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Grant County Men Arrested

Rutledge Announces Arrest of Grant County Men for Crimes Involving Children

Fri, Oct 14, 2016

SHERIDAN – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrests of John Allen and his son David Allen, both of Redfield, on 30 counts each of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony.

John Allen, 57, and David Allen, 29, were both arrested by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit, which was assisted by the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. Both are being held in the Sheridan Detention Center on $75,000 bond.

Special agents in the Attorney General’s office began investigating David Allen after agents determined that someone using a computer at the Allen address downloaded sexually explicit material involving children. John Allen was also arrested at the scene.

Faulkner County Woman Arrested
Little Rock’s Bakr Officer of the Year

Rutledge Names Little Rock’s Shawn Bakr Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

Wed, Oct 5, 2016

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted the annual awards and recognition luncheon at the 2016 Law Enforcement Summit at Camp Robinson where she announced Little Rock Police Officer Shawn Bakr is the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Nearly 600 officers from across the State attended the summit, which is in its 14th year.

Bakr was also recognized as the Central Region Outstanding Officer for his response while working off-duty at Red Lobster in January when three individuals, two of them armed, came into the restaurant and threatened employees. Bakr was shot in the shoulder and returned fire before two of the suspects fled. Bakr followed them in pursuit. He then returned to the restaurant to make sure there were no other suspects and to tend to anyone injured.

“Officer Bakr is an outstanding example of the bravery, courage and selflessness that makes the men and women in blue such remarkable public servants,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “His quick action helped resolve a threatening situation and likely saved countless lives. I am honored to recognize Officer Bakr for his heroic actions, as well as all of our regional winners and each outstanding officer in Arkansas’s 75 counties. Their commitment to protect their communities and neighbors should make us all proud and thankful.”

The other Regional Officers of the Year included: Deputy Shawn Stephens, Independence County Sheriff’s Office, and Sgt. Terry Treadway, Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office, Northeast Region; Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck, Northwest Region; Trooper Dallas Taylor, Arkansas State Police, Southeast Region; and Officer Brent Scrimshire, Hot Springs Police Department, Southwest Region.

A list of the outstanding officer winners from each county can be found at the conclusion of this release.

Rutledge also presented VALOR tributes to those in the law enforcement community who tragically lost their lives while in the line of duty this past year. These tributes were presented to the spouses of Officer Robert Aaron Barker, McCrory Police Department, and Cpl. Bill Cooper, Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office.

Rutledge gave special recognition to those in law enforcement leadership who have passed away this year, including Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Ronnie Baldwin, Drew County Chief Deputy Robin Hood, Berryville Police Chief David Muniz and founder of the University of Arkansas Police Department, Larry Slamons.

Before today’s luncheon, the summit’s keynote address was offered by 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 discussed 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 also discussed how those lessons were applied in 2015 when responding to a mass shooting terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino.

The two-day summit included breakout sessions on metal theft and cyber crime investigations taught by agents with the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Division and offered sessions on the Arkansas Naloxone Access Act of 2015, investigating domestic violence cases and autism safety and awareness training.

Attendees also learned more about human trafficking investigations from the Maryland State Police and FBI and the challenges the State of Colorado faced with the legalization of recreational cannabis from the Denver Police Department.

Rutledge concluded the summit by moderating a law enforcement leadership panel. Panelists included 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; Scott Montgomery, Perry County sheriff; Diane Upchurch, FBI special agent in charge, Little Rock Division; and Chief J.R. Wilson, Hope Police Department.

