by Max Brantley
The Arkansas Supreme Court resumed issuing opinions today after its summer recess, mostly housekeeping-type orders.
The Court refused the state's request for a rehearing in the case of Kenneth Ray Osburn, whose murder conviction in the 2006 strangulation of Casey Crowder, 17, was overturned because a split court said his confession was coerced after he'd asked for a lawyer. The request for a rehearing was denied without comment 4-3.
The Court also denied motions filed by defendants in the West Memphis Three murder case appeals for hearings on the status of the political candidacy of Circuit Judge David Burnett of Osceola, who's hearing post-conviction appeals. It has since become clear that Burnett is indeed running for state Senate next year. Defense lawyers say a political candidate shouldn't be sitting on the highly charged case and a motion for his recusal is still pending.