by Max Brantley
Fox 16's David Goins reports that Circuit Judge Mary McGowan has ruled that former state Rep. Fred Smith is not eligible to run for the House this year. He was a convicted felon at the time the Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin accepted his filing over the objections of the Arkansas Democratic Party. The party sued. Since filing closed, Smith has had his case dismissed because he completed probation on the theft charge. The party contended that didn't clear him from a constitutional deficiency.
Here's the judge's order. She said Smith had not produced proof of dicmissal of the conviction or expungment by the filing deadline. She also questioned whether the order that Smith subsequently received was possible under the statute under which he was sentenced.
Smith is expected to appeal. His name will appear on ballots, already printed, but votes can't be counted if the judge's order stands.