What you need to know about the Arkansas Supreme Court, Arkansas Court of Appeals

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court gavel

Here are the things you need to know about the Arkansas Supreme Court and the Arkansas Court of Appeals:

All judicial races in Arkansas are non-partisan.

Arkansas Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals judges serve staggered eight-year terms.

The Arkansas Supreme Court is the highest court in the state. It has seven justices, who are elected in statewide races. The chief justice and Postion 2 seats are up for election this year.

The Court of Appeals has seven electoral districts and 12 judges. All of the districts have two judges, except for Districts 5 and 7, which each have one judge.

The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals is determined by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

There is no right of appeal from the Arkansas Court of Appeals to the Arkansas Supreme Court; however, opinions decided by the Arkansas Court of Appeals may be reviewed by the Arkansas Supreme Court under certain conditions.

Most cases appealed from the circuit courts are to be filed in the Court of Appeals except for certain cases that should be filed in the Supreme Court, such as appeals that concern elections or election procedures, the interpretation of the state Constitution, or appeals in which the death penalty or life imprisonment has been imposed.

An appeal is initially heard by a three-judge panel (or “division”) of the Court of Appeals. If their decision isn’t unanimous, a six-judge panel then hears the case. If their decision is split 3-3, the case then goes to a nine-judge panel, which is the final stage of review possible at the Court of Appeals.

This year, Court of Appeals District 6, Position 1 (Perry, Pulaski, and Saline) and District 7 (Arkansas, Chicot, Desha, Jefferson, Lee, Phillips, and St. Francis) are up for election. Judge Waymond M. Brown is running unopposed for the District 7 seat. 

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