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story.lead_photo.caption In this 2016 photo from Texarkana Gazette archives, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Black argues a legal issue during a capital murder trial at the Miller County courthouse. Black was tapped Thursday by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to lead the office of Prosecuting Attorney for 8th Judicial District South beginning Jan. 1.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the appointment Thursday of the state's longest serving prosecutor to lead the office serving Miller and Lafayette counties when it becomes vacant at the end of the year.

Charles "Chuck" Black said he is honored to serve as prosecuting attorney for the 8th Judicial District South, from Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2022. The district's current elected prosecuting attorney, Stephanie Potter Barrett, is leaving the seat vacant when she assumes an associate justice position Jan. 1 on the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

Black, who graduated law school in 1980 and began serving as a prosecutor the same year, currently serves as Barrett's chief deputy.

Before he began prosecuting cases for Miller County in 1991, Black prosecuted cases in Montgomery County for 11 years. The last three years as a deputy prosecutor in Montgomery County, his district also served Polk County.

In 2008, Black left Miller County for some years to be closer to his aging father and young daughter. During that time he prosecuted cases in Polk County but returned to Miller County in January 2015 to serve as Barrett's number two.

Black said he expects his tenure as chief will translate into a "smooth transition" for the office. Black thanked Hutchinson for considering him for the appointment and announced his pick to replace him as chief deputy beginning Jan. 1.

"I am very grateful for the governor's appointment and wish to thank Stephanie Barrett for giving me the opportunity to work as the Chief Deputy Prosecutor," Black said. "Stephanie will be an excellent jurist on the Court of Appeals. With this appointment I will be ineligible to run for the next position in the next election. Connie Mitchell will serve as my Chief Deputy and I anticipate she will be a candidate for Prosecuting Attorney in the next election. I will support her candidacy."

The voters in Miller and Lafayette counties will elect a new prosecuting attorney in 2022. Those appointed to fill a vacancy in an elected position are ineligible to run for the office's next term under Arkansas law.

Black said he will retire when his appointment expires and looks forward to a quiet life on his family farm near Mount Ida, Arkansas, after a 40-plus-year career of service to the state.

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