by Max Brantley
Kathy Wells, vice president of the Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods, reports to the CLRN on a meeting with Sheriff Doc Holladay about the ongoing dispute with the city of Little Rock over the pressing need for more lockup space at the County Jail. It appears some negotiations are underway.
Sheriff Charles (Doc) Holladay of Pulaski County appeared yesterday at the monthly session of the Coalition of LR Neighborhoods, and informed members of his efforts to defuse anger of LR directors towards current jail policies they have threatened lawsuits to end.
Holladay recounted a meeting with Dir. Dean Kumpuris, the most vocal director calling for a suit to force the sheriff to take more LR prisoners. He said that he asked the director to name the issues in dispute, which were:
* getting UAMS to pay for inmate medical care from the state allotment for indigent patients in their facilities;
* not taking all LR prisoners presented by arresting officers; and
* taking too many federal prisoners, which provide income to the budget, leaving fewer beds for local prisoners.
Holladay said Kumpuris accepted his proposal for a three-way legal debate or discussion, to move toward resolution of what the sheriff must do, cannot do, and will do that is acceptable to LR officials.
A city attorney, a county attorney and an attorney willing to take on this public service all were asked to research these questions, provide legal briefs with their positions, and compare all the work together, the sheriff said. The third lawyer would be a neutral party conducting research without a partisan position, he added.
This report is due out in July, Holladay said.
Mayor Mark Stodola identified the neutral attorney as Rick Massey, a corporate lawyer, later yesterday.