A special judge has been appointed to hear the lawsuit filed by Jefferson County Circuit Clerk Lafayette Woods Sr. against County Judge Gerald Robinson.
Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp on Monday appointed Judge David Laser, a retired circuit judge from Jonesboro, to handle all proceedings in the case.
The appointment came at the request of Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis, who was originally assigned the case and who recused to avoid an appearance of impropriety. In her letter to Judge Kemp, Dennis said she was authorized to say that fellow circuit judges Alex Guynn, Bill Benton, Leon Jamison and Earnest Brown, along with district judges John Kearney and Kim Bridgforth, were also recusing.
Judge Phillip Green of Lincoln County requested recusal as well.
Woods alleges in his lawsuit that Robinson eliminated three positions in the Circuit Clerk’s Office as a part of his reduction in force program while telling the Quorum Court that he was only going to eliminate one position.
He also contends that the reductions in his budget as a result of Robinson’s actions leaves him with insufficient funding to adequately perform the duties required of him by state law and the Arkansas Constitution.
Robinson said he has turned the lawsuit over to County Attorney Terry Wynne, but otherwise has had no comment.
This will not be the first time that Laser has been assigned to hear a case in Jefferson County. He previously served as a special judge in lawsuits filed against Jefferson County Board of Elections Commissioner Stuart Soffer by former Jefferson County Clerk and current Justice of the Peace Patricia Royal Johnson, Little Rock attorney Lawrence Walker and others.