County Officers of the Year

Central Region

Faulkner County

Officer Johnny Sowell

20th Judicial District Task Force

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Grant County

Deputy Tim Preator

Grant County Sheriff’s Office

Jefferson County

Special Agent Oscar Bullard and Special Agent Huston Talley

Arkansas State Police

Lonoke County

Officer Joshua Chaplin

Austin Police Department

Perry County

Corporal Jeremy Bishop and Corporal Robert Stout

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Pulaski County

Officer Shawn Bakr

Little Rock Police Department

Saline County

Corporal Jeff Plouch

Arkansas State Police

Northeast Region

Baxter County

Corporal David Small

Arkansas State Police

Clay County

Sheriff Terry Miller

Clay County Sheriff’s Office

Cleburne County

Sergeant David Bryant

Greers Ferry Police Department

Craighead County

Special Agent Adam Cornwell

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Crittenden County

Detective Freddy Williams

Marion Police Department

Cross County

Captain Jeffrey Stewart

Wynne Police Department

Fulton County

Chief Shad Overman

Salem Police Department

Greene County

Deputy Ken Womack

Greene County Sheriff’s Office

Independence County

Deputy Shawn Stephens

Independence County Sheriff’s Office

Izard County

Deputy Matt Churchwell

Izard County Sheriff’s Office

Jackson County

Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford

Newport Police Department

Lawrence County

Deputy Justin Dixon

Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office

Mississippi County

Sergeant Terry Treadway

Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office

Poinsett County

Chief Tony Turner

Tyronza Police Department

Randolph County

Sergeant Brian Tilghman

Pocahontas Police Department

Sharp County

Special Agent Wendall Jines

Arkansas State Police

St. Francis County

Detective Preston Gracey

Forrest City Police Department

Stone County

Corporal Dennis Simons

Arkansas State Police

White County

Corporal Tony Bowman

Arkansas State Police

Woodruff County

Patrolman Jared Williamson

McCrory Police Department

Northwest Region

Benton County

Captain Tim Cook

Bella Vista Police Department

Boone County

Chief James “Jim” Thomas

Bergman Police Department

Carroll County

School Resource Officer Craig Hicks

Berryville Police Department

Conway County

School Resource Officer Phil Blaylock

Morrilton Police Department

Crawford County

Chief Russell White

Alma Police Department

Franklin County

School Resource Officer Tim Culver

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

Johnson County

Corporal Jacob Shook

Johnson County Sheriff’s Office

Logan County

Wildlife Officer Scott Basham

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Madison County

Captain Clay Rowland

Madison County Sheriff’s Office

Marion County

Assistant Chief Dusty Smith

Flippin Police Department

Newton County

Chief James “Buckie” Thomas

Jasper Police Department

Pope County

Detective Quinn Jones

Russellville Police Department

Searcy County

Chief Deputy Eric Owens

Searcy County Sheriff’s Office

Sebastian County

Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck

Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office

Van Buren County

Patrolman Donald Crispell

Fairfield Bay Police Department

Washington County

Sergeant Oscar Henson

Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Yell County

Deputy John Foster

Yell County Sheriff’s Office

Southeast Region

Arkansas County

Chief Ken Dempsey

Gillett Police Department

Ashley County

School Resource Officer Robert Black

Crossett Police Department

Bradley County

Deputy Kevin Black

Bradley County Sheriff’s Office

Calhoun County

School Resource Officer Terry Clark

Hampton Police Department

Chicot County

Corporal Keith Cardin

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Cleveland County

Chief Josh Bolland

Rison Police Department

Desha County

Patrolman Darren McAdoo

McGehee Police Department

Drew County

Trooper Caleb Pevehouse

Arkansas State Police

Lee County

Lieutenant Ocie Banks

Lee County Sheriff’s Office

Lincoln County

Deputy James Virden

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office

Monroe County

Trooper Rodney Davenport

Arkansas State Police

Phillips County

Chief Vincent Bell

Marvell Police Department

Prairie County

Trooper Dallas Taylor

Arkansas State Police

Union County

Lieutenant Steven Jerry

Union County Sheriff’s Office

Southwest Region

Clark County

Marshal Don Childres

Gurdon City Marshal’s Office

Columbia County

Deputy Brian Williams

Columbia County Sheriff’s Office

Dallas County

Sheriff Stan McGahee

Dallas County Sheriff’s Office

Garland County

Officer Brent Scrimshire

Hot Springs Police Department

Hempstead County

(nominated together)

Deputy Jerry Crider

Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office

Officer Jennifer Ghormley

Hope Police Department

Officer Dennis Hovarter

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Hot Spring County

Corporal Christopher Savage and K9 Luky

Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office

Howard County

Deputy Todd Tallant

Howard County Sheriff’s Office

Lafayette County

Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office

Little River County

Corporal Blake Broomfield

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Miller County

Corporal Kristi Bennett

Texarkana Police Department

Montgomery County

Investigator Elena Cannon

Office of Prosecuting Attorney, 18th West Judicial District

Nevada County

Sheriff Danny Martin

Nevada County Sheriff’s Office

Ouachita County

Instructor Erin Smelser

Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy

Pike County

Chief Deputy David Shelby

Pike County Sheriff’s Office

Polk County

Officer Will Strain

Arkansas State Parks

Scott County

Wildlife Officer Mac Davis

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Sevier County

Wildlife Officer Bernie Soliz

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

SCOTUS to Hear Case Against Delaware

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Arkansas’s Case Against Delaware

Tue, Oct 4, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today was informed that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an original action case against the State of Delaware that she and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed in June.

The bipartisan coalition is seeking to reclaim approximately $200 million that rightfully belongs to the sister states of Delaware under the federal Disposition of Abandoned Money Orders and Traveler’s Checks Act. The ultimate dollar figure that Delaware owes other states may be much higher.

“Delaware is unlawfully holding monies that belong to other states and taxpayers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s news that the nation’s highest court will hear this case brings us one step closer to properly reclaiming this money.”

