Entries - Entry Category: Law - Starting with C

Convent Inspection Act of 1915

aka: Act 130 of 1915
aka: Posey Act
The Convent Inspection Act was passed by the Arkansas General Assembly and signed by Governor George Washington Hays in March 1915. The act was not unique to Arkansas, as states such as Georgia and Florida had similar laws. The Arkansas law allowed for sheriffs and constables to inspect convents, hospitals, asylums, seminaries, and rectories on a regular basis. The purpose, as stated in one section, was “to afford every person within the confines of said institutions, the fullest opportunity to divulge the truth to their detention therein.” If twelve citizens petitioned local authorities, law enforcement could enter these facilities day or night without notice. Whatever the stated intention of the legislation, one writer in the Arkansas Gazette on February 17, …

Conway-Crittenden Duel

aka: Crittenden-Conway Duel
In 1827, Henry Wharton Conway and Robert Crittenden, both important figures in territorial Arkansas, fought a duel that had profound implications for the course of Arkansas history. Conway, a former naval officer and governmental employee originally from Tennessee, had relocated to Arkansas for a governmental post and eventually sought political office in Arkansas. Crittenden, originally from Kentucky, also served in the armed forces and later held political positions in Arkansas; he was originally a political supporter of Conway. Both were young, professional, and successful in their own right, but a conflict ensued between the two during an Arkansas election campaign, leading Crittenden to challenge Conway to a duel. Conway and Crittenden were friends and had worked together in an official …

Cooper v. Henslee

Cooper v. Henslee was a 1975 Arkansas Supreme Court free speech case that struck down the 1941 state law that made advocating communism illegal and that barred the employment of communists by any government agency or institution. The court said such laws violated the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protections of free speech, assembly, and association. The plaintiff was Dr. Grant Cooper—a young history professor in Little Rock (Pulaski County) whose father was a prominent physician, philanthropist, and former member of the Little Rock School Board. In the early 1970s, Cooper started telling his students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock that a communist revolution would someday turn America from a plutocracy into a just society. A student newspaper …

Corbin, Donald Louis

Donald Louis Corbin had a career as a state legislator and appellate judge spanning forty-four years. As a state representative, Corbin developed a reputation as a plainspoken maverick, and, as a judge, a reputation for pushing his colleagues to take unpopular stands, particularly on social issues. As his twenty-four-year career as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court was coming to an end in 2014, he had a bitter disagreement with other justices whom he thought had connived to avoid rendering a decision in the controversy over legalizing marriages of same-sex couples. Donald L. Corbin was born on March 29, 1938, in Hot Springs (Garland County), where his father, Louis Emerson Corbin, was a meat-market manager for a Kroger grocery …

Coronado Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers of America

aka: United Mine Workers of America v. Coronado Coal Co.
Coronado Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers of America refers here to two separate cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court during the tenure of Chief Justice William Howard Taft. Both arose from Arkansas’s Sebastian County Union War of 1914 and featured the same parties: the Coronado Coal Company and District No. 21, a local Arkansas branch of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). The first case, United Mine Workers of America v. Coronado Coal Co. (1922), was an appeal that ruled in favor of the union. It overturned a lower court decision by the Court of Appeals that found the union in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act during the strike. The Supreme Court, however, found little evidence that …

Corrothers, Helen Gladys Curl

Helen G. Corrothers is a well-respected figure in the world of criminal justice who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the United States Parole Board and then the United States Sentencing Commission in the 1980s. Helen Gladys Curl was born on March 19, 1937, in Montrose (Ashley County) to Thomas Curl and Christene Farley Curl. Her father died when she was two. Following high school, Corrothers earned an Associate of Arts degree in liberal arts from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County). She then entered the U.S. Army, serving from 1956 to 1969. She earned the rank of captain. Over the course of her army career in the Far East, Europe, and the United States, …

Corvett, George (Lynching of)

A white laborer named George Corvett was lynched on February 12, 1890, two miles west of Crawfordsville (Crittenden County) for having allegedly raped and murdered a young woman named Ada Goss. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Ada Goss was the daughter of H. C. Goss, “a highly respected citizen,” and the Goss and Corvett families were related by marriage, with George Corvett working for H. C. Goss. The 1880 federal census records an Ada Goss, then about five years old, living with her parents, H. C. and Laura Goss, and two siblings. Her father worked as a farmer. The census does not record anyone named George Corvett (or similarly named) living in the vicinity. On the night of February 11, …

Cosgrove, Charles (Execution of)

