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Special judge named in attorney’s investigation


JONESBORO — A special judge has been appointed “to consider any search and/or arrest warrants and to preside over the subsequent case if one is filed in the 2nd Judicial Circuit” in an investigation involving Jonesboro attorney Doug Brimhall.

Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp signed the order on Tuesday, assigning Robert Edwards of Searcy, a retired circuit judge, to the case.

It was the first publicly-released document that acknowledges Brimhall is under investigation. It doesn’t state why he is under investigation.

Brimhall had been serving as a deputy prosecuting attorney in Craighead County until he resigned on May 6.

Sonia Hagood, the elected prosecuting attorney for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, confirmed Brimhall verbally resigned, but she told The Sun that he didn’t provide a reason or resignation letter. Because of his association with the prosecutor’s office, a special prosecutor based in Little Rock was assigned to decide whether to pursue criminal charges.

Following media inquiries, Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott released a heavilyredacted incident report from May 4.

The names of the complainant, victim and suspect were masked, as was the location of the reported incident.

It indicated a 16-year-old may have been a victim. In order to protect the identity of child victims, police say they have to avoid disclosing home addresses in such cases.

Sally Smith, public information specialist of the Jonesboro Police Department, said Thursday afternoon that detectives working the case have provided their files to the special prosecutor and are await-

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ing instructions on how to proceed.

Brimhall defeated Blytheville attorney Curtis Walker Jr. for a circuit judgeship in March and is scheduled to take office on Jan. 1.


Suicides in Arkansas prisons on the rise, study shows

LITTLE ROCK — The suicide rate among Arkansas prisons has risen in 2024.

Last week’s report detailed the pace of inmate suicides rising compared to the previous year.

The report showed six inmates that have taken their lives by suicide since the beginning of 2024.

According to the report, every inmate who committed suicide this year sought out mental health services at least once, with the majority doing so within a week of taking their lives.

Department of Corrections Secretary Lindsay Wallace released the following statement: “In-custody suicides are on the rise across the country, including in Arkansas. We want to reverse that trend. To do that, we must be deliberate in how we address the mental health needs of our inmate population. Dr. Bratton’s suicide study reinforced that the services we provide need improvement. We are examining policies, procedures and training for our staff to address the deficiencies noted. This is and will continue to be an ongoing assessment, said Wallace. “The Protect Arkansas Act requires evidence-based programming and that is why this position is necessary. While we offer programming already, streamlining programming options across the DOC to become more impactful to our population is key to reducing recidivism and creating safer communities for Arkansans.”


Report: More Arkansans working than ever before

LITTLE ROCK — Recent economic news shows that Arkansas’ economy is booming.

Today’s unemployment report showed that more Arkansans are working than ever before. There are 24,100 more jobs in Arkansas than this time last year, and just between March and April, the state added more than 13,000 jobs. Arkansas was recently first in the nation for monthover- month Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Payroll Job growth, and this month, the state set a record for Nonfarm Payroll Jobs at 1,377,000 – up 13,900 in one month.

Companies are investing and creating jobs across Arkansas. Just since mid-March, Zekelman Industries announced a $120 million investment in Blytheville creating 90 new jobs, Americold completed a $90 million expansion in Russellville creating 30 new jobs, Bekaert announced a $14.5 million investment in Van Buren creating 38 new jobs, and Tractor Supply opened a $175 million facility in Maumelle creating 500 new jobs.

At the same time, budget surplus projections for this year leaped from $240.5 million to $708.1 million. In recognition of that fiscal stewardship, credit rating agency S& P just upgraded the state’s outlook from “stable” to “positive,” while Moody’s, another credit rating firm, affirmed the state’s Aa1 rating.

Arkansas is one of only six states to receive a “positive” outlook rating from S& P.

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