Entries - Entry Category: Law - Starting with E

Eagle-Booe Feud

On April 25, 1898, three men were shot to death in Lonoke (Lonoke County). These killings—and the conflicts that took place before and after—have come to be called the Eagle-Booe Feud. The prominent Eagle family of Lonoke County, including the brother of a former Arkansas governor, was roped into the feud and ended up being defended in court by a distant relation who would became governor himself, and later a U.S. senator. Approximately a week before the killings, on or about April 19, 1898, an unknown assailant shot Charles (Charley) Booe (wrongly spelled sometimes as Booie) outside of his law office in England (Lonoke County). Charley Booe, for reasons unknown, accused Robert (Bob) Eagle of shooting him. Booe’s father, William …

Eakin, Jno

aka: John Rogers Eakin
Jno Rogers (John) Eakin, an editor, jurist, champion of women’s rights, and viniculturalist, made notable accomplishments in all four fields. During the Civil War, he edited the Washington Telegraph, making it the state’s only newspaper to remain in operation throughout the war. As a jurist, he served as chancellor from 1874 to 1878 and then as an associate justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court until his death in 1885. His vigorous repudiation of the common law’s entrenched hostility to women was reflected first in his work as chancellor and carried over into his well-crafted, but dissenting, opinions on the Supreme Court. His essay on grape culture was one of the earliest agricultural publications in the state. John Eakin was born …

Eisele, Garnett Thomas (Tom)

Garnett Thomas (Tom) Eisele was a lawyer, veteran of the U.S. military, and judge. Serving for forty-one years as a federal district judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Eisele—a lifelong Republican—was on the bench during a time of dramatic change in Arkansas legal history. Eisele gained a reputation for fairness and probity in a period when Arkansas was emerging from Jim Crow–era discriminatory practices concerning race, law enforcement, and the justice system.   Tom Eisele was born in Hot Springs (Garland County) on November 3, 1923, to Arkansas native Mary Eisele and Missouri native Garnett Eisele, who was a druggist. His grandfather, Will Martin, was a lawyer. In Hot Springs, Eisele enjoyed the benefits of a middle-class upbringing. He …

Election Fraud

Questionable balloting procedures and fraudulent vote counts began early in Arkansas’s political history and were a regular component of the state’s politics, especially in rural areas, until about 1970. The state’s tradition of one-party rule in which consequential elections were decided in party primaries, the absence of unbiased political information in the form of independent newspapers, and a traditionalistic political culture in which the activities of the ruling elite were generally unquestioned by the masses all contributed to an environment in which fraud—fundamentally problematic for a representative democracy—could persist. Such fraudulent behavior in Arkansas had its roots in the politics of “The Family,” the Democratic regime that controlled the state’s politics in the period following statehood. This Johnson-Conway-Sevier-Rector cousinhood accumulated …

Election Law of 1891

The passage of the Election Law of 1891 was essential to the solidification of power in the state for Democrats during the post-Reconstruction era and was the first step in making Arkansas a one-party state. In conjunction with the subsequent Poll Tax Amendment, controversially passed during the 1892 general election, the Election Law of 1891 effectively disfranchised African Americans in Arkansas and legally suppressed Republican and third-party political opposition. By 1888, Democratic Party officials in Arkansas were expressing concern about perceived election fraud in the state and the threat of federal oversight of state elections. Evidence of widespread election fraud and the highly publicized murder of Republican candidate John M. Clayton brought about mounting calls for election reform legislation. After much …

Ellison, Clyde (Lynching of)

On June 13, 1919, Clyde Ellison was lynched at Star City (Lincoln County) for allegedly assaulting the daughter of a local farmer. Little is known about Clyde Ellison’s background. When he registered for the World War I draft on October 25, 1918, he was living in Florence (Drew County) and working for farmer Ernest Lytle. He was unable to give his date of birth and listed no close relatives. By June 1919, Ellison was living near Star City. According to an article in the Arkansas Gazette, it was alleged that he attempted to assault eighteen-year-old Iselle Bennett, who lived three miles from Star City. She was alone at the family home; her parents were out, and all of the hands …

Eminent Domain

The Arkansas and U.S. Constitutions permit the process of eminent domain, which is the taking of private property for public purposes as long as there is just compensation paid to the owner, legal authorization for the taking, and an observance of procedural due process. Eminent domain can be used to obtain property for public purposes such as improvement districts, electric power lines, natural-gas pipelines, irrigation and drainage companies, cemeteries, roadways, bridges, dams, and state colleges and universities. Interpretation of the term “public purpose” has produced much of the case law on eminent domain, including Pfeifer v. City of Little Rock, a 2001 Arkansas case, and Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut, a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case; these cases …

England, Albert (Lynching of)

