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Pulaski County justice of the peace ruled ineligible for ballot, will be removed from office

by Teresa Moss | May 11, 2022 at 7:12 a.m.
Supporters of a candidate cavort across the street from a polling place in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, March 3, 2020. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/John Sykes Jr.)

A Pulaski County justice of the peace will be removed from office and any votes cast for her in the upcoming November election will not be counted because of two hot check misdemeanors from 1997 and 2003.

Kristina Gulley has served on the Pulaski County Quorum Court since 2021, and her term was set to expire in December.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Morgan E. Welch signed an order Tuesday that Gulley was ineligible to hold the office because the state Supreme Court has previously ruled that hot check convictions are considered "infamous crimes," under the Arkansas Constitution.

Infamous crimes are defined in the Constitution as embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery, felony offenses, abuse of office, tampering and any misdemeanor offense in which the finder of fact was required to find, or the defendant to admit to, an act of deceit, fraud or false statement.

A complaint filed May 2 by Henry and Detrice Robinson outlines numerous Arkansas Supreme Court decisions where hot checks have been considered "infamous crimes.," including a 2020 decision by the court in Wyatt v. Carr and the Pulaski County Board of Election Commissioners.

Court records show Gulley, then 28, pled guilty to a hot check made to Pizza Hut in 1997.

She was found guilty of her second hot check offense in 2003 at age 33. The check was written to Jade China.

Gulley declined to comment Tuesday, but she did say she will be holding an "emergency all call" meeting for the constituents of District 10 on Monday at First Baptist Church, 2015 Main Street in North Little Rock, at 6 p.m.

Details about the case will be discussed during the meeting by Gulley and her attorney, she said.

Barry Jefferson, also a Democrat, is the only candidate running against Gulley. He previously lost the position to her in the 2020 election.

He didn't have a comment regarding Tuesday's court order when reached Tuesday by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

"I want to continue to focus on my election and continue to work there," Jefferson said.

Jefferson and Gulley had a heated campaign in 2020.

A Pulaski County sheriff's office report was filed about Gulley by Jefferson in February 2020, claiming Gulley was harassing him -- something Gulley disputed.

County Judge Barry Hyde said the Quorum Court will vote on vacating Gulley's seat at the end of the month, per advice of the county attorney.

He said the governor will than appoint someone to fill the position until the end of the term in December.


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