The Arkansas Supreme Court will make its fourth trip outside of Little Rock Thursday, April 20. Its destination: the Fine Arts Center at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
At 9 a.m., the Arkansas Supreme Court will hear the appeal of Rodney Eugene Weston v. State of Arkansas. The original case, which sought the death penalty, ended with a ruling of two life sentences, and 240 months for the shooting death of Vincent Thomas and the injury of James Collins.
"Keep your eyes on the ball. Things will move fast, both of the attorneys are very qualified," said Jim Ross, a local attorney that helped make this event possible.
The attorneys, prosecutor Karen Wallace and defender Sandra Bradshaw, have very impressive histories. Bradshaw graduated magna cum laude in 1988 from UAM. Since then, she has continued her education and set up a practice with Griffin, Rainwater and Draper in Crossett.
The appeal hinges on three points. The first, that the trial court erred in denying Weston’s Batson Challenges (meaning that there was an unfair jury selection).
The second point, the defense says there was insufficient evidence of premeditation and deliberation. Finally, the defense claims the trial court erred in failing to find Weston mentally incompetent to stand trial.
"This defense is wisely used," Ross said.
The hearing will be open to the public as well as UAM students. Security will be tight, though, and Chancellor Jack Lassiter said spectators should refrain from bringing purses, backpacks and other bags, as they will be subjected to searches.
Lassiter also said this will be a great opportunity for students. The Supreme Court has only gone to Fort Smith, Fayetteville and Jonesboro since it began its policy on traveling. Lassiter said this will be the last such event for this semester, but students can look forward to others like it. This and other events held this semester are part of a new policy of giving students more opportunities.
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©The Voice 2006
Revised 09/17/2007 02:12:22 PM— http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/3_23/court.htm