FROM THE MISSISSIPPI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 40BCV-14-17]
HONORABLE JOHN FOGLEMAN, SPECIAL JUDGE
Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, by: Jason E. Owens, for
Michael Mosley, for appellee.
COURTNEY HUDSON GOODSON, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
Mississippi County, Arkansas ("the County"),
appeals from the Mississippi County Circuit Court's order
granting appellee City of Blytheville's ("the
City") motion for summary judgment. For reversal, the
County argues that the circuit court erred (1) by defining
the phrase "prisoners of municipalities, " for whom
the City would owe a daily fee for housing in the County jail
pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section 12-41-506 (Repl.
2016), as only those detainees charged with violation of a
city ordinance; and (2) by applying an offset in the amount
of taxes paid under an exclusive jail tax by residents of the
City to the calculation of "reasonable expenses"
under section 12-41-506. We reverse and remand.
statute at issue in this appeal, Arkansas Code Annotated
section 12-41-506, which is entitled "Municipal
Prisoners-Expenses, " provides as follows:
(a)(1) In the absence of an agreement on jail costs between a
county and all municipalities having law enforcement agencies
in the county, the quorum court in a county in this state may
by ordinance establish a daily fee to be charged
municipalities for keeping prisoners of municipalities in the
(2) The fee shall be based upon the reasonable expenses which
the county incurs in keeping such prisoners in the county
(b)(1) Municipalities whose prisoners are maintained in the
county jail shall be responsible for paying the fee
established by the quorum court in the county.
(2) When a person is sentenced to a county jail for violating
a municipal ordinance, the municipality shall be responsible
for paying the fee established by an agreement or ordinance
of the quorum court in the county.
(3) Municipalities may appropriate funds to assist the county
in the maintenance and operation of the county jail.
(c)(1) Each county sheriff shall bill each municipality
monthly for the cost of keeping prisoners in the county jail.
(2) Each county sheriff shall remit to the county treasurer
monthly the fees collected under this section, and such fees
shall be credited to the county general fund.
(d) Counties shall give priority to in-county municipalities
over contracts for out-of-county prisoners.
overview of the relevant history between the parties
regarding the payment of jail fees for municipal prisoners
pursuant to this statute is necessary to understand the
issues presented. In 2001, the Mississippi County Quorum
Court enacted ordinance number 0-2001-18, "An Ordinance
Establishing Fees for Municipal Prisoners Held in the
Mississippi County Jail and For Other Purposes." The
Ordinance became effective on February 1, 2002, and stated
that, in the absence of a written agreement with a
municipality for an appropriation of funds to assist the
County in the maintenance and operation of the County jail, a
fee of $35 per prisoner shall be charged for any prisoner
arrested by any state or municipal law enforcement officer
within the geographic boundaries of any city or incorporated
town in the County for a violation of any state law or
municipal ordinance and presented to the County jail for
incarceration. In 2008, Ordinance number 0-2008-13 was
passed, increasing the daily fee for municipal prisoners to
$55 per day, effective January 1, 2009.
to 2003, the City of Blytheville operated its own municipal
jail. After that jail closed in January 2003, the County
brought a declaratory-judgment action against the cities of
Blytheville, Dell, Gosnell, and Manila seeking to have the
circuit court define the term, "prisoners of
municipalities, " as found in section 12-41-506(a)(1).
An order was entered in December 2003 granting the
County's petition to define the term to "include
persons housed in the county jail by virtue of a pending
misdemeanor charge that is pending on a city docket or
municipal docket of any court, whereby the fine revenue that
would be owed by the prisoner, if convicted, would be paid to
the city or the municipality and not to the county." The
City of Blytheville dismissed its appeal of this order
following the entry of a consent order in a collection action
filed by the County against the City for unpaid jail fees.
This consent order, which was filed on August 26, 2004,
indicated that the parties had agreed to a daily rate of $15
per day for each municipal prisoner, as defined in the 2003
declaratory-judgment action, for a total of $44, 805 for the
months of November 2003 through June 2004. The order further
stated that the parties would renegotiate future daily jail
fees in September of each year following the expiration of
the current agreement on December 31, 2005.
written agreements between the City and the County raised the
daily rate for the City's municipal prisoners to $20 for
2006; $30 for 2007-2008; $40 for 2009- 2010; $45 for 2011;
and $50 for 2012. There were no further ...