Batesville's Rutledge New State Drug Czar

July 1, 2003 - Posted at: 9:17 a.m. CDT

BATESVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas has a new leader in anti-drug efforts.

Governor Huckabee appointed 60-year-old former judge and prosecutor Keith Rutledge of Batesville his drug policy director yesterday. Rutledge replaces Bill Hardin, who resigned in November after being arrested for drunken driving.

Rutledge says he will help coordinate anti-drug abuse policies, work on drug-related forfeitures and help local task forces.

Rutledge was a circuit judge in 1981 and 1982, and served in that capacity again for 18 months through a 2001 Huckabee appointment. He's also been a deputy prosecutor in the district and served, again at Huckabee's appointment, as a special justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Rutledge was nominated as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas by President Ford in 1976. The nomination died when President Carter took office in January 1977.

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