Rutledge Comments on Arkansas Supreme Court Decision to Uphold the State’s Lethal Injection StatuteThu, Mar 19, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following statement after reviewing the decision of the Arkansas Supreme Court to uphold the State’s lethal injection statute:
“I am pleased that the State’s highest Court has upheld the constitutionality of Arkansas’s death penalty law that provides for executions to occur by lethal injection. I am hopeful that this decision will allow the convictions of those on death row to move forward so that some closure and justice is brought to the families of the victims. As Attorney General, I remain committed to working with the General Assembly to strengthen the State’s death penalty law even further.”
Rutledge Announces Pulaski County Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography ChargesThu, Mar 19, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that a Pulaski County man has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and has been sentenced to 20 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction on five counts of distributing, viewing or possessing sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony. Rutledge released the following statement:
“As Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer, I will not allow Arkansas’s children to be preyed upon by online predators. I appreciate the hard work of the Cyber Crimes Unit in my office and the Jacksonville Police Department for conducting a thorough investigation to make sure this individual does not continue to exploit children.”
David Raymond West, 70, of Jacksonville pleaded guilty and was sentenced today by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson. West will be required to register as a sex offender.
Agents with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit arrested West in Nov. 2013 after executing a search warrant at West’s residence. Agents conducted a forensic exam on West’s computer and found evidence that he downloaded and viewed child pornography.
The Jacksonville Police Department assisted in the arrest and investigation.
Rutledge: EPA’s Proposed Ozone Rule is Harmful to the State of ArkansasWed, Mar 18, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today she has submitted comments in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning its proposed revision of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone. The EPA’s proposed rule states that the agency is considering a standard somewhere between 65 and 70 parts per billion, but that it is also seeking comments regarding a standard as low as 60 parts per billion. Rutledge released the following statement:
“I am very concerned that the proposed levels are unnecessary and unachievable, and would bring great harm to Arkansas through significant job losses and a lack of economic development opportunities. At the current standard of 75 parts per billion, only a small part of the state is not likely to meet the standard, but at the proposed 60 parts per billion, the entirety of the state would likely have trouble attaining such a standard.”
Rutledge points out in the letter that the Clean Air Act does not require the standard be lowered every time it is reviewed but does require the EPA to review air quality standards every five years. The current level of 75 parts per billion was set in 2008.
“So long as the standard is protective of human health and the environment, it can remain unchanged,” Attorney General Rutledge wrote.
In addition to these comments, Rutledge and 13 other state attorneys general have sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy further explaining the harmful, negative impact the rule would have on states across the country.
“The proposed rule will have a dramatic negative effect on the economic growth in the States, saddling increasingly heavy compliance costs on job creators – particularly in the manufacturing and industrial sectors,” the attorneys general wrote. “Thus, if promulgated, the proposed rule will hamper the creation and preservation of good-paying jobs in the States and quicken the movement of such jobs overseas.”
The letter was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
On Feb. 26, Rutledge appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior to offer testimony on the impact of this proposed rule, and several others, from the EPA. Click here for a copy of Rutledge’s opening statement or a video can be found here.
A copy of the comments submitted to the EPA from the State of Arkansas can be found here.
A copy of the letter sent by Rutledge and 13 other state attorneys general can be found here.
Rutledge Urges ATF to Discard Controversial Ammo ProposalTue, Mar 17, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and 22 other state attorneys general have sent a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) urging the agency to permanently discard a proposed ban on M855 5.56 x 45mm ammunition. On March 10, ATF shelved the proposal after an outpouring of opposition, including from the law enforcement community, but the agency plans to continue to accept public comments on the proposal. Rutledge released the following statement:
“I am proud to join 22 of my colleagues from across the country to urge the ATF to drop any further consideration of this proposed ban on ammunition that only serves to target the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 semi-automatic. Many Arkansas sportsmen and target shooters use this type of bullet, and this is yet another attempt by the Obama Administration to do an end-run around Arkansas’s elected representatives in Congress.”
Following its latest decision to shelf the proposal, the ATF indicated it would continue to take public comment until the close of business on March 16. In the letter submitted to the ATF yesterday, Rutledge and the other attorneys general contend that the proposed ban is arbitrary, unnecessary and could easily lead to bans on a wide range of rifle ammunition.
“We applaud your recent decision not to issue a final framework on this proposal, at least for now, and we strongly encourage you not to revive it,” the attorneys general wrote. “We represent our respective states as each state’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, and in that role we directly oversee or work directly with numerous federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies. We, as much as anyone, want to do the utmost to ensure that our brave men and women that serve in law enforcement are safe. The proposed ATF ban on M855 5.56 ammunition, however, does not advance that goal. Instead, it threatens Second Amendment freedoms and deprives shooting sports enthusiasts of a popular cartridge for a popular rifle.”
The attorneys general highlighted the opposition to the ban voiced by law enforcement organizations.
“As law enforcement organizations, such as the Fraternal Order of Police, have recently described, the 5.56 M855 cartridge does not pose a particular threat to law enforcement. Indeed, we are aware of no examples in our states in which this round has been used against law enforcement in a concealed weapon.”
In closing, the 23 attorneys general urged ATF “to reject this ill-advised proposal and uphold the Second Amendment rights of our citizens.”
The letter was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
A copy of the letter can be found here.
Rutledge Statement on Milligan InvestigationFri, Mar 13, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she concluded her investigation of Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan and his hiring of a relative to his administration, a violation of Arkansas law. Rutledge released the following statement:
“I have concluded my investigation of Treasurer of State Milligan. As a result of my findings, Treasurer Milligan has agreed to a settlement agreement. He has signed the agreement with my office and will pay the maximum civil penalty of $1,000. Although the agreement gives Treasurer Milligan until April 6, 2015 to pay the penalty, he elected to pay the fine upon signing the settlement. This payment will be deposited to the General Revenue Fund Account of the State Apportionment Fund. Treasurer Milligan has met the requirements set forth in the settlement, and I now consider this matter resolved.”
Rutledge: Solicitor General Would Benefit ArkansasTue, Mar 10, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today testified before the General Assembly Joint Budget Subcommittee on Personnel to discuss the Attorney General’s Office budget and to request approval for the reclassification of a current position to Solicitor General. Rutledge released the following statement:
“Today, I requested approval for a Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Office. In recent years, most of the attorneys general from across the country have added a Solicitor General to their office to assist with the increasing workload, specifically the growing number of large multi-state consumer protection cases and the increasingly complex appellate matters at the state and national levels. I have spoken with many of my colleagues about a Solicitor General, and I believe the position would benefit the State of Arkansas greatly.”
The subcommittee unanimously passed the reclassification.
The position will not increase the number of authorized employees at the Attorney General’s Office and will not increase the requested appropriation.