New judge in Drew County among governor’s appointments

LITTLE ROCK — A Southeast Arkansas judge’s appointment was among judicial selections announced by the governor’s office Wednesday.

Monticello attorney P. Luevonda Ross was appointed to the Drew County District Court by Gov. Mike Beebe. The gubernatorial appointment will expire Dec. 31, 2014.

Ross will replace former District Judge Ken Harper, who resigned in September. The Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on Oct. 25 dropped formal complaints against Harper, who was accused of abusing alcohol and prescription drugs, after he agreed to leave the bench and never again seek a judgeship.

Meanwhile, Beebe made several other appointments, including naming state Court of Appeals Judge Cliff Hoofman to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Hoofman was appointed to the state Highway Commission in 2007. In January 2011 he resigned that seat and was appointed by Beebe to fill the appeals court post left vacant when Judge Karen Baker was elected to the state Supreme Court. His term on the appeals court was to conclude at the end of December.

Hoofman will replace Justice Robert Brown. He will be sworn in on Jan. 1 and his term will expire Dec. 21, 2014.

Other appointments include:

• Former state Sen. Bill Walmsley of Batesville was chosen for the state Court of Appeals. Walmsley replaces Judge Jo Hart on the court of appeals and his term expires Dec. 31. 2014. Hart was elected to an eight-year term on the Arkansas Supreme Court earlier this year.

• Doug Martin of Fayetteville was named to the 4th Judicial District, 2nd Division, replacing Judge Kim Smith. The appointment expires Dec. 31, 2014.

• H.G. Foster of Conway was appointed to the 20th Judicial District, 1st Division, replacing Judge David Reynolds. The appointment expires Dec. 31, 2014.

• Will Feland of Cabot was appointed to the 23rd Judicial District, 2nd Division, replacing Judge Phillip Whiteaker. The appointment expires Dec. 31, 2014.

• Jason Duffy of Yellville was named to the Marion County District Court. The appointment, which fills a vacancy, expires Dec. 31, 2014.

All the judicial appointments are effective Jan. 1, except for Ross, who is to be sworn in immediately.