politicsinarkansas.com » Dwayne Dobbins

Flower

Posts Tagged ‘Dwayne Dobbins’

Court to act quickly on Dobbins

Former state Rep. Dwayne Dobbins will get quick action from the state’s highest court, one way or the other.

The Arkansas Supreme Court said today it will give expedited consideration to Dobbins’ effort to get his name on the Nov. 4 general election ballot in North Little Rock.

In a per curiam order, the court set a deadline of noon Thursday for the parties to file briefs and said it would not accept reply briefs.

Dobbins filed a lawsuit on Oct. 10 challenging the state Democratic Party’s refusal to certify him as a candidate for his former House seat.

The party adopted a rule in July prohibiting ballot certification of any Democratic candidate who has resigned from elective office as part of a plea deal to avoid felony prosecution.

Dobbins resigned from his House seat and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment in a 2005 plea deal after he was charged initially with felony sexual assault. Prosecutors said he improperly touched a 17-year-old girl at his home.

A Pulaski County circuit judge dismissed Dobbins’ lawsuit Friday, saying it was not filed in a timely manner. On Monday Dobbins filed an appeal with the state’s highest court and asked for expedited consideration.

Share

Dobbins files appeal

Former state Rep. Dwayne Dobbins is taking his fight to get on the Nov. 4 ballot to the state’s highest court.

Dobbins filed an appeal today with the Arkansas Supreme Court in his lawsuit challenging the Democratic Party of Arkansas’ refusal to certify him for the general election ballot as a candidate for North Little Rock’s District 39 seat in the state House of Representatives. A Pulaski County circuit judge dismissed the lawsuit Friday, saying it was not filed in a timely manner.

Dobbins claims the state Democratic Party violated his due process rights when it refused to certify him after it passed a rule prohibiting ballot certification of any Democratic candidate who previously resigned from elective office as part of a plea deal to avoid felony prosecution.

Dobbins resigned from his House seat and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment in a 2005 plea deal after he was charged initially with felony sexual assault. Prosecutors said he improperly touched a 17-year-old girl at his home.

Early voting for the general election started Monday.

Share

Dobbins lawsuit dismissed UPDATE

A lawyer for former state Rep. Dwayne Dobbins said this afternoon he will appeal a circuit judge’s dismissal of Dobbins’ lawsuit challenging a Democratic Party rule that barred Dobbins from the November general election ballot.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza dismissed Dobbins’ lawsuit this morning, ruling that the lawsuit was not filed in a timely manner.

Dobbins would not say immediately after the hearing if he planned to appeal, but his attorney, Jimmy Morris Jr., said later he would file an appeal with the Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday, the same day early voting begins for the Nov. 4 general election.

“Of course I would ask for them to have a hearing scheduled as quickly as possible,” Morris said.

Dobbins filed his challenge on Oct. 10, just 10 days before the start of early voting.

“Now we’re on the cusp of deciding a presidential election, and it’s late to be involved in this issue,” Piazza said in making his ruling today. 

Dobbins claimed state Democratic Party violated his due process rights when it refused to certify him for the general election ballot in his former North Little Rock House district after Dobbins did not draw opposition for the May Democratic primary. 

The party approved a rule in July denying certification as a Democratic candidate to anyone who resigned from public office as part of a plea deal to avoid felony prosecution.

Dobbins was serving as a state representative in 2005 when he was charged with felony sexual assault. Prosecutors said he improperly touched a 17-year-old girl at his home.
Dobbins pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and resigned from his House seat in a plea bargain with prosecutor. His wife, Sharon Dobbins, now holds the seat and was expected to run for re-election this year, but on the last day of the filing period her husband filed to run instead.

Pulaski County Attorney Karla Burnett argued during today’s hearing that Dobbins was required to file his challenge within 20 days of being notified on July 21 that he would not be certified as the Democratic Party nominee.

The county could not possibly reprint 200,000 ballots in time for the election, she said, noting that absentee ballots have already been mailed and early voting starts Monday.
Morris argued that the deadline did not apply because the Democratic Party acted illegally and that a ruling in his client’s favor would affect only the ballots in House District 39.

“If that’s 200,000 ballots, gosh, that’s a lot of people in District 39,” Morris said.

Share

Facing the giants

Former state Rep. Dwayne Dobbins of North Little Rock begins an uphill battle Friday to regain the House seat he vacated three years ago as part of a plea agreement that reduced a felony sexual assault charge involving a teenage girl to misdemeanor harassment.

At a hearing in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Dobbins will argue the Democratic Party of Arkansas violated his constitutional due process rights by refusing to certify him as a Democratic candidate for the November general election even though he was the only candidate to file for the District 39 House seat that his wife held after he resigned.

The party passed a rule this summer saying it would not certify any one as a party candidate who had resigned public office to avoid felony prosecution.

If Dobbins wins that argument, he still would have to make the Nov. 4 election ballot logistically. Pulaski County ballots have already been printed and absentee ballots mail, and early voting begins Monday. Only a Green Party candidate’s name is on the ballot for District 39. Two write-in candidates are all contending for the seat.

Beyond that, the state House has passed a rule similar to the Democratic Party rule that would bar anyone in Dobbins’ position from taking the oath of office or being seated in the chamber.

Dobbins says friends convinced him to mount a belated effort to run for his old seat. As far as the odds against him, the former lawmaker says he’ll just have to face one giant at a time.

Share