Justia Arkansas Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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A jury found for Plaintiff on her claim for breach of contract and on her promissory-estoppel claim. The jury rendered verdicts against Defendants on their counterclaims. Defendants filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or for a new trial. The trial court granted the motion, concluding that the jury verdicts were improper and inconsistent and that they should be set aside in favor of granting a new trial. The circuit court denied Plaintiff’s motion to reconsider. Plaintiff appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction because Defendants’ motion for JNOV or a new trial was filed prior to the entry of the judgment. Therefore, the circuit court’s order granting a new trial was a nullity, and the posttrial motion was deemed denied thirty days after its filing date. Because neither party filed a notice of appeal after the judgment was entered the court had no timely or effective notice of appeal from the disposition of the posttrial motion. View "Worsham v. Day" on Justia Law
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Appellant was convicted of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, and theft. Appellant’s convictions and sentences were affirmed on appeal. Appellant later filed a petition to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. 16-90-111, asserting that his sentence was illegal because the trial court sentenced him in excess of the “mandatory sentencing guideline of aggravated robbery” and because he was charged and convicted on offenses based on the same conduct that violated the prohibition against double jeopardy. The circuit court dismissed the action. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal, holding that because Appellant improperly named the director of the Arkansas Department of Corrections as a party and because the State should have been served with the petition but was not, the circuit court had no jurisdiction to make a merit determination on this matter. View "Wesley v. Kelley" on Justia Law
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Appellant filed a pro se habeas corpus petition and a petition for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Thereafter, Appellant filed his notice of appeal in which he sought to appeal what he referred to as a “deemed denied by operation of law habeas corpus petition, and its accompanying intermediate petition to proceed in forma pauperis.” The circuit court subsequently entered an order denying Appellant’s petition to proceed in forma pauperis. Appellant then filed a petition for correction or modification of the record. The Supreme Court (1) denied Appellant’s petition for correction or modification of the record, noting that Appellant’s appeal only concerned the order denying his petition to proceed in forma pauperis; and (2) dismissed the appeal because Appellant failed to address the order denying his petition to proceed in forma pauperis. View "Watts v. Kelley" on Justia Law
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Upon the divorce of Thomas Jones and Kimberly Miller the circuit court entered a final order awarding Kimberly a $20,687.75 judgment against Thomas. The circuit court issued a writ of execution directing the sheriff to take possession and sell four vehicles owned by Thomas to satisfy Thomas’s indebtedness to Kimberly. Ollye Mae Jones, who was not married to Thomas at the time, unsuccessfully moved to intervene in the action. Ollye Mae and Thomas later filed a petition for replevin seeking possession of the four vehicles, asserting that the vehicles had been wrongfully taken from them. The circuit court dismissed the replevin action, concluding that the petition was barred by the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel; that Ollye Mae and Thomas lacked standing; and that the petition failed to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted. The Supreme Court summarily affirmed the circuit court’s dismissal of the replevin action because Ollye Mae and Thomas did not challenge all the grounds that the circuit court relied on in making its decision. View "Jones v. Miller" on Justia Law

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Appellants were minority stockholders in First Community Bank of Crawford County (FBC). After First Bank reached an agreement to merge with FCB, First Bank filed an application with the Arkansas State Banking Board. The Board subsequently approved the merger. Appellants filed a complaint seeking review of the Board’s decision, arguing (1) the Board did not adequately fulfill its duties under administrative law in reaching its decision, and (2) the statues and regulations followed by the Board unconstitutionally infringe on the due process and property rights of minority stockholders. The circuit court concluded that Appellants failed to preserve their substantive objections due to their failure to present these objections before the Board. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Appellants’ claims, holding that Appellants’ arguments were not preserved for judicial review. View "Booth v. Franks" on Justia Law

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The circuit court determined that appropriations made by ordinances or resolutions of the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock (Appellants) to the cities’ chambers of commerce and related economic development entities were in violation of article 12, section 5 of the Arkansas Constitution. The court concluded that Appellants had appropriated city funds to private corporations using “service contracts” that violated article 12, section 5 and were invalid due to lack of consideration and absence of benefits to the taxpayers. The court permanently enjoined Appellants from passing such ordinances or resolutions. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the circuit court with instructions to lift the injunction and dismiss Appellees’ complaint, holding that an amendment to article 12, section 5 rendered the basis for the circuit court’s injunction moot. View "Stodola v. Lynch" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order of adoption that granted Destiny Rodgers’ request to adopt Reanna Rodgers’ four minor children. Destiny was the current spouse of Reanna’s ex-husband. The court held that the circuit court did not err by finding that Reanna’s consent to the adoption was not required because she had significantly and unjustifiably failed to communicate with the children for a period of at least one year or to provide for their care and support as required by law or court order. The dissent argued that Reanna’s failure to communicate with her children and her failure to pay child support was justifiable. View "Rodgers v. Rodgers" on Justia Law
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Appellant filed a petition for declaratory relief and a writ of mandamus regarding a decision made by the Arkansas Board of Parