Opinion Delivered September 23, 2010
On July 18, 2010, the State of Arkansas lost one of its outstanding jurists, Honorable Carol Crafton Anthony of El Dorado. Judge Anthony served on the bench in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit from 1993 until she lost her valiant sixteen-year battle with leukemia. On the sad occasion of her death, the Arkansas Supreme Court wishes to acknowledge her distinguished service to the State of Arkansas and to express its sympathy to her husband, Aubra, her four children, and the rest of her family.
Judge Anthony graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. Following graduation, she clerked for Judge Marian Penix on the Arkansas Court of Appeals, then for United States District Court Judge Oren Harris. After these clerkships, she practiced law in El Dorado from 1984 to 1993. During these years, she also served as a part time United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Arkansas and Chairman of the Union County Elections Commission.
In 1993, she was appointed circuit judge, and in 1994, she was elected circuit-chancery judge. Among her duties in this latter position was to preside over juvenile court, and she brought energy and innovation to this role. She created programs aimed at making a meaningful difference in the lives of juveniles. One of these programs was the School in School Program, a collaborative effort among her office, the police department, and the schools. In 1998, she was elected circuit judge and was subsequently reelected to the position, and was serving in it at the time of her death. As a circuit judge, she was a pioneer in the establishment of the Arkansas Drug Court Program, and presiding over drug court was richly rewarding to her in that she could see how the courts could positively improve the lives of the participants. Judge Anthony was proud of a record of only eleven reversals in more than fifty appeals to the Arkansas Supreme Court or Court of Appeals.
Her fellow judges of the Thirteenth Circuit chose her to serve as their Administrative Judge, a position she held from 2005 until her death. In addition to these duties in her judicial circuit, Judge Anthony served on the Supreme Court Board of Continuing Legal Education from 1996-2002, chairing the Board during part of that time, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Judicial Retirement System.
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that, despite her dedication to her job, everyone who knew her remarked that her family, and especially her children, did not take a backseat. She was involved in their lives, their education, and their activities in a very special way.
The Arkansas Supreme Court recognizes Judge Carol Crafton Anthony, an extraordinary woman, for an extraordinary — but much too short — life of service. She had the respect and admiration of her fellow judges and will be sorely missed on both a professional and personal level by her many friends and colleagues.