Entries - Entry Category: Law - Starting with C

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 …

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 …