Ark. court: sheriff with conviction can't serve

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas' highest court says a county sheriff with a 1979 misdemeanor conviction for possessing stolen hens can't stay in office.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Searcy County Sheriff Kenny Cassell's conviction for knowingly possessing stolen Cornish hens prohibits him from holding office under the state constitution. Justices reversed a lower court's dismissal last year of the state's attempt to remove Cassell from office.

Cassell was elected sheriff in 2010. As a deputy sheriff in 1979, he pleaded guilty to embezzlement or theft of interstate or foreign shipments by carrier for possessing the hens that belonged to Tyson Foods Inc. The hens were worth less than $100.

Justices ruled that the conviction qualified as an "infamous crime" under the state constitution. Cassell also serves as Searcy County collector.

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