Hani Hashem, a Monticello attorney serving as a special associate justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court, disagreed with the majority opinion in an interlocutory appeal in a Pulaski County Circuit Court case involving a man whose cell phone was seized in an investigation of child pornography. The man, charged with 30 counts of possessing or viewing images depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, sought to have the evidence suppressed.

Hashem was appointed in February by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to serve as a special associate justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas for the case. Hashem replaced Associate Justice Rhonda K. Wood.

In an interlocutory appeal (an appeal on a pending case), the State contended that the Pulaski County Circuit Court erred when it found (following an evidence suppression hearing) that there was no connection between the man’s cell phone and the criminal activity alleged in a search warrant and in concluding that the cell phone was beyond the scope of the search warrant.

The Arkansas Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, according to a May 23 majority opinion, written by Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Kemp.

Hashem, however, disagreed with the majority and would have accepted the appeal. In his dissenting opinion, Hashem said he believes it is an “issue of first impression and the precedent set by reaching the merits would be important to the correct and uniform administration of the criminal laws. The issue is narrow in scope – does a search warrant for property exclude evidence voluntarily produced by persons on that property during the execution of the warrant? That issue requires no in-depth factual analysis or weighing of the credibility of witnesses; the relevant facts are undisputed. By emphasizing irrelevant factual disputes, the majority unnecessarily complicates the issues before us. I would accept the State’s interlocutory appeal and reach the merits.”
Read the majority opinion.
Read Hashem’s dissenting opinion.

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