The dispute between the plaintiff states and Delaware is about which state is entitled to abandoned and unclaimed “official checks” sold by MoneyGram, a money transfer services company that operates in all 50 states and internationally. The coalition is asking the Supreme Court to declare that the plaintiff states, and not Delaware, are entitled to the hundreds of millions of dollars improperly turned over to Delaware and to all future similar abandoned and unclaimed property. The coalition is also asking the Court to order the appropriate repayment to plaintiff states by Delaware.

On Feb. 10, 2015, an independent auditor completed an examination of abandoned “official checks” from MoneyGram in a select group of states and concluded that nearly $200 million was owed to those states. The State of Arkansas is owed over $850,000 in unclaimed “official checks.”

Led by Arkansas and Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia joined the original filing in June. Last month, the states of California, Iowa, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia and Washington joined the filing.

Relief for Victimized Military and Veterans

Rutledge Obtains over $650,000 in Relief for Victimized Military Members and Veterans

Fri, Sep 30, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a settlement with retailer USA Discounters, also doing business as USA Living and Fletcher’s Jewelers, along with 49 other attorneys general to resolve claims of deceptive practices used by the company against consumers.

USA Discounters typically marketed to members of the military and veterans, advertising that military, veterans and government employees would never be denied credit for goods purchased from the retailer and sold products, including furniture, appliances, televisions, computers, smartphones, jewelry and other consumer goods.

“No Arkansan deserves to be lied to when they are considering purchasing everyday consumer goods, especially our military members and veterans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These abusive practices by USA Discounters harmed our service members right here in Arkansas, and I am grateful this settlement grants much needed relief to those individuals.”

The attorneys general alleged that USA Discounters engaged in unfair, abusive, false and deceptive acts and practices. These allegations include that, in collecting on consumer debts, the company engaged in abusive tactics, constantly contacted service members’ chains-of-command and caused some service members to lose security clearances and face demotions. The states also alleged that USA Discounters only filed its lawsuits in a few Virginia jurisdictions, no matter the service member’s location, deployment status or residence. In addition, the states believed that USA Discounters sold overpriced household goods at high interest rates, often using the military allotment system to guarantee payment. These unlawful business practices were secured through misrepresentations and omissions in advertising, during the loan’s origination, and during the collection process.

USA Discounters closed its stores in the summer of 2015 before later declaring bankruptcy.

USA Discounters agreed to provide relief to certain former and current customers in Arkansas. The total estimated value to consumers nationally is approximately $95.9 million, with $658,358 going to 261 Arkansans, primarily benefiting active and veteran service members.

USA Discounters also agreed to:

  • Apply a $100 credit to all accounts whose contracts were dated after June 1, 2012, which were not discharged in bankruptcy, and correct the negative comment from the company on those consumers’ credit reports ($6,700 for Arkansans);
  • Write off all judgments not obtained in the correct state and correct the negative comment from the company on those consumers’ credit reports ($650,463 for Arkansans);
  • Credit all judgments that were obtained in the correct state against members of the military with a credit equal to 50 percent of the original judgment amount ($1,194 for Arkansans);
  • And pay a penalty of $40 million to the states, which will be subordinated to all secured, administrative, priority and unsecured claims that are allowed in the bankruptcy case.
Washington Court to Protect Religious Conscience

Rutledge Urges Washington Supreme Court to Protect Religious Conscience

Thu, Sep 29, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is leading a 13-state coalition in filing an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, urging the court to protect the religious conscience rights of its citizens. The attorneys general believe this case has national implications and that similar cases may arise in their states.

“This country has a rich history of protecting the rights of conscience and the free exercise of religion,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Unfortunately, these rights have recently come under a sustained and coordinated assault even though they are the very reason many came to this country in the first place. Along with my colleagues, I am urging the Washington Supreme Court to recognize that the actions of the defendant are not discriminatory or unlawful but rather reflect sincerely held religious beliefs that should be accommodated in our pluralistic and tolerant society.”

The case involves an owner of a flower shop (Ms. Barronelle Stutzman) who declined to create a floral arrangement for and oversee its placement at a same-sex wedding based on her religious beliefs. She is being sued by the State of Washington under its discrimination law and unfair business practices act.

Stutzman has served this particular client for years, considered him a friend and remains willing to serve him in the future, but she simply believes based on her religious beliefs that she cannot participate in and create a flower arrangement for the same-sex marriage.

The attorneys general conclude in their brief that “Our history encourages a public square with many voices, all trying to persuade others of their views. But Respondents want all the voices either to agree on one view or to be silent. Because that runs counter to America’s history of free speech and religious exemptions — which are embedded in Washington’s Constitution — Amici respectfully urge this Court to rule in Appellants’ favor.”

Arkansas is joined in filing by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia and the governors of Kansas and Kentucky.

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