Charles Cosgrove was hanged in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on June 10, 1859, for murdering a man from Georgia and stealing his money. Charles Cosgrove was a native of Ireland who moved to Little Rock in the summer of 1858. In early February 1859, G. G. R. Lester of Georgia came to Arkansas “on an errand of mercy and kindness to one of his kindred.” Lester and Cosgrove were staying in the same boardinghouse. On February 19, 1859, the two men left the house around dusk and were seen walking together toward the Arkansas River. A witness soon “heard cries of murder,” and the next day authorities found pools of blood in a wooded area and signs that something large …

Cotton, John (Lynching of)

On July 15, 1893, a seventeen-year-old African American named John Cotton was hanged near Cornerville (Lincoln County) for an alleged attack on the wife of John Tucker, a prominent area farmer. According to the Forrest City Times, on Thursday, July 13, Cotton tried to assault Tucker while he thought her husband was away. John Tucker, however, was in a field nearby, where he heard her screams, and ran to the house. Cotton escaped, and as news spread of the attempted attack, a mob gathered. Cotton managed to elude them, “running like a hunted beast through the fields and woods.” He could find no food and no hiding place, and by Saturday afternoon he was exhausted and collapsed. His pursuers caught …

County Coroner, Office of the

Coroners originated in England during the twelfth century—initially being called “crowners” due to their service to the king. As the English set their sights on the land that is now the United States, the office of the coroner was one of the ideas that set sail with them. With his appointment on January 29, 1637, Thomas Baldridge of Maryland became the inaugural coroner of England’s venture into the continent. Since Baldridge’s service, the office of the coroner has evolved, yet it has maintained an important place as a medicolegal facet in death investigation in the modern United States. By 2018, twenty-seven states operated under some sort of county coroner system, while seven states were operating under a county medical examiner …

County Judge, Office of

Each county in Arkansas has a county judge, who is the chief executive officer of the county, as well as several other countywide office holders including a quorum court (legislative body) made up of justices of the peace elected from single-member districts. The county judge is custodian of county property and public buildings. Counties are essentially subdivisions of the state government. The Arkansas General Assembly controls them to the extent it desires, except as forbidden by state constitutional law. According to the Arkansas Supreme Court, a county is a political subdivision of the state established for a more convenient administration of justice and for purposes of providing services for the state. The highest county executive office is that of county judge. …

Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord

The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA) was a militia-style organization predominantly located in northern Arkansas, southern Missouri, and western Oklahoma. This organization was loosely affiliated with other white supremacist organizations within the United States, such as the Aryan Nations, The Order, and the Militia of Montana. Between 1976 and 1985, the CSA was involved in various illegal activities such as weapons procurement, counterfeiting, arson, robbery, homicide, and terrorist threats. The CSA was founded by Texas minister James Ellison in 1971 near Elijah, Missouri. In 1976, Ellison purchased a 220-acre farm near Bull Shoals Lake about two miles from the Marion County town of Oakland (approximately seven miles southwest of Pontiac, Missouri), in order to establish …

Covington, Riley (Reported Lynching of)

In the summer of 1877, a number of newspapers reported that an African American man named Riley Covington had been lynched for murder in Osceola (Mississippi County). This information has been included on various inventories of lynching events, and his reported murder is even memorialized at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. However, Covington was not actually lynched but, instead, was tried, convicted of murder, and incarcerated. The June 26, 1877, edition of Illinois’s Cairo Bulletin gives the most detailed information on Covington’s alleged crimes and arrest. Covington first came under suspicion when, in November 1876, he befriended a Black cotton picker identified only as Shackleford near Osceola. The two disappeared, and several weeks later, Covington …

Coy, Edward (Lynching of)

On February 20, 1892, Edward Coy, a thirty-two-year-old African-American man, was burned at the stake in Texarkana (Miller County) before a crowd of approximately 1,000 people. Ida B. Wells, a journalist and prominent anti-lynching crusader, described Coy’s murder as one of the most shocking and repulsive in the history of lynching. Coy, described in press accounts as “mulatto,” was charged with a crime “from which the laws provide adequate punishment. Ed Coy was charged with assaulting Mrs. Henry [Julia] Jewell, a white woman. A mob pronounced him guilty, strapped him to a tree, chipped the flesh from his body, poured coal oil over him, and the woman in the case set fire to him.” According to the New York Times, …

Crawford County Executions of 1843

Two enslaved African American men named Frank and Dennis were hanged at Van Buren (Crawford County) on December 22, 1843, after being convicted of raping a white woman. The Arkansas Intelligencer newspaper reported that a grand jury convened in Van Buren on May 15, 1843, and indicted two men “for committing a rape on the person of Mrs. Susan Rose.” One of them, named Frank, was tried the next day, and the Intelligencer reported “the jury retired, and in a few minutes returned a verdict of guilty.” The other man, Dennis, was tried the next day and likewise found guilty, with the newspaper reporting “the evidence was the same in each case, and not one particle of evidence was in …

