Entries - Entry Category: Law - Starting with I

Initiatives and Referenda

Arkansas’s adoption of key elements of “direct democracy” (specifically, a statewide initiative and referendum process) stands out in the South. The fact that Arkansas adds another policymaking body—the voters of the state acting at the ballot box on measures placed on the ballot through their own petition signatures—to the typical representative system of democracy continues to shape the political rules of the game in Arkansas a century after the process’s creation. It also reflects the legacies of the Progressive and Populist political movements in the state. Proponents of direct democracy—the initiative, referendum, and recall—argued that taking total decision-making power away from legislative bodies could lessen the influence of special interests, reduce corruption in politics generally, and more fully empower rank-and-file …

Island 37

aka: Andy Crum (Lynching of)
aka: Bert Springs (Lynching of)
Island 37 is a stretch of land that is in the legal possession of the State of Tennessee but is physically joined to Arkansas. Because competing claims of jurisdiction left it in something of a legal void, Island 37 became, in the early twentieth century, an outpost for bootleggers and other criminals. Police action taken against those criminals resulted in one of the many U.S. Supreme Court cases regarding ongoing boundary disputes between Arkansas and Tennessee. The Mississippi River is a dynamic waterway, often cutting new channels and thus either forming islands or causing former islands to merge with the eastern or western banks. The legal principle of avulsion holds that land cut off by the river from one state …

Ives, Kevin, and Don Henry (Murder of)

The apparent murder in Saline County in 1987 of seventeen-year-old Kevin Ives and sixteen-year-old Don Henry has spurred ongoing controversy, including conspiracy theories tying their deaths to a drug-smuggling scandal. The case was the subject of journalist Mara Leveritt’s award-winning book The Boys on the Tracks. On Sunday, August 23, 1987, at around 4:00 a.m., the bodies of the two boys were spotted by the crew of a Union Pacific locomotive near Crooked Creek trestle in Alexander (Pulaski and Saline counties). The bodies were lying between the tracks, wrapped in a pale green tarp; there was a gun nearby. The train was unable to avoid running over the bodies. The train’s crew immediately reported the incident to railroad officials and …

Ivy, Dan

Dan Ivy was a high-profile attorney and political gadfly in Arkansas in the latter part of the twentieth and the early part of the twenty-first century known for his creative print and television advertisements for his law practice. In his all-black outfit—black shirt, black pants, and signature misshapen black felt cowboy hat—Ivy was a larger-than-life personality, skilled at self-promotion. Danny Chris Ivy was born on November 15, 1952, in Newport (Jackson County) to Daniel Ivy and Minnie Bell Hickman Ivy, who were devout members of the Assembly of God. He had to end his formal education while still in elementary school in order to help feed his family. When he was a child, he had a speech impediment that he …