Rutledge Recognizes Crime Victims’ Rights WeekTue, Apr 9, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – April 7-13 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to raise awareness for victims and the effect that the victimization has on victims. Victims of crime may receive financial assistance to cover the medical and funeral expenses incurred by the victim or the victim’s family. Communities across the country, including here in Arkansas, are hosting events this week to honor crime victims and recognize those who advocate on their behalf. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has also declared this week as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Arkansas.
“As a former prosecutor, I have worked with victims of violence,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “And as Attorney General it is important for me to promote safer communities and honor the advocates who empower victims and survivors of violence. I offer my sincere prayers for protection and healing. I will continue to support and thank the countless members of law enforcement and victim advocates in communities across Arkansas.”
This year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.”
The Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program, administered by the Office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on behalf of the Crime Victims Reparations Board, provides financial compensation to victims and family members who have suffered personal injury or death as the result of violent crime.
Additionally, the Sexual Assault Reimbursement Program allows evidence to be collected after a sexual assault has been committed without the victim bearing the burden of the expense, and it pays for ambulance services and medical or legal examinations.
Victims may apply for compensation by submitting an application to the Attorney General’s office. Applications are available at ArkansasAG.gov or from Arkansas’s 28 elected prosecuting attorneys.
In 2016, Rutledge unveiled Laura’s Card and has since distributed over 75,000 cards across Arkansas. Laura’s Card is a resource to assist and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to provide resources to people in abusive situations. The card can also be downloaded in English and Spanish at LaurasCard.ar.gov.
Rutledge and Cotton Hold Roundtable to Tackle Criminal Justice IssuesFri, Apr 5, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton held a roundtable discussion today with state law enforcement and criminal justice leaders, followed by a question and answer session with the media, to address issues at the state and federal level. Topics included the continued effort to combat the opioid epidemic and stopping the sale of lethal unwashed poppy seeds. Also discussed were Senator Cotton’s legislation to allow cell phone jamming in prisons and Attorney General Rutledge’s efforts to curb illegal robocalls and spoofing, which was signed into law Wednesday.
“It is always a pleasure to join my friend Senator Cotton, and work with him on issues that require leadership at both the state and federal level,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s discussion gave us the opportunity to hear from state leaders on ideas to protect and serve all Arkansans. I look forward to continuing the partnership between our offices to make Arkansas a safer and better place to live.”
“There’s important work being done at the state and federal levels to curb serious problems like the opioid epidemic and prison contraband,” said Senator Cotton. “Arkansas is blessed to have dedicated law enforcement officials and public servants working hard to fix these problems and keep us safe.”
Today’s roundtable was attended by Arkansas Crime Lab Director Kermit Channell, Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute Director Dr. Cheryl May, Arkansas Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelley, Arkansas Department of Health Director Dr. Nate Smith, Arkansas Prosecutor Coordinator Bob McMahan, Arkansas State Police Col. Bill Bryant, Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Bryan Rorex, FBI Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch, Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham, Perry County Sheriff Scott Montgomery, Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Shue, and State Drug Director Kirk Lane.
Rutledge Hosts South Arkansas Law Enforcement TrainingFri, Apr 5, 2019
MONTICELLO – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted, for the first time in the history of the office, a law enforcement training event in south Arkansas. The free training and educational opportunity for the law enforcement community, including police, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel, was attended by about 70 officers and held in Monticello.
“Our men and women in blue put their lives on the line to protect Arkansans every day,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s event is an important experience for the law enforcement community in south Arkansas to help them tackle some of the issues they face. I look forward to continuing to offer these trainings across Arkansas.”
Today’s participants heard from State Drug Director Kirk Lane and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Dak Kees. And from the Attorney General’s office, participants heard Investigator Shamikah Johnson, Assistant Attorneys General Jill Irwin and Marianne Satterfield, Special Agent Michael Thatch and Nurse Investigator Vicki Jones.
In 2017, Rutledge announced a new initiative to offer training outside of central Arkansas to build off of the overwhelming success of the annual Law Enforcement Summit. Trainings have previously been held in northwest and northeast Arkansas, allowing officers to have easier access to the training.
This training provided participants with 5 hours of Continuing Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST) credit and 4.6 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit.
Rutledge Asks APSC to Review Liberty UtilitiesThu, Apr 4, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced she is asking the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) to review the actions of Liberty Utilities and the water and wastewater utility systems it operates in Jefferson County. Liberty Utilities has been operating as an unregulated water and wastewater utility service in White Hall without the oversight of the APSC.
“All Arkansas public utility rates are subject to review by the Public Service Commission to ensure customers are not being unduly burdened,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Liberty Utilities must be subjected to appropriate oversight of the Public Service Commission which plays an important role in protecting customers from unjust utility rates. I am asking the APSC to act swiftly to safeguard the citizens of White Hall and all Liberty Utilities customers in Arkansas.”
Liberty Utilities has been operating in Pine Bluff as a water utility service provider under the oversight of the APSC, but operating in neighboring White Hall as an unregulated water and wastewater provider.
Shortly after the filing was made, the Commission issued a summons to Liberty Utilities requiring a response within 20 days.
Rutledge Joins Hutchinson in Bill Signing Ceremony for Laws on Robocalls and Farm EquipmentWed, Apr 3, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson for his bill-signing ceremony for two important pieces of legislation. The robocall legislation creates a process for state oversight of telecommunication providers and increases the penalty for robocallers and spoofing. Meanwhile, the Farm Machinery Quality Assurance Act, a bill which Rutledge helped to guide and support, establishes a “lemon law” type protection for consumers purchasing new self-propelled farm machinery and equipment.
“Arkansans are eager to stop the incessant robocalls and scams,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The unopposed, bi-partisan support of this new law creates a path for enforcement to hold the bad actors accountable.
“The new legislation protecting farmers is important to ensure they are no longer vulnerable to potentially devastating financial losses due to faulty equipment. Arkansas’s economy relies heavily on our farmers and this bill will help them grow and expand their livelihood.”
Both pieces of legislation were passed by the General Assembly last week.
Rutledge Sues Bourbon & BootsTue, Apr 2, 2019
Says, ‘consumers unwittingly wasted their hard-earned money on these products’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a consumer-protection lawsuit today against Little Rock-based Bourbon & Boots Acquisition Company LLC, and its owner, Rodney Ford, for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“Bourbon & Boots advertised itself as a southern lifestyle brand which offered artisan inspired and quality craftsmanship,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Instead, consumers unwittingly wasted their hard-earned money on these products, only to never receive them or receive the wrong item. I will not tolerate deceptive business practices and will do everything in my power to ensure that the company and its owner are held responsible for their damaging actions.”
To date, 55 complaints have been identified where Bourbon & Boots failed to deliver items ordered by consumers, failed to fulfill orders of advertised products and failed to refund monies for unfulfilled orders or substandard products. The Attorney General’s office has reviewed an additional 293 complaints made to the Better Business Bureau.
Rutledge is asking the Pulaski County Circuit Court to impose civil penalties, restitution for affected consumers totaling $19,991.03, attorneys’ fees, costs and other relief against Bourbon & Boots.
If you are a consumer who has been impacted by the actions of Bourbon & Boots, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.