Crawford, Maud Robinson

Maud Robinson Crawford, a lawyer with the Gaughan, McClellan and Laney law firm in Camden (Ouachita County), mysteriously disappeared from her stately Colonial home on Saturday night, March 2, 1957, at age sixty-five. U.S. Senator John L. McClellan, a former partner in the law firm, was at the time of her disappearance the chairman of a high-profile Senate investigation into alleged mob ties to organized labor. The disappearance of Sen. McClellan’s former associate was international news, a first assumption being that she had been kidnapped by the Mafia to intimidate the senator. When no ransom note appeared, however, the theory was rejected by law enforcement. No body was ever found, and the case was never solved. Maud Robinson was born …

Crenshaw, George (Lynching of)

On September 2 or 3, 1885, an African American man named George Crenshaw was taken from jail and hanged by a mob near Lewisville (Lafayette County) for allegedly murdering a young salesman named Harry W. Paup. According to the September 1 edition of the Arkansas Gazette, at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, August 28 (another report says August 29), a young salesman and “highly respected young gentleman” named Harry W. Paup was walking through a cotton field near the home of an elderly black man named George Crenshaw. Crenshaw’s dogs began to bark and alerted Crenshaw, described as a “blood-thirsty old demon.” Crenshaw grabbed his gun, and though another man, Mike Ross, tried to stop him, ran to the field, spotted …

Criminal Justice Institute

The Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) is a nonprofit educational entity that provides programs and services designed to enhance the proficiency of Arkansas law enforcement professionals. As a division of the University of Arkansas System, the CJI delivers advanced education and training across the state in progressive areas of criminal justice, including law enforcement management, forensic sciences, computer applications, traffic safety, school safety, and drug issues. The Criminal Justice Institute was founded in 1988 on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) campus to address the management education and training needs of Arkansas law enforcement. Act 1111 of 1993 designated the institute as coordinator and manager of all supervisory, managerial, and executive education and training for Arkansas law enforcement. The …

Crittenden County Executions of 1871

John Roseborough and Henry Harris, both African American men convicted of murder, were hanged at Marion (Crittenden County) on June 9, 1871; before the execution, they attempted to keep from going to the gallows by barricading themselves in a cell. No accounts appear to exist of their trials, but Roseborough was convicted of killing “old man” William Freeman, while Harris was sentenced to death for the murder of John B. Crockett. Both were to be executed on June 9, 1871. A Memphis, Tennessee, newspaper reported the day before the scheduled execution that the Crittenden County sheriff “has been selecting a guard of white men to surround the scaffold during the executions because he feared a rescue by the negroes, ten …

Cross, Edward

Edward Cross, who was born in Tennessee and reared in Kentucky, practiced law briefly in eastern Tennessee as a young man and then moved to southern Arkansas in 1826, where he spent a long career in politics and the judiciary but particularly in land speculation and business. He served in Congress, was the state attorney general for a time, and also served on the state’s highest court—first the territorial Superior Court and then briefly the Arkansas Supreme Court. His stints on the appellate courts earned him little distinction in the eyes of contemporaries, but his business instincts did. He helped form and develop the Cairo and Fulton Railroad, which later became the state’s most prosperous railroad, the St. Louis, Iron …

Crossett Lynching of 1904

An unknown African-American man was lynched near Crossett (Ashley County) on September 4, 1904, for having allegedly “attempted to assault two white girls.” The names of none of the parties are mentioned in newspaper reports. The reported assault occurred on the night of Saturday, September 3, at a place called the Bonham plantation, some thirty-five miles from Crossett. The following day, according to the Arkansas Gazette, “a posse of farmers” captured the suspect, apparently within Crossett, and took him to “a place about three miles from Crossett and strung him to a tree, after which the mob vented its rage by riddling the body with bullets.” Fifteen minutes after the murder, the mob dispersed. In reference to the mob, the …

Crownover (Lynching of)

The July 27, 1897, issue of the Arkansas Gazette carried the news of the recent murder of a white man named Crownover by a “posse of citizens” for the alleged crime of horse theft. In mid-July 1897, farmers Will Jackson and Will Riley of Saline County lost “two fine horses,” and suspicion immediately fell upon Crownover and another man named only as Beach, whom the Gazette described thusly: “They were strangers and had been loitering about the neighborhood, out of employment, for ten days.” Three days following the theft and the subsequent disappearance of Crownover and Beach, a “posse of citizens” of unknown number “organized and started pursuit.” Near the Scott–Yell county line, they found the two men asleep, the …

Crump, George J.

