Document Type


Publication Date

January 2000


Courts of Equity, Criminal Law, courts of law, Injunctive Relief, Equitable Relief, gambling, prosecutor, discretion, unlawful, bad faith


The relationship between courts of equity and the criminal law in Arkansas is laid out by two black letter rules: (1) equity will not enjoin a criminal prosecution, and (2) equity will not enjoin a crime. The basis of both rules is that equity should not intervene in criminal courts, unless no other remedy in the court of law exists. However, the exceptions allowed for each rule are different. Exceptions to the first rule include: cases involving property rights, multiple prosecutions, unlawful exactions, or prosecutions made in bad faith. The second rule allows for an exception when a criminal punishment provides an inadequate remedy. In case-by-case applications of these rules, the requirements of what justifies an exception are constantly being questioned. While Arkansas has persisted in keeping the courts of law and equity separate, Arkansas voters may have the chance to merge both courts in November 2000. However, revising the Arkansas Constitution will not be enough; proper examinations of equitable intervention into criminal law, as well as the traditional amounts discretion associated with all forms of equitable relief, will be required.

Included in

Criminal Law Commons