Stacey Pectol, the clerk of the Arkansas Supreme Court, reconsidered my request yesterday that her office not redact hourly rates of lawyers employed by justices to represent them in Judge Wendell Griffen’s civil rights suit over removal from all death penalty cases. She has provided those figures.

As indicated by the totals reported earlier, the rates generally are cheaper the closer the lawyers live to the Justice Building.

Advertisement

I’ll give you the full memo on billing, but in short:

The Supreme Court has incurred $160,000 in legal bills so far, only about $25,000 paid. It has asked for spending authority from the legislature to pay $135,000 outstanding and for authority to spend up to $500,000 over two years for future bills, if necessary.

Advertisement

* Cooper and Kirk, a Washington law firm, represents Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson. Its bills so far: $86.610. 10 lawyers from the firm have worked varying amounts on the case at rates from $550 to $975 an hour by David Thompson (who dropped his rate to $550 in the second round of billing.)

* Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shreck, a Denver law firm, represents Justice Rhonda Wood: Its bill so far: $39,862.26. The three lawyers billed from $330 to $595 an hour.

Advertisement

* The Barber Law Firm of Little Rock represents Justice Josephine Hart. Its bills: $1,150, at $250 an hour. Hart also was represented by Murphy, Thompson, Skinner, Arnold and Castleberry of Batesville, which charged $19,176.65 at rates of $250 an hour. That put her total charges at $20,326.65

* The Center for Constitutional Litigation, based in New York, represents the court as a whole and Justices Kemp, Robin Wynne and Shawn Womack. Its billings so far: $11,798.21. It’s billed at a rate of $250 an hour.

* Tim Dudley, a Little Rock lawyer, represents Justice Karen Baker. His billing so far: $2,140 at $350 an hour.

The full specifics that were released. Several pages of information are redacted in the name of attorney-client privilege. By Arkansas Supreme Court precedent in at least two cases, attorney-client privilege is not an FOI exemption for public records. There is, however, protection for Supreme Court “working papers” and correspondence in the law.

Advertisement