Ford v. Arkansas Game & Fish Comm'n

In Ford v. Arkansas Game & Fish Comm'n, 335 Ark. 245, 979 S.W.2d 897 (1998) there was a hearing regarding Ford's alleged possession of game out of season, pursuant to Administrative Procedures Act. However, before the hearing was complete, Ford filed for a declaratory judgment action contending the that the statute was unconstitutional as applied to him. The trial court dismissed Ford's declaratory judgment action on the ground that Ford had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. On appeal, Ford argued he was not required to exhaust his administrative remedies because he was raising a constitutional claim which he alleged the agency was incapable of rendering a decision on. After consideration of the Ford case, the Supreme Court held: "Ford was not entitled to file a declaratory judgment action...before he exhausted his administrative remedies before the commission. Instead of filing a declaratory judgment action, Ford should have raised his constitutional arguments before the Commission, and then appealed the Commission's final ruling to circuit court pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act."