Quote of the Week 1:
"It is up to Arkansas to stop the Donald Trump show. The next generation of conservatives cannot allow Donald Trump to take everything we stand for and throw it away."
— Gov. Hutchinson on Feb. 27, a few days before Arkansas's primary election. Like most of the state's Republican leaders, Hutchinson backed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, but Trump prevailed in Arkansas on March 1 — as he now has nationwide.
Quote of the Week 2:
"I do not agree with everything Mr. Trump has said nor have I endorsed every policy he's announced, but I do believe the Republican Party's fiscally conservative approach to government and the values we stand for are far greater than what the other side has to offer the American people. Those are the reasons why I will support the nominee of the party in November."
—Gov. Hutchinson last Wednesday, falling in line behind the presumptive Republican nominee after Trump's last two rivals — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — bowed out of the GOP primary.
Little Rock settles suit over Ellison shooting
Last week, the city of Little Rock agreed to a settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit over the 2010 shooting death of Eugene Ellison by two off-duty police officers. The case had been set to go to trial on May 9; at the last minute, the city agreed to pay $900,000 and deliver a formal apology to Ellison's family. It will also erect a memorial bench in memory of the slain 67-year-old. Separately, Big Country Chateau Apartments — which employed the two officers as private security — settled with the Ellison family in April for an undisclosed amount. The suit was brought by Troy Ellison, the victim's son, who also happens to be a lieutenant for the LRPD. On Dec. 9, 2010, LRPD officers Donna Lesher and Tabitha McCrillis were working off-duty security at Big Country Chateau when they noticed the door to Eugene Ellison's apartment was ajar. According to their account, they entered the home to check on Ellison's welfare; he told them to leave and supposedly became combative. He was unarmed. At the time Lesher shot Ellison in the chest, she was standing on the balcony outside his door with McCrillis and two other officers who had arrived as backup. An internal investigation followed, which was speckled with irregularities.
NRA endorsement OK (but not very useful)
A judicial discipline panel found last week that Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson broke no rules when her campaign used an endorsement from the National Rifle Association in her unsuccessful race for chief justice this year. In response to an anonymous complaint, the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission said the NRA endorsement — featured prominently in Goodson's campaign advertising — was nonpartisan and therefore kosher according to its rules. For once, though, the NRA's candidate lost: Goodson was beaten by Circuit Judge Dan Kemp on March 1. (Kemp had his own shady ally in the form of an out-of-state dark money group that purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars in TV ads smearing Goodson.)
May it please the court
On Monday, Joseph Boeckmann, a district judge in Cross County, resigned his position and agreed to never again serve in public office following a months-long investigation into an array of lurid sexual allegations. Among other things, Boeckmann is accused of giving favorable treatment to young male defendants in return for naked or suggestive photographs, thousands of which were found on his computer. According to a letter from the panel on judicial discipline, in many pictures the young men are naked and "bending over after an apparent paddling." A criminal investigation into Boeckmann's misconduct continues.
And speaking of sexual misconduct ...
Kenneth Starr, the former Whitewater prosecutor who is now president of Baylor University, is under fire for his handling of rape allegations at the Baptist school. Despite at least eight alleged sexual assaults involving football players — two of whom have been found guilty by juries and sentenced to prison — Starr's administration has issued only tepid responses, according to recent reporting by the Dallas Morning News. Quite a contrast from his days investigating the Monica Lewinsky scandal.