LITTLE ROCK — A Monticello man who was disqualified as a state legislative candidate said Monday that it in addition to seeking to appeal his disqualification to the state Supreme Court he is pursuing a separate action on the matter in Drew County Circuit Court.
Republican Jim A. Hall was seeking the seat previously held by Democrat Sheilla Lampkin of Monticello, who died July 23 of ovarian cancer, when Drew County Circuit Judge David Laser ruled Sept. 12 that Hall was not eligible to seek the office because of a misdemeanor hot-check conviction from April and ordered that any votes cast for him not be counted. In a hearing Friday, Laser declined to reverse his ruling.
Hall presented to the Drew County circuit clerk on Friday a notice that he intends to appeal the judge’s ruling to the Arkansas Supreme Court and a motion to be allowed to proceed in forma pauperis, or “as a pauper,” so that his fees in the matter may be waived.
On Monday, Hall presented to the same clerk a petition seeking a ruling in Drew County Circuit Court that votes cast for him must be counted. Named as defendants are the election boards and county clerks of Drew and Ashley counties, Laser and former Democratic state Rep. Johnnie Bolin, who filed the suit challenging Hall’s eligibility that led to Lasure’s ruling.
Drew County Circuit Clerk Beverly Burks said late Monday afternoon that because Hall, who is representing himself, did not pay a filing fee, and because there had not yet been a ruling on his request to have his fees waived, the petition he presented Monday had not been filed.
Hall maintains that Laser should not have found him ineligible because his hot-check case has been sealed.
Laser relied in his ruling on Article 5, Section 9 of the Arkansas Constitution, which states that “No person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery or other infamous crime shall be eligible to the General Assembly or capable of holding any office of trust or profit in this state.”
LeAnne Burch of Monticello, a retired brigadier general in the Army Reserves and an attorney for the state Department of Human Services, is the Democratic nominee for the seat and is currently unopposed.