Rutledge Leads Additional Multistate Brief in Nebraska Execution Drug CaseFri, Aug 10, 2018
Says, ‘I will continue to fight for justice and support my colleagues against these meritless arguments’
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge led an additional coalition of fourteen states in filing an amicus brief in support of the State of Nebraska, arguing the courts should put an end to the recent phenomenon of pharmaceutical companies bringing meritless lawsuits designed to prevent states from carrying out lawful executions. This is the second multistate brief Rutledge has led in the past week arguing against such meritless lawsuits.
“Pharmaceutical companies are trying to circumvent the rule of law by using eleventh-hour litigation tactics to stall these lawful executions,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer it is my duty to ensure the families of victims have justice. The Arkansas Supreme Court did not cave to the pressure from anti-death-penalty advocates. I will continue to fight for justice and support my colleagues against these meritless arguments in states like Nevada and Nebraska, where drug companies have asked courts to halt lawful executions.”
Arkansas is joined in the amicus brief by Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Farmington Woman for Stealing OpioidsFri, Aug 10, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Washington County woman.
Ashley Renee Beeks, 26, of Farmington, is accused of stealing oxycodone pills while working at a Fayetteville nursing and rehabilitation facility in December 2017. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Beeks turned herself in to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. She is charged with one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, a Class D felony.
“Arkansas has been devastated by the opioid epidemic,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will prosecute people such as Beeks who steal patients’ medications and abuse the system.”
Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or email@example.com.
Rutledge Welcomes Summer Session II Law ClerksWed, Aug 8, 2018
Says ‘The law clerk program connects students with some of Arkansas’s best attorneys’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks for the second summer session to the Attorney General’s Office. These law students work in various departments assisting with legal research, drafting memos and legal documents and accompanying lawyers at trials, client meetings and hearings.
“Law clerks are a valuable asset to the State and the Attorney General’s Office,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The law clerk program connects students with some of Arkansas’s best attorneys to provide an opportunity for students to thrive in an educational environment and foster mentorships while being exposed to the fulfilling experience of public service.”
Evangeline Bacon, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. She received a Bachelor’s degree in history and music from the University of Arkansas in 2017. Bacon is from Rogers and graduated from Life Way Christian School in 2013.
Eli Bauer, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. He received a Bachelor’s degree in biology and political science from Arkansas State University in 2017. Bauer is from Jonesboro and graduated from Nettleton High School in 2013.
Reese Dollins, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. He received a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Arkansas in 2017. Dollins is from Bentonville and graduated from Bentonville High School in 2013.
Katie Hicks, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Arkansas in 2017. Hicks is from Conway and graduated from Conway High School in 2013.
William Kellstrom, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the State Agencies Department. He received a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and philosophy from the University of Arkansas in 2016. Kellstrom is from Hot Springs and graduated from Lake Hamilton High School in 2012.
Asher Steinberg, a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, is clerking for the Solicitor General. He received a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Duke University in 2009. Steinberg is from Maple Glen, Pennsylvania and graduated from Abington Friends School in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.
Family Credits “Never Forgotten” Event With Giving Them PeaceTue, Aug 7, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge praised the law enforcement agencies who worked closely with the family of Suzen Cooper to locate and identify her remains over the weekend. Hot Spring County Sheriff Mike Cash announced Monday that remains found Friday in Hot Spring County were identified as belonging to Suzen Cooper. Leaders of the Arkansas State Crime Lab, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Attorney General’s Office met with Suzen’s sisters on July 17 at the annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event.
“I am happy that Suzen’s family now has some answers and can put her to rest,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Yesterday’s announcement shows the importance of the Never Forgotten event and how building relationships between the public and law enforcement can bring hope and long-sought answers to the loved ones of the missing.”
“That event (Never Forgotten) helped. Being around all those people gave me peace,” said Suzen’s sister, Misty King.
“Keeping good rapport with law enforcement is key,” said Suzen’s sister, Teena Latture. “We just wanted her found.”
“This event that’s hosted every year by the Attorney General is critical to families to let them know that we will never forget them and we will always be there to listen, give advice and hopefully help to bring their loved ones home,” said Arkansas Crime Lab Director Kermit Channell.
Suzen Cooper, 45, was last seen in Malvern in September 2016. Her family has worked tirelessly to find justice for Suzen.
Donald Smith was arrested and charged with capital murder in Suzen’s death on July 27. Her remains were found August 3 in Hot Spring County and sent to the state medical examiner’s office to identify the remains.
Rutledge Leads States in Amicus Brief in Execution Drug CaseTue, Aug 7, 2018
Says, ‘The families of these victims deserve justice’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge led a coalition of fifteen states in filing an amicus brief in support of the State of Nevada, arguing the lawsuits continuing to be brought by pharmaceutical companies in order to prevent their drugs from being used to carry out the lawful sentences of execution are meritless.
“The families of these victims deserve justice,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The pharmaceutical companies, such as McKesson and Alvogen, are being pressured by anti-death-penalty advocates to stop supplying the drug to carry out lawful executions. Just as the Arkansas Supreme Court did not rule in favor of these pressure tactics, neither should the Nevada Supreme Court.”
“Lawsuits like McKesson’s or Alvogen’s do not even need to succeed on the merits in order to achieve the desired outcome and prevent an execution. Instead, they merely have to obtain an injunction preventing a state from carrying out an execution on the scheduled date. And that alone might delay an execution long enough that a state’s drugs could expire,” said the states in the brief.
Arkansas is joined in the amicus brief by Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
Rutledge Asks FDA to Prohibit the Sale of Unwashed Poppy SeedsMon, Aug 6, 2018
Says, ‘It is time for the federal government to step in to ensure that poppy seeds are appropriately labeled and that the sale of unwashed poppy seeds containing controlled substances are banned’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced she has sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting washed and unwashed poppy seeds be clearly labeled to increase transparency and protect consumers from accidental overdose.
In July, at the urging of Attorney General Rutledge, Bonanza, eBay and Etsy removed labeled unwashed poppy seeds from their online catalogs. Walmart had previously removed their supply. Today’s letter to the FDA focuses on the misleading labels of poppy seed packaging, which could simply say “raw” or “organic” instead of unwashed. Without an “unwashed” label or the disclosure that contents are potentially lethal, retailers are unable to fully remove such items from their sales offerings. The comments and product feedback sections on online sales catalogs are often the guiding source for consumers to determine how to make “tea” with the unwashed seeds to settle their nerves or misuse as a sedative.
“It is my hope that this letter will have the same impact on the federal government as it did with the private sector, bringing broader awareness about the hazards of unwashed poppy seeds,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans Steve and Betty Hacala have made great strides in sharing their tragic story to save other families from the pain they have experienced. It is time for the federal government to step in to ensure that all potential users are aware of the lethality of unwashed poppy seeds and to ban the sale of poppy seeds that contain controlled substances.”
In early July, Rutledge sent a letter to a number of online retailers requesting the removal of unwashed poppy seeds from online products. Earlier this year, Attorney General Rutledge released an Attorney General Alert warning consumers of the dangers of unwashed poppy seeds after meeting with the Hacalas to hear the tragic story of their son, Stephen, who died from morphine intoxication after consuming so-called poppy seed tea made from unwashed poppy seeds.
Dr. Stephen Erickson, a Forensic Pathologist at the Arkansas State Crime Lab, partnered with forensic toxicologist Dr. Madeline Swartwood, to conduct a study that found that one particular bag of unwashed poppy seeds contained enough morphine to nearly fill a bottle of 100, 30-milligram morphine pills – an amount comparable to what is prescribed to a palliative bone cancer patient.