Terry appointed to Sebastian County Circuit Judge post, Fort Smith to hire new prosecutor

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 1,639 views 

Fort Smith City Prosecutor Sam Terry has been appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to fill the vacated term of Sebastian County Circuit Judge Claire Borengasser who retired June 1. Terry’s appointed term begins Monday (July 18) and ends Dec. 31, 2024.

“Sam Terry is an energetic attorney who always steps up when there’s a need for his skills,” Gov. Hutchinson said in a statement. “I saw firsthand Sam’s integrity, wisdom, impartiality, and temperament when I appointed him as a district judge and as a Special Associate Justice for the Supreme Court of Arkansas. He will bring that same work ethic to this job, and I am grateful he was willing to step up again.”

Terry will not be eligible to run for re-election to the post. Amendment 29 to the Arkansas Constitution prohibits those appointed to elected positions to succeed themselves.

“I am very appreciative of Governor Hutchinson’s expression of confidence in me again to serve as a district court judge. I am grateful for this opportunity, and I am eager to get to work for the citizens of Sebastian County,” Terry said in the statement.

Terry earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas. Prior to his appointment he was the prosecuting attorney for the city of Fort Smith, and of counsel with the Fort Smith-based firm of Smith, Cohen & Horan. He is a member and past president of the Sebastian County Bar Association, a member of the Arkansas Bar Association, and a former member of the Arkansas Bar Association’s House of Delegates. He is a member of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Forty under Forty Class of 2018.

Sam Terry

Terry also is a member of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee, has served as chairman of the Sebastian County Election Commission, president of the HOPE Humane Society, and president of the Children’s Emergency Shelter Foundation. He is treasurer of the Fort Smith Museum of History.

The city will work with Ashleigh and William Buckley with the Buckley Law Firm to manage city prosecutor work until a prosecutor can be hired, according to City Administrator Carl Geffken.

“To fill the role permanently, the City has posted the City Prosecutor vacancy notices and we have received resumes from several, well-qualified local attorneys. I will work with the City’s HR department to review the resumes and begin the interview process. I plan on working with the Fort Smith Police department and the District Court Judges and staff to hire the best candidate to be our next City Prosecutor. The plan is to fill the position within two months,” Geffken noted in a statement to Talk Business & Politics.