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Circuit Judge Jones announces bid for Arkansas Supreme Court

by Gazette Staff | September 15, 2023 at 3:22 p.m.
Judge Carlton Jones, 8th Judicial Circuit-South

TEXARKANA, Ark. -- A local circuit judge is throwing his gavel into the ring for a place on the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Circuit Judge Carlton D. Jones of Texarkana announced his candidacy Wednesday for Position 2 on the court. He is seeking to fill the remaining term of Justice Robin Wynne, who died suddenly in June.

If Jones is elected, his term would be from Jan. 1, 2025, to Dec. 31, 2030.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders appointed Cody Hiland, a former U.S. attorney and then-chairman of the Arkansas Republican Committee, to fill the vacancy on the court until the March 5, 2024, election. State law does not allow Hiland to run for the office.

Jones said in a news release that "his previous experience as a prosecuting attorney and as a judge give him a unique perspective that will allow him to be a highly effective member of the state Supreme Court."

Jones is serving a second elected term as a circuit court judge for the 8th Judicial Circuit-South. He was first elected in 2014.

A graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas School of Law, Jones served as a deputy prosecuting attorney before his election in 2010 to prosecuting attorney for the 8th Judicial Circuit-South. He served four years as prosecuting attorney before following Judge Joe E. Griffin to the 1st Division bench.

The 8th Judicial Circuit-South has three divisions.

Jones serves on three Supreme Court committees: Arkansas Access to Justice Commission, Model Jury Instructions Committee and the Criminal Practice Committee, which he chairs. He also serves on the Arkansas Sentencing Commission.

While serving on the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission, "Jones came to know and respect Justice Wynne for his intelligence and dedication to the law and justice," according to the news release.

Jones, a lifetime resident of Texarkana, has been married to his wife, Beverly, for 34 years. They have two children, daughter Bianca and son Cory.

Jones is the second candidate to officially make a bid for the Position 2 seat. Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Courtney Rae Hudson, who is serving on the high court in Position 3, announced a run for the seat earlier this month, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Hudson is serving her second term on the court in Position 3. She has said seeking the Position 2 seat vacated by Wynne would allow her to serve a few more years on the court before reaching mandatory judicial retirement, due to how the date of her 70th birthday corresponds with the stagger of the Supreme Court terms.

Under state law, a judge or justice who is eligible to retire and elected to office after turning 70 must forfeit their retirement benefits with the Arkansas Judicial Retirement System.

The seven justices on the Arkansas Supreme Court are elected in statewide nonpartisan elections and serve on the bench for eight-year terms.

Along with selecting a justice to serve the remainder of Wynne's term in 2024, Arkansas voters will have to select a new chief justice and decide whether to re-elect Justice Shawn Womack.

Chief Justice John Dan Kemp has announced plans to retire at the end of his term, noting that since he has passed age 70 he would have to relinquish his retirement benefits under state law if he were re-elected.

Justices Karen Baker, Rhonda Wood and Barbara Webb have announced runs for chief justice.

Print Headline: Circuit Judge Jones announces bid for Arkansas Supreme Court


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