Pulaski County Justice of the Peace Responds to Claims She’s Ineligible
Pulaski County Justice of the Peace Kristina Gulley fired back at a community meeting on Monday after being ruled ineligible to hold public office due to two hot-control misdemeanors from 1997 and 2003.
At First Baptist Church in North Little Rock, Gulley, a Democrat who represents District 10 on the Pulaski County Quorum Court, told voters the campaign to have her declared ineligible was a “vindictive act” on the part of voters. supporters of his opponent, Barry Jefferson, also a Democrat.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand there’s something driving this – it’s politics,” Gulley said.
On May 10, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Morgan E. Welch signed an order declaring Gulley ineligible for public office because of his prior misdemeanor hot-control convictions. In Arkansas, hot-control misdemeanors are considered an “infamous crime” according to an earlier Arkansas Supreme Court ruling.
In Arkansas, under the state constitution, a person can be considered ineligible to hold public office if they have been convicted of an “infamous crime.” Some infamous crimes include bribery, embezzlement of public funds, forgery, abuse of power, any crime or a case where an accused admitted an act of deceit, fraud or misrepresentation.
Henry and Detrice Robinson filed a lawsuit against Gulley, alleging that her prior misdemeanor convictions made her ineligible for public office in Arkansas. Gulley’s name will remain on the ballot, but election officials won’t certify her as the winner if she gets the most votes. Welch also ordered the Pulaski County Board of Election Commissioners not to count any votes cast for Gulley.
Despite the circuit court judge’s ruling declaring her ineligible for public office, Gulley encouraged her supporters to continue voting for her.
During Monday’s meeting, Gulley alleged that Henry and Detrice Robinson had personal ties to Jefferson, his only primary opponent.
In a statement to the Democrat-Gazette, Jefferson denied any connection to the petition made by Henry and Detrice Robinson.
“I do not have [led] no petitions, nor have I participated in them,” Jefferson said. “This is my third political campaign and with each one, my team and I are committed to campaigning respectfully and positively.”
Gulley has not previously disclosed her misdemeanor convictions because she was under no obligation to do so, she said, saying applicants must sign a form stating whether they have been convicted of a crime.
“I’m not a criminal, I’m not a criminal,” Gulley said. “Yes, I’ve made mistakes in the past – we all have them.”
Gulley, then 28, pleaded guilty to a hot check offense at Pizza Hut in 1997. In 2003, Gulley was convicted of a second hot check offense at Jade China.
Gulley said she hasn’t decided to appeal, saying the cost of attorney’s fees may be too high and she doesn’t know if she could win in court.
“Calls are expensive, OK, it’s expensive,” Gulley said. “If I don’t appeal, I can always go back. You know, clean it all up and run again.”
Gulley has served on the quorum court since 2021. Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde said the quorum court will hold a vote on whether to vacate Gulley’s seat at a meeting later this month .