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lawmakers alike for a long period of time. Te Arkansas Supreme Court first attempted to define infamous crime in 2005 in State v. Oldner, a case against the mayor of Dumas for removal of of- fice. Te state petitioned for removal after the mayor had been convicted of witness tampering, abuse of office and theft. Te court held that the framers intended infamous crimes to include those that involve elements of deceit and dishonesty and that would “impugn the integrity of the office.” Addressing the issue again in 2010 in Edwards v. Campbell, the court elaborated on the standard, indicating that whether the underlying elements involve deceit or dishonesty is what is important, not how severe the commission of the crime was or the punishment imposed. Tis proved especially true in a case from 2013, State v.Cassell, in which a sheriff was removed from office for a misdemeanor theft conviction from 1979, after taking chickens from an overturned Tyson truck. Te court that


it would not consider the cir- cumstances of the crime. Because the sheriff had been convicted of the infamous crime of theft, regardless of when it occurred or the fact that the chickens


have been discarded anyway, he was disqualified from serving in office. Some legislators believed that infamous crime could be de- fined still more specifically. In 2013 the legislature passed a bill to do just that; however, because the Arkansas Supreme Court cases concerning infamous crime were interpreting the Arkansas Con- stitution, the only way to effectively change the definition was through a constitutional amendment. State Rep. David Brans- cum, the sponsor for both Act 724 of 2013 and the infamous crime portion of the Issue 1 referendum, said his efforts were spurred by the recent Arkansas Supreme Court cases. Branscum wanted to prevent public officials from being subject to unneces- sary litigation based on someone’s personal vendetta because, as he stated, without a precise definition of infamous crime, the phrase could be interpreted however one wanted to interpret it. Tus, Branscum’s proposed definition was intended to leave little to no room for subjective interpretation. Now the new subsection (b) of Article 5 § 9 reads: “‘infamous crime’ means: (1) a felony offense; (2) abuse of office as defined under Arkansas law; (3) tampering as defined under Arkansas law; or (4) a misdemeanor offense in which the finder of fact was required to find, or the defendant to admit, an act of deceit, fraud, or false statement, including without limitation a misdemeanor offense related to the election process.”


rticle 7 § 53 will have the effect of limiting the capacities in which county elected officials can serve as members

or officers of other boards and organizations. ... Tis portion of Issue 1 will likely be the most contentious moving forward.

Civil Office

One final provision of Issue 1 amends Article 7 of the Arkansas Constitution by adding § 53, which states: “a person elected or appointed to any ... county offices shall not, during the term for which he or she has been elected, be appointed or elected to any civil office in this state.” Article 7 § 53 will have the effect of lim- iting the capacities in which county elected officials can serve as members or officers of other boards and organizations. Tis pro- vision is almost identical to Article 5 § 10, which applies to mem- bers of the Arkansas General Assembly: “No Senator or Represen- tative shall, during the term for which he shall have been elected, be appointed or elected to any civil office under this State.” How- ever, both the drafters of the older provision that applies to leg- islators and the new amendment that applies to county officials declined to define the term “civil office,” ultimately leaving the interpretation


to the courts. Tis portion of Issue 1 will


likely be the contentious

moving forward. To date, the Arkansas Supreme Court has said that “a civil of- fice is a grant and possession of the sovereign power,” and sovereign pow- er is the authority of

the state to act. Te court has further emphasized that Article 5 § 10:

[was] designed and intended as a protection against the possible conflicts in interests a member of the legislature might have as an elected official with the power, influence, and authority to create positions and offices, and the inter- est he might have as a private citizen who would desire to hold such civil office by appointment or election.

Moreover, the Arkansas Supreme Court and the Arkansas At- torney General have repeatedly stated that “[i]n many of the States the Constitution merely prohibits legislative representatives, dur- ing their terms, from holding an office created during that term, or where the salary of the office is increased during the term. But the language of our Constitution is broader.” Te implication is that Article 5 § 10 does not simply prohibit legislators from tak- ing a position that they themselves created or enhanced, the con- stitutional provision is meant to prevent legislators from using their position in office for self-aggrandizement. In defining what constitutes a civil office, the court has declined to lay down any

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