Source:Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, Ark.)
A five-part series preceded by an initial investigation into dysfunction in the criminal justice system in an Arkansas Delta county known for corruption and poverty. The year-long investigation uncovered errors and archaic practices in the handling of fugitive warrants and speedy trials that allowed felony suspects to remain free for years without fear of answering to the charges against them. As a result, prosecutors had to drop hundreds of cases for failure to take them to trial in a timely manner. Since publication, the Phillips County sheriff has made changes in how his office handles failure-to-appear warrants, and court officials have reduced case backlogs. Nevertheless, problems persist.