Albert England, a white man, was lynched on the night of November 2–3, 1895, near Vilonia (Faulkner County). After being arrested and charged with burglary, he was taken from custody and murdered. Some at the time believed that the mob was composed of fellow criminals intent upon silencing England and protecting themselves from exposure. The exact identity of Albert England is difficult to determine. There was an Albert England reported on the 1880 census as twenty-six years old and from Lonoke County; however, there is a brief line in the November 28, 1895, Arkansas Gazette noting that an Albert England who was resident at the state asylum (now the Arkansas State Hospital) had died, and his body was being shipped …

English, Elbert Hartwell

Elbert Hartwell English was one of the most important jurists in Arkansas across a crucial period of legal development and turmoil in the state, including the eras of the Civil War and Reconstruction. In addition to his years of private practice, English served as chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court for a total of twenty years, one of only four chief justices to have served over twelve years in the role. E. H. English was born on March 6, 1816, to James English, who was a planter, and Nancy McCracken English in Madison County, Alabama. The family moved to Limestone County, Alabama, and eventually included ten children. English was educated in local schools and through private tutelage. He lived …

Enon Massacre

A shootout on the night of September 16, 1922, in Enon (Boone County), a sprawling, unincorporated area located east of Omaha (Boone County), left four people dead. The event known as the Enon Massacre sparked a running feud for generations to come. Although some have suggested that the Enon Massacre was the result of two groups of bootleggers in Boone County fighting over territory, most believe that the murders stemmed more from a long-running feud between various families in the area. The events that led to this gun battle started when twenty-nine-year-old Ebenezer (Eb) Badley (referred to in some newspaper accounts as “Ed Dadley”) rode to a dance near his home in Enon with his best friend, twenty-two-year-old Henry Blevins, …

Epperson v. Arkansas

Epperson v. Arkansas, a case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, challenged the right of a state to outlaw the teaching of evolution in public schools. On November 12, 1968, the Supreme Court ruled that Arkansas’s Initiated Act Number 1, an antievolution law approved by Arkansas voters in 1928, violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment and was therefore unconstitutional, thus setting a legal trend for the nation as a whole. The antievolution movement in Arkansas came into its own just as it was declining nationwide. The 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial made fundamentalist groups objects of ridicule and thus sent them retreating from the cultural and political mainstream. In January 1927, however, State Representative Astor L. Rotenberry of Pulaski …

Equal Rights Amendment

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would guarantee equal rights for women. Sent to the states in the spring of 1972, it fell short of the required ratification by three-quarters—thirty-eight—of the states. Arkansas was one of the fifteen states that did not ratify the amendment by the deadline established in the congressional directive sending the amendment to the states. However, it has periodically become the object of renewed efforts at ratification. The amendment, which was passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress in 1972 and then sent on to the states for ratification, states: Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United …

Erwin, Judson Landers, Jr.

Judson Landers (J. L.) Erwin Jr. served as the county judge of Desha County from 1947 to his death in 1968. He was never opposed for reelection. During his time in the position, he was a strong supporter of libraries and brought many improvements to the county. J. L. Erwin was born on August 11, 1909, in McGehee (Desha County), son of Judson L. Erwin Sr., who was a railroad engineer, and Batie Rhodes Erwin. He had three younger sisters, one of whom died in childhood. His father died when Erwin was seventeen. The family got by with only his after-school earnings and money from renting out rooms in the house; this experience shaped the lifelong frugal financial policies by …

Eskridge, Thomas P.

Thomas P. Eskridge was a judge on the Superior Court of Arkansas Territory, which eventually became the Arkansas Supreme Court. Though he left the spotlight to others, he played a substantive role in the development of the Arkansas court system. While there is little documentation on his early life, it appears that Thomas Eskridge was born around 1797 to William Eskridge and Elizabeth Scott Eskridge in Staunton, Virginia. He came from a large family with possibly as many as ten children. It is believed that he received his legal training serving as a clerk for a Virginia lawyer. He moved to Arkansas in 1820 or 1821, just as the Arkansas Territory was developing and its judiciary was taking shape. Eskridge …

Evans, Timothy C.

Timothy C. Evans of Hot Springs (Garland County) was the first African American to be elected as chief judge of the Cook County Circuit Court of Illinois. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2010. Timothy Evans was born on June 1, 1943, in Hot Springs, to George Evans and Tiny Marie Evans. His father would later become a bailiff for the Illinois State Supreme Court, a position he held for twenty-seven years. Evans has two siblings: George W. Evans and Sandra M. Johnson. As a child in Hot Springs, Evans wanted to be a doctor. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, shortly after Governor Orval Faubus closed Little Rock (Pulaski County) public schools to impede …