR 72802

Rutledge Announces Hot Springs Man Sentenced for Crimes Involving Children

Says, ‘I am committed to getting these predators out of our neighborhoods and off the internet’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that a Garland County man has been sentenced to 60 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction on child exploitation charges.

Gerald Lee Groomes, 46, of Hot Springs, was convicted by a jury of 20 counts of possessing, distributing or viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.

“The Cyber Crimes Unit at the Attorney General’s office works diligently to protect Arkansas children and families,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I appreciate the partnerships across the State to protect our children and ensure these dangerous criminals are brought to justice. I am committed to getting these predators out of our neighborhoods and off the internet.”

Groomes was arrested in 2017 after a search was executed by Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit with assistance from the Hot Springs Police Department. Attorneys from the Attorney General’s office were appointed as special deputy prosecutors. Judge Homer Wright sentenced Groomes in Garland County Circuit Court.

Rutledge Calls on General Assembly to Fix Initiative Process

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today calls on the General Assembly to fix the initiative (and referenda) process.

“Today, I call on the General Assembly to fix the process by which a citizen can place an initiative to amend the Arkansas Constitution on the election ballot. Citizens should know very early in the process whether the Arkansas Supreme Court approves of the language of their proposal, prior to their spending significant amounts of time and money collecting signatures and educating voters on the issue. I am dedicated to working with the General Assembly to create such a system and will continue looking out for the best interests of all Arkansans to ensure the process is clear and fair.

“Under current state law, I am required as Attorney General to review proposed initiatives to ensure they are not misleading. In determining whether a proposal is misleading, I must follow the very strict standard set forth by the Arkansas Supreme Court in the Lange and Wilson cases from 2016. These Supreme Court decisions require that it be clear to Arkansans what a ‘for’ or ‘against’ vote means.

“Only proposals that I am confident meet the Supreme Court’s stringent test are approved. After I approve the language, citizens must spend a great amount of time and money gathering the required number of signatures to have their proposal placed on the election ballot by the Secretary of State. At this point, opponents of the proposal can ask the Arkansas Supreme Court to strike it down. In its review the Court does not consider my initial approval of the proposal, but instead takes a completely new look at the language. Because such challenges occur very close to the election, proposals rejected by the Arkansas Supreme Court often still appear on the election ballot, adding further confusion for Arkansas voters.

“This is not the best process for Arkansans. Citizens who want to place an initiative on the ballot should not be required to get the language approved by both the Attorney General and the Arkansas Supreme Court. The process for citizens to have initiative language approved should have clear standards and deadlines. Therefore, I call on the General Assembly to create a system during the 2019 legislative session to ensure Arkansans have a clear and fair process to have an initiative to amend the State Constitution placed on the ballot.”

Rutledge Announces Arrest of A Pulaski County Man for Crimes Involving Children

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of a Pulaski County man for crimes involving children.

Justin Axelroth, 38, of Little Rock, was arrested by the Attorney General’s office Cyber Crimes Unit on 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony. He is currently being held on bond at the Pulaski County Detention Facility.

Special agents in the Attorney General’s office seized multiple computers, external hard drives and cell phones from the home. The file will be turned over to Sixth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley when completed.

May
31
Thursday

Montgomery County Resources Day

Mount Ida Senior Activity Center
158 Senior Drive

Mobile Office
10 to 11:30 a.m.
Prescription drug take back partner: Sheriff David White

Scams and Identity Theft Presentation
11 to 11:30 a.m.

 10:00 AMVIEW 
June
5
Tuesday

Cleburne County Resources Day

Heber Springs Community Center
201 Bobbie Jean Lane

Mobile Office
10:30 a.m. to noon

Prescription Drug Take Back
Law enforcement partner: Sheriff Chris Brown
10:30 a.m. to noon

Prescription for Life Presentation
11:30 a.m. to noon

 10:30 AMVIEW 
June
7
Thursday

Miller County Resources Day

Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative
2904 East 9th Street, Texarkana

Mobile Office

10:30 a.m. to noon

Prescription Drug Take Back

Law enforcement partner: Sheriff Jackie Runion

10:30 a.m. to noon

Prescription for Life Presentation

11:30 a.m. to noon

 10:30 AMVIEW 
June
12
Tuesday

Fulton County Resources Day

North Arkansas Electric Cooperative
225 South Main, Salem

Mobile Office
10:30 a.m. to noon

Prescription Drug Take Back
Law enforcement partner: Sheriff Albert Roork
10:30 a.m. to noon

Prescription for Life Presentation
10:30 to 11 a.m.

 10:30 AMVIEW 
June
14
Thursday

Hot Spring County Resources Day

Malvern Senior Activity Center
1800 W. Moline Street

Mobile Office
9:30 to 11 a.m.

Prescription Drug Take Back
Law enforcement partner: Hot Spring County Sheriff Mike Cash
9:30 to 11 a.m.

Identity Theft and Scams Presentation
10:30 to 11 a.m.

 9:30 AMVIEW 
June
19
Tuesday

Ouachita County Resources Day

Ouachita County Cooperative Extension Office
2760 Mount Holly Road, Camden

Mobile Office
10:30 a.m. to noon

Prescription Drug Take Back
Law enforcement partner: Sheriff David Norwood
10:30 a.m. to noon

Prescription for Life Presentation
11:30 a.m. to noon

 10:30 AMVIEW 
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