The Arkansas Supreme Court has overruled a decision by a lower court to remove Lawrence County District Judge Adam Weeks from the ballot stemming from a case in which Weeks was charged with a misdemeanor for fictitious tags more than 25 years ago.
Weeks, who is seeking the Third Judicial District circuit judge seat, will be on the ballot for the March 3 election. His opponents are Joe Grider of Pocahontas, and Timothy Watson Sr. of Newport. The district covers Randolph, Lawrence, and Jackson counties.
The decision was a relief for Weeks.
“I am elated, speechless, relieved and overjoyed by the news that I am back on the ballot to be your next circuit judge,” Weeks told his supporters through social media.
Randolph County resident Judy Miller filed the complaint in December. She claimed Weeks had written several hot checks and had been charged with a misdemeanor for not having tags on his car when he was in college during the 1990s. The hot check violations were dismissed, but a lower court ruled in January that although it was “absurd” that someone should be removed from running for office over such a minor offense. It still technically qualified under the state constitutional provision that prohibits candidates seeking certain offices that committed crimes involving deceit, fraud, or making a false statement.
Weeks’ made a counter argument that he wasn’t trying to be dishonest when he was charged with the misdemeanor. He told the court he borrowed the car from his parents’ used car lot. The ASC decided Weeks was not in violation of the state constitution.
“While deceit, fraud, or false statement certainly can be present in a violation of section 27-14-306, as shown by Judge Thompson’s conduct in his judicial-discipline case, we are tasked with deciding whether the finder of fact is required under the statute to find deceit, fraud, or false statement. We conclude that the answer is no. We are guided by the plain and unambiguous language of the statute itself. No words such as deceit, fraud, or false statement—or anything remotely similar—are present,” the ruling stated.