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Passing of McCrory Police Officer Robert Barker

Rutledge Statement on the Passing of McCrory Police Officer Robert Barker

Thu, Sep 15, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued a statement in response to the death of McCrory Police Officer Robert Aaron Barker who was responding to a call and involved in a single-vehicle accident.

“Officer Barker was dedicated to serving Arkansans as a law enforcement officer, and he was taken from our State, his fellow officers and loved ones far too soon,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I extend my thoughts and prayers to Officer Barker’s family, friends and the entire McCrory community.”

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Walk Now for Autism Speaks Honorary Chair

Rutledge to Serve as Honorary Chair of 2016 Arkansas Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Thu, Sep 15, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Autism Speaks Arkansas today announced that Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will serve as the honorary chair of the 2016 Arkansas Walk Now for Autism Speaks, an inspirational and impactful opportunity to raise money and awareness to help change the future of all those touched by autism.

Rutledge’s nephew, Riley, was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old.

“My sweet nephew, Riley, has been an enormous inspiration to not only me but to so many he comes into contact with,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “His loving and sweet demeanor definitely brings a smile to my face. Like so many, my family celebrates Riley and the future he has. It is an honor to chair this event and play a small part in helping the Autism Speaks organization, which does such great work, advocating for those with autism and giving a voice to those who may not have one.”

"This is such a special day for our family and so many others," said Dawn Itzkowitz, Walk Leadership Chair. "It's a reminder to those touched by autism that they are not alone. We are honored to have Attorney General Leslie Rutledge serve as this year's honorary chair, and we appreciate her support of Autism Speaks and the autism community."

Now for Autism Speaks:

WHAT: 2016 Arkansas Walk Now for Autism Speaks

WHEN: Saturday, October 1, 2016 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

8:00 a.m. - 5K Race

8:00 a.m. - Walk Registration and Activities

9:15 a.m. - 5K Awards

10:30 a.m. - Walk Ceremonies and Walk

WHERE: Clinton Presidential Center

1200 President Clinton Ave.

Little Rock, AR 72201

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $525 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 60 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.

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Fall Law Clerks

Rutledge Welcomes Fall Law Clerks

Wed, Sep 14, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks for the fall 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 trial, client meetings and hearings.

“Law clerks are gaining valuable experience from some of Arkansas’s top attorneys this fall,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The law clerk program is a great service-learning opportunity exposing students to the public service sector. Law clerks are a valuable asset to the services provided at the Attorney General’s office.”

Caitlin Campbell, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She is also pursuing a Master of Public Service degree from the Clinton School of Public Service and graduated from Lyon College with a degree in political science in 2015. Campbell is from Batesville and graduated from Batesville High School in 2011.

Bianca Garcia, a second-year student at the UALR Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. She graduated from Arkansas State University in 2015 with a degree in history. Garcia is from Monette and graduated from Buffalo Island Central High School in 2011.

Kristina Hallock, a second-year student at the UALR Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2014 with a major in chemistry. Hallock is from Jacksonville and graduated from high school in 2011.

Ashley Louks, a 2016 graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking for the Solicitor General. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with degrees in history and political science in 2012. Louks is from Judsonia and graduated from Pangburn High School in 2008.

Zach Morton, a third-year student at the UALR Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2013 with a major in history. Morton is from Hot Springs and graduated from Lakeside High School in 2009.

Zachary Nicholson, a second-year student at the UALR Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2012 with a major in history. Nicholson is from Little Rock and graduated from Conway High School in 1997.

Reece Owens, a third-year student at the UALR Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2011 with a degree in economics. Owens is from Cabot and graduated from Cabot High School in 2006.

Stephanie Qandah, a second-year student at the UALR Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in business management in 2015. Qandah is from Benton and graduated from Benton High School in 2011.

Tasha Stricklin, a second-year student at the UALR Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with degrees in English and economics in 2013. Stricklin is from Hatfield and graduated from Mena High School in 2008.

Alexandra Waddell, a second-year student at the UALR Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. She graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2014 with a degree in supply chain management. Waddell is from Jonesboro and graduated from Jonesboro High School in 2009.

Shastady Williams, a third-year student at the UALR Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the State Agencies Department. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2014 with a degree in political science. Williams is from Austin and graduated from Cabot High School in 2010.

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Children of Veterans Foundation Settlement

Rutledge Reaches Settlement with Children of Veterans Foundation

Fri, Sep 9, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a settlement with the Children of Veterans Foundation, an Arizona-based organization that was accused of soliciting donations from Arkansans and claiming that those donations would be used to benefit the children of American veterans.

Under the terms of the settlement, the foundation and Give Back to Freedom LLC are prohibited from operating in Arkansas and soliciting contributions from Arkansans. The foundation must pay $5,000 to the State to cover the cost of the investigation and prosecution of this matter, and if any violation of the settlement occurs within five years, the foundation will be responsible for $50,000 plus an additional $100,000 in civil penalties.

“Arkansans want to help those in need, especially those who put their lives on the line to defend this country,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Unfortunately, there are bad actors like the Children of Veterans Foundation that will exploit Arkansans’ generosity for their own personal gain. As the State’s top attorney, I will not stand for this and will continue to hold these organizations accountable for their actions.”

In the lawsuit that was filed in December 2013, it was alleged that the Children of Veterans Foundation diverted clothing items donated by Arkansas consumers to a for-profit company operated by one of two directors of the nonprofit foundation. Though consumers were encouraged to donate used clothing items and shoes to “give back to those who protect our freedom,” the lawsuit stated that the donations were instead used solely for the personal benefit and financial gain of the defendants.

