Arkansas Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Accusing Board of Corrections of Violating FOIA, Escalating Dispute with Governor

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A lawsuit filed by Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin against the Board of Corrections has been dismissed by a judge. The lawsuit alleged that the board violated the state Freedom of Information Act, further escalating the ongoing dispute between Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the panel over the management of the prison system.

Griffin has announced his plans to appeal the ruling made by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox. The lawsuit was related to the board’s hiring of an outside attorney in the midst of the disagreement.

The conflict between the panel and Governor Sanders centers around her proposal to increase the number of temporary prison beds, despite objections raised by board members. Just a few weeks ago, the panel voted to dismiss Corrections Secretary Joe Profiri from his role, following his suspension from the position.

Profiri had been appointed to the job by Governor Sanders and his appointment was confirmed by the board. However, he was subsequently removed from his position after another judge blocked a law passed by the governor last year, which deprived the board of its authority to hire and fire the corrections secretary.

An attorney representing the panel expressed satisfaction with the judge’s decision, asserting that the board did not violate the Freedom of Information Act and calling for a direct meeting between the attorney general and the board to address their differences once and for all.

Judge Fox’s ruling stated that the attorney general’s office had allegedly failed to comply with a previous order to appoint special counsel for the board or to approve its outside attorney as special counsel.

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