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32 Ark. L. Rev. 253 (1978-1979)
Impeachment, Address, and the Removal of Judges in Arkansas: An Historical Perspective

handle is hein.journals/arklr32 and id is 269 raw text is: Impeachment, Address, and the
Removal of Judges
in Arkansas: An Historical Perspective
Stephen A. Smith*
On May 18, 1977, the Joint Interim Committee on Legislative
Affairs of the Arkansas General Assembly adopted Interim Resolu-
tion 77-1, providing for an investigation and determination of
whether good cause existed to remove from office by the process of
joint address Judge Means of the Seventh Judicial District. News
reports called the investigation unprecedented1 and noted that the
procedure of, joint address, provided for in Article XV, § 3 of the
Arkansas Constitution of 1874, had never been used in the docu-
ment's 103-year history.2 Counsel for the judge appeared before the
committee and challenged the authority of the committee and the
constitutionality of the joint address provision, contending that a
judge could be removed from office only by impeachment proceed-
ings or a court of law.3 The committee, on the advice of the Attorney
General,4 determined that it was on firm constitutional ground and
began the first legislative investigation of a judge under our present
Arkansas Constitution.
The investigation and removal of judges, however, was not un-
known in Arkansas history. In a forty-two year period between 1832
and 1874, fifteen judges were either investigated or removed from
office .under the authority of four different statutory and constitu-
tional provisions. Since current interest in judicial tenure and remov-
al has been generated by the Means incident, this article will examine
the various methods which have been used and review the specific
circumstances surrounding the investigation and removal of judges in
Arkansas. It should be recognized, however, that pending federal
legislation5 and the upcoming Arkansas Constitutional Convention
may alter the legal picture in the future.
0  Mr. Smith is Administrative Assistant in the Office of the Arkansas Attorney
1. Lancaster, Legislative Committee votes to investigate Means' conduct, Arkansas
Democrat, May 19, 1977, at IA; Ferguson, Panel votes for Means hearings, Benton
Courier, May 19, 1977, at 1.
2. Dumas, The Means Investigation Becomes a Prickly Matter, Arkansas Gazette,
August 28, 1977, at 3E.
3. Hearings on Interim Resolution 77-1, in the Matter of Investigation of the Judge of the
Seventh Judicial District, Before the Joint Interim Committee on Legislative Affairs, 71 st Gen.
Ass. of Ark., 6 (June 15, 1977). See also Lancaster, Judicial Independence Ignored,
Arkansas Democrat, Sept. 4, 1977, at IA.
4.  Id. at 11-12.
5. S.1423 is currently pending before the 95th Congress. For a discussion see
Nunn, The Judicial Tenure Act, 13 TRIAL 26 (November, 1977).

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