Defendants in the lawsuit are Donna Renfroe and Randy Taylor, both of Arizona, the Phoenix-based Children of Veterans Foundation and the for-profit Give Back to Freedom LLC. Renfroe and Taylor are the directors of the foundation. Taylor is the sole shareholder in Give Back to Freedom LLC.

The defendants solicited donations by placing at least 10 collection bins in parking lots in northwest Arkansas. Signage in large type on the bins encouraged consumers donate to “those who protect our freedom” and say “Proud to support: Children of Veterans 501(c)(3) foundation.” However, a disclaimer in smaller type on the box stated that the “collection site is owned by Give Back to Freedom, LLC, a for-profit company. Items received at the locations would be sold to Give Back to Freedom, LLC.”

The lawsuit stated that using the items to support a for-profit company is inconsistent with the intent of the donors and that the defendants were in violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

In addition, the defendants failed to register as charities or paid solicitors with the Attorney General’s office, as is required under State law.

The Arizona-based Children of Veterans organization is not related to or affiliated with the Arkansas corporation of the same name based in Magnolia.

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Law Enforcement Summit Keynote

Rutledge to Welcome San Bernardino’s Lt. Brad Toms as Law Enforcement Summit Keynote

Tue, Sep 6, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the slate of speakers for the 14th annual Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit, which will be Oct. 4 and 5. The event, to be held at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, is a free training and educational opportunity for Arkansas’s law enforcement community, including police, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel.

The keynote speaker will be Lt. Brad Toms of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who has been one of the central decision makers at the center of two major incidents that captured the world’s attention. Toms will discuss lessons learned from the 2013 spate of violence against the California law enforcement community perpetrated by disgruntled former Los Angeles Police Officer Christopher Dorner and the subsequent manhunt. He will also discuss how those lessons were applied in 2015 when responding to a mass shooting terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino, where 14 people were killed and 22 seriously injured.

Toms began his career as a deputy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in 1989 and has worked corrections, patrol, detective bureau, homicide, narcotics and SWAT. As lieutenant, he is second in command at Big Bear Station and most recently served as the lieutenant/commander of the Public Affairs Division. As commander, Toms was responsible for the management of all aspects of the division including media relations, community liaison, labor/industrial relations, honor guard detail, operation clean SWEEP, crime-free multi-housing, juvenile intervention program and special projects for the Office of the Sheriff. Toms’ address will occur at 8 a.m. on Oct. 5.

“This year’s Law Enforcement Summit will feature fantastic instructional and networking opportunities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am especially excited to welcome Lt. Toms to Arkansas to share his experience from last year’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino, as well as the numerous other speakers who will help our officers. This is an important event, and I encourage all members of law enforcement to register.”

Oct. 4 will include breakout sessions on metal theft and cyber crime investigations taught by agents with the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Division. Day one will also offer sessions on the Arkansas Naloxone Access Act of 2015, investigating domestic violence cases and an autism safety and awareness training.

In addition to the keynote address, the second day will feature instruction from other nationally renowned presenters and include a panel discussion on the challenges facing those in leadership positions within the law enforcement community.

Following Toms’ remarks, attendees will hear from Cpl. Chris Heid and Patrick Winn about human trafficking investigations. Heid is with the Maryland State Police and assigned to the Child Recovery Unit, which investigates missing children and human trafficking, primarily as it relates to juveniles.

Winn is a special agent assigned to the FBI’s Baltimore, Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force, which investigates missing children, child pornography and human trafficking. He investigates cases involving juveniles forced into prostitution and works closely with task force officers around the state to pursue state and federal charges of those responsible for trafficking.

After the luncheon, Lt. James Henning of the Denver Police Department will speak about the challenges his department and the State of Colorado faced with the legalization of recreational cannabis.

For the first time, Rutledge will moderate a law enforcement leadership panel, which will conclude the summit. Panelists include Matthew Barden, Drug Enforcement Administration assistant special agent in charge, Little Rock District Office; Col. Bill Bryant, Arkansas State Police director; Jeff Crow, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission director; and Diane Upchurch, FBI special agent in charge, Little Rock Division.

In July, Rutledge announced an expansion of the awards portion of the summit to include recognizing one law enforcement officer from each county as an Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer in addition to the statewide and regional awards. Winners will be announced at the luncheon on Oct. 5.

Last year, Rutledge expanded the summit for the first time in the event’s history to two days.

Registration for the Law Enforcement Summit is open and can be accessed at ArkansasAG.gov.

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Little Rock Man Sentenced

Rutledge Announces Little Rock Man Sentenced for Crimes Involving Children

Fri, Sep 2, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that a Pulaski County man has been sentenced to 12 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction on child exploitation charges.

Michael Don Cox, 34, of Little Rock, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving children. In addition to his prison sentence, Cox must pay an $8,000 fine and register as a sex offender.

“The Cyber Crimes Unit at the Attorney General’s office and local prosecutors work diligently to protect Arkansas children and families,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I appreciate my office’s partnership with local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies across the state to protect our children and ensure these dangerous predators are brought to justice. I am committed to getting these criminals out of our neighborhoods and off the internet.”

Cox was arrested in 2014 on a search warrant executed by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit. An attorney from the Attorney General’s office tried the case with Ashley Bowen from Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley’s office. Judge Leon Johnson sentenced Cox in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

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