Rutledge Leads National Effort to Expose Illegal RobocallersThu, Jun 4, 2020
Says, ‘critical to identifying, investigating and stopping illegal robocallers’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed comments regarding proposed rules under consideration by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would facilitate continued collaboration among state attorneys general and telecom companies in tracing back illegal robocalls to their source. Rutledge, along with the North Carolina Attorney General, is leading the State Attorneys General Robocall Technologies Working Group to submit these comments to the FCC.
“I urge the FCC to swiftly enact these proposed rules which are critical to identifying, investigating and stopping illegal robocallers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Through the trace back process, illegal robocallers and the telecoms that facilitate these illegal calls will finally be exposed and held accountable for the harm they cause Arkansans.”
For the last few years, the State Attorneys General Robocall Technologies Working Group has encouraged the telecom industry to increase the number and speed of trace back investigations. Many telecom companies have joined this effort and are working hard to stop illegal robocallers. Recently, trace back investigations have become more urgent than ever because of coronavirus-related robocall scams, including scams related to coronavirus relief checks, pitches for coronavirus test kits, health plans offering coronavirus testing, work-from-home offers preying on job-seekers, and scams offering relief on utility bills, student loans, taxes, or other debt.
In May, Rutledge also submitted comments to the FCC on proposed rules regarding the implementation of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act). Rutledge’s comments urged the FCC to impose the mandate to implement the caller ID authentication technology, STIR/SHAKEN, on all types and sizes of telecommunication providers, to establish robust standards for any exceptions to this obligation, and that the costs to implement this technology should not be passed on to the consumer.
Rutledge has actively called for telephone carriers to aggressively block illegal robocalls before they reach consumers through ongoing collaborations with the FCC, telecom industry representatives and a coalition of state attorneys general. Rutledge was also instrumental in developing the Anti-Robocall Principles for telecoms to reduce the number of unwanted and illegal robocalls reaching the American people, which was adopted by 51 attorneys general and 12 major telecom providers in August 2019.
In Arkansas, Rutledge continues to lead the fight against robocalls by working with stakeholder to implement Acts 677 and 1074 of 2019 that requires telecommunication providers to submit annual reports to the Arkansas Public Service Commission to certify that all available and applicable technology is being employed to identify and block illegal robocalls and spoofing.
Arkansas is joined in submitting today’s comments by the attorneys general of all 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Rutledge Appoints Little Rock Attorney to Ethics CommissionWed, Jun 3, 2020
Says, ‘Denese will provide competent, fair and unbiased judgment’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is proud to appoint Denese Fletcher of Little Rock to the Ethics Commission. The purpose of the Ethics Commission is to serve as the compliance and enforcement agency regarding Arkansas’s standard of conduct, as well as disclosure laws concerning candidates for public office, state and local public officials, lobbyist and committees, and individuals involved with initiatives.
“I am honored to appoint Denese to this Commission,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “She is a legal expert with an exceptional career and I believe Denese will provide competent, fair and unbiased judgment when considering matters brought before her as an Ethics Commissioner.”
“I appreciate this opportunity to serve on the Ethics Commission given to me by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge,” said Denese Fletcher. “I am honored to serve the citizens of Arkansas in this capacity.”
Since 1997, Fletcher has practiced law as a civil and criminal trial attorney with expertise in criminal defense in juvenile, district, circuit and federal courts. She served as an Arkansas Deputy Public Defender from 2001 to 2009 and she served as a defense attorney for the U.S. Criminal Justice Act Panel from 1997 to 2014. Fletcher also worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Pulaski County in the early 90’s.
Fletcher received her juris doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law and her bachelor of arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She currently serves as President of the W. Harold Flowers Law Society and has been a girl scout leader at the St. Mark Baptist Church for over 10 years. Fletcher is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. where she currently chairs the HBCU For Life Committee which promotes HBCUs throughout the state of Arkansas.
Rutledge’s Statement on Federal Court’s Decision Upholding Arkansas’s Lethal Injection ProtocolMon, Jun 1, 2020
Says, ‘Today’s final judgment reaffirms the constitutionality of Arkansas’s execution protocol’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement following the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas’s decision upholding the constitutionality of Arkansas’s three-drug lethal injection. That protocol uses midazolam, vercuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. For years, convicted murderers and death-penalty opponents have waged a legal battle against Arkansas’s lethal injection protocol to prevent just and lawful sentences from being carried out. The decision follows Rutledge’s previous successful defense of that protocol on appeal in April 2017.
“As the Attorney General, I enforce the laws in the State and bring justice for families who have long been devastated at the hands of these murderers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s final judgment reaffirms the constitutionality of Arkansas’s execution protocol.”
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Saline County Resident on Child Pornography ChargesMon, Jun 1, 2020
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of David Jefferson Brown of Benton on 20 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a class C felony. Rutledge’s Office has seen a drastic uptick in activity from cyber predators targeting children online during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Attorney General’s cyber crimes agents have been aggressively investigating each lead they receive.
Brown, 44, turned himself in to the Saline County Jail after agents from the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit discovered sexually explicit files shared by him through a peer to peer network. The full affidavit can be viewed here.
Agents seized a computer hard drive, flash drive and a cell phone from the residence. The casefile will be turned in to Saline County Prosecutor Chris Walton once it is completed.
Rutledge Issues Statement on Little Rock ProtestsSat, May 30, 2020
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge tonight issued a statement following the protests in Little Rock related to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
“Every American deserves justice, and I will always defend and protect our right to protest peacefully; however, we cannot tolerate violence and destruction. Arkansans, now is the time for civil discourse and not civil unrest,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Rutledge Sues Unlicensed Northwest Construction Business for Failing to Complete WorkThu, May 28, 2020
Says, ‘When businesses take consumers’ money and agree to do a job, they have to follow through’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today she is filing a lawsuit against Alma resident, Laura Anne Jones and her business Purple Hat Construction, LLC for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA). The lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court alleges that in several instances between April 2019 and January 2020, Jones offered residential contractor services to consumers, obtained money before performing those services, and failed to complete those services. Jones has never been licensed by the Arkansas Contractors Board as a residential contractor.
“When businesses take consumers’ money and agree to do a job, they have to follow through,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will not tolerate businesses taking advantage of Arkansans or accepting money from deceptive practices, nor will I tolerate businesses who try to skirt the law by not registering with licensing boards.”
Jones, doing business at Purple Hat Construction, contracted with customers in northwest Arkansas for home repair projects, requiring a large deposit upfront to reserve the date for work to be done. Upon the scheduled date to begin the project or shortly after the work began, Jones would contact the homeowner with excuses making her unavailable to complete the work and unable to provide a refund. Violations of the ADTPA can be assessed up to $10,000 per violation.
Rutledge is now seeking restitution for harmed consumers, civil penalties, an injunction and other costs and fees incurred by the State of Arkansas in resolving this issue for consumers.
If you are a consumer who has been impacted by similar actions or any other contractor, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit www.ArkansasAG.gov.