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- Washington County, Texas
- Washington County, Arkansas Genealogy
- Archived Comments
- Democrat-Gazette investigation: State's fractured coroner system creates uneven reporting
- Arkansas Vital Records
Kevin Cleghorn, the Saline County coroner and the president of the Arkansas Coroner's Association, said death certificates include all the information required by law, but not writing a coroner's report isn't a recommended practice. In at least nine counties -- Hot Spring, Calhoun, Yell, Marion, Johnson, Sharp, Sebastian, Dallas and Baxter -- coroners told the newspaper that their predecessors took the records with them when they left office. Attempts to obtain records from former coroners in those counties were successful only in Sebastian County.
Coroners in nine other counties -- Johnson, Greene, Drew, Clay, Arkansas, Poinsett, Mississippi, Desha and Bradley -- did not have coroner's reports but supplied the newspaper with Crime Lab reports, Health Department records or death certificates. Two of those sent only lists of the names, ages, causes of death, dates of death and sexes of the deceased.
Washington County, Texas
In one case, a death certificate was the only record provided in the case of a baby born prematurely and taken to the hospital in a plastic bag. Eight more coroners -- in Lonoke, Marion, Jefferson, Randolph, Jackson, Grant, Sharp and Hempstead counties -- provided a mixture of death certificates, Crime Lab reports, coroner's reports and news reports for deaths. Some deaths had only a death certificate or Crime Lab report while others had more documentation.
Coroner's reports that were completed were often handwritten and one page long.
Washington County, Arkansas Genealogy
In Baxter County, the report provided included no narrative of the scene, which involved a gunshot. Handwritten reports leave room for errors in gathering death data, said Austin Porter, the deputy chief science officer at the Arkansas Department of Health. The department uses the information to label the cause of death using the International Classification of Diseases and then to allocate money based on data in each region and build programs to prevent the most common causes of death.
There are other grants that we have been awarded to address other causes of death that are disproportionately higher here in Arkansas. Channell said the Crime Lab relies heavily on coroner's reports when determining the manner of death. The cause of death is the specific injury or disease that leads to a death, and the manner of death is the portion of an investigation that can spark a criminal case. The general categories for manner of death are natural, accident, suicide, homicide and undetermined. The state Crime Lab, the Health Department and the coroner's association are working together to train coroners in conducting death investigations.
Arkansas does not have training requirements for its coroners. At one session at the start of December, a couple of deputy coroners traveled to Batesville for training in conducting death investigations on infants and filling out Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation forms.
Pamela Tabor, who taught the class along with Cleghorn, said that since she started doing training for coroners, she's seen an improvement in the quality of investigations and how well they fill out reports. Tabor is the former director of the Arkansas Infant and Child Death Review Panel, which re-examines investigations into the deaths of children.
Tabor walked the December class participants through a few sample cases to show them circumstances that commonly cause deaths of babies, such as toys in the crib, co-sleeping and letting pets sleep with infants. Cleghorn said it is difficult for coroners to find time to go to training sessions because many work more than one job.
Coroners are elected for two-year terms in all counties except Pulaski and Faulkner, where they are appointed.
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That means most take on other jobs, usually in funeral homes. Many have the funeral home number listed online as their coroner contact number, and several asked that records requests be sent to the general funeral home email.
Cleghorn said he's also training coroners in a new electronic system that he hopes will be used statewide soon. Arkansas has had the system for about a year, and nearly 20 coroners are using it, he said.
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The new system has a mobile app, allows photos from the scene to be uploaded into the file and will create data in real time, Cleghorn said. If you need to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit. Both parents of the person under 18 years of age who wishes to enter into a contract for marriage;. The custodial parent of the person under 18 years of age if the parents are divorced and one parent has been awarded custody exclusive of the non-custodial parent;.
The custodial parent when the non-custodial parent has surrendered custody through abandonment or desertion;. Paternity has been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction and the court has awarded custody to the man adjudged to be the father of the under-aged party;. In those instances where one or both of the parties wishing to marry are under the minimum age and the female IS PREGNANT, both parties may appear before a judge of the circuit court of the district where the application for marriage license is being made. The circuit court judge, after considering all evidence supplied by the parties, may issue an order directing the clerk to issue a marriage license to the party or parties under 18 years of age and wishing to marry.
In those cases where the female has given birth to a child of the parties the parties may petition the circuit court for consent to marry. The circuit court judge, after considering all of the evidence, may issue an order directing the clerk to issue a marriage license to the parties.
Democrat-Gazette investigation: State's fractured coroner system creates uneven reporting
Persons who may solemnize marriages. Justices of the Peace in Arkansas and any former Justice of the Peace who served at least 2 terms since may solemnize marriages and must complete the information required in the Certificate of Marriage on the Marriage License. Ministers must complete the information required in the Certificate of Marriage on the Marriage License. The minister is not responsible for returning the license after the marriage ceremony.
Marriage Licenses are public records and anyone wishing to obtain a copy may do so. Only certified copies may be issued. The clerk's office also has index information available online at www.
Arkansas Vital Records
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