LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A ruling by a Pulaski County Circuit Court judge Tuesday may finally clear the way for a new justice to represent the county’s 10th District.

Judge Chip Welch ruled that due to two previous misdemeanor convictions for hot checks, Kristina Gulley was prohibited from holding the office of Justice of the Peace.

In May of 2022, Gulley was running for re-election against Barry Jefferson for the seat when it was revealed that Gulley had been convicted in 1997 and 2003 for hot checks. At that time, Gulley said the complaint that revealed the convictions was part of a “political attack” from Jefferson’s campaign.

While Jefferson went on to win the May 24 election, he never took office. On June 3, just hours before the deadline to certify the votes from the election, Pulaski County Election Commission officials said Jefferson’s votes were decertified after it came to light that he too had a conviction for a hot check from 2007.

While election officials would not certify her election in 2022, Gulley had not officially resigned her District 10 seat, meaning residents in that area of the county were not represented in quorum court proceedings, a county spokesperson said.

In a release, county officials noted that once the judge’s final written order is filed, the quorum court can adopt a resolution officially declaring the seat vacant.

That resolution would need to be delivered to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders within 10 days, who would then appoint a replacement to serve until the end of the term in December 2024.

“I’m grateful for Judge Welch’s decision because we’re one step closer to returning representation to the Pulaski County residents of District 10,” Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde said in the release. “I trust that the Governor will make an excellent appointment, bringing effective representation to the district.”