George J. Crump was an officer in the Civil War and the Brooks-Baxter War. He was a prominent attorney in Carrollton (Carroll County) and Harrison (Boone County). He served in the Arkansas House of Representatives, as county clerk of Carroll County, and as a Democratic delegate for the Third Congressional District to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention of 1917–1918. He was also a U.S. marshal for the Western District of Arkansas. George James Crump was born in Harlan, Kentucky, on June 13, 1841, to John Gray Crump and Elizabeth Gaither Watkins Crump. In 1854, he moved with his family to Carroll County, where his father farmed and practiced law in Carrollton. Crump attended private schools there. Crump fought for the Confederacy …

Crumpton, Boudinot (Execution of)

aka: Bood Burris (Execution of)
Boudinot Crumpton, twenty-two, sometimes known as Bood Burris, was hanged on June 30, 1891, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) for a murder he denied having committed. Boudinot Crumpton, who was a Cherokee man, and his companion Samson Monroe Morgan, a twenty-six-year-old native of Georgia, set out from Morgan’s residence in the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) on the morning of Sunday, November 3, 1889, riding a pair of Morgan’s horses. Crumpton returned later that day riding one horse and leading the other and “having in possession Morgan’s overcoat, gun and pistol.” Crumpton explained that they had encountered a man in a buggy who had offered Morgan a job herding horses in the Pawnee Nation, and so he had returned alone. Around …

Cude v. State

Archie Cude, a farmer who was born and reared around Houston, Texas, moved his young family in 1948 to the remote community of Board Camp nine miles east of Mena in the mountains of Polk County. Years later, he refused to put his children in school due to his claims that God opposed the smallpox vaccinations children had to take before enrolling. Cude’s long-running legal fight over his unvaccinated children, which embroiled Governor Orval E. Faubus, finally produced an order from the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1964 that his religious beliefs did not exempt him from obeying laws requiring the education of his children and also helping to protect children and teachers from the dreaded smallpox virus. Cude v. State, …

Culbreath, Lee Edward (Murder of)

Lee Edward Culbreath, a fourteen-year-old Black youth, was shot to death on December 5, 1965, in Portland (Ashley County) by a white man who, during his trial, was accused of belonging to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Lee Edward Culbreath and another boy were riding a bicycle together when Culbreath got off at a café and his friend continued toward another store to look at a Christmas tree. As Culbreath stood outside the café, three shots were fired from a black truck, with one striking and fatally wounding him. An Arkansas state trooper stopped the truck shortly afterward and arrested Ed Vail of Hamburg (Ashley County), a forty-year-old mechanic, and his brother James, a barber. Both brothers were charged with …

Cummins Prison Break of 1940

The Cummins prison break on the morning of September 2, 1940, which was Labor Day, involved the escape of thirty-six white men from Cummins Unit (often referred to as Cummins prison farm), the largest of the three prison units in the state. The escape is the largest in Arkansas history. All the men were ultimately captured or killed by authorities. Four of the escapees were executed in Louisiana in 1941 for the murder of a deputy the day after they broke out of Cummins; these men claimed they escaped because of the horrible conditions at the prison farm. Despite an investigation into conditions at the prison, no serious attempt at reform was initiated. The 1940 escape was the first major …

Cummins Prison Strike of 1974

The Cummins prison strike of 1974 was a non-violent incident involving 200 inmates who stopped work for twenty minutes on Monday, October 14, to protest conditions at the Cummins prison farm. At 1,350 inmates at that time, Cummins—located five miles southeast of Grady (Lincoln County)—was the largest of the Arkansas prison farms. The strike was swiftly stopped by Cummins superintendent Art Lockhart, who used riot guards to ensure that prisoners returned quickly to work without any violence. By Tuesday, Cummins had returned to normal. The strike revealed that inmates could peacefully protest at that time without fear of severe physical punishment. It also showed that unrest still existed, and the prisons had more work to do before they achieved compliance …

Cummins Unit

aka: Cummins Prison Farm
Cummins Unit is a 16,600-acre maximum-security prison located five miles southeast of Grady (Lincoln County). Cummins is run by the Arkansas Department of Correction and houses male and female inmates. It is also the location of Arkansas’s facilities for administering the death penalty. Cummins is the oldest and largest of the state’s working “prison farms,” which use inmate labor to grow crops and produce livestock. In 1897, the Arkansas General Assembly established that the state could purchase “any lands, buildings, machinery, livestock and tools necessary for the use, preservation, and operation of the penitentiary.” In 1902, the state bought 10,000 acres of property—consisting of land from the Cummins and Maple Grove plantations—to create the Cummins prison farm. Cummins would later gain …