Laws and Court Cases

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Hammond Packing Company v. Arkansas

The U.S. Supreme Court heard only one case from Arkansas among several important antitrust lawsuits during the Progressive Era, a time when many states were waging crusades against big-business monopolies: Hammond Packing Company v. Arkansas, 212 U.S. 322 (1909). The state won, and the Court’s decision provided a remedy for corporate obstruction in the discovery phase of litigation and established an important precedent that became a cornerstone of Rule 37 in Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Using a 1905 Arkansas antitrust law, Robert L. Rogers, who was the state’s attorney general, and Lewis Rhoton, prosecuting attorney in Pulaski County, waged numerous antitrust lawsuits. Several were aimed at the so-called “Beef Trust,” seeking penalties ranging from $30,000 to $7 million, as …

Hodges v. United States

  Hodges v. United States, 203 U.S. 1 (1906) is a U.S. Supreme Court case resulting in the overturning of the convictions of three white men convicted in 1903 of conspiring to prevent a group of African-American workers from holding jobs in a lumber mill in Whitehall (Poinsett County), a small town in northeastern Arkansas. It was overruled by another Supreme Court decision in 1968, but the decision in Hodges represented an important step in the evolving judicial interpretation of the constitutional amendments passed in the aftermath of the Civil War. The Court’s decision imposed a strict limitation on the application of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime), as …

Holt v. Sarver

In the landmark Arkansas case Holt v. Sarver, inmates of the racially segregated Cummins Farm and Tucker Intermediate Reformatory units of the Arkansas prison system brought suit against the commissioner of corrections, Robert Sarver, and the Arkansas Board of Corrections, challenging their conditions of confinement. The case was heard in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division, before Chief Judge J. Smith Henley. Holt v. Sarver was a turning point in the history of court intervention in the management of American prisons. The decision marked the end of the “hands-off” era of the federal judiciary toward prisoners and the beginning of an era of prisoners’ rights. Holt v. Sarver, which inspired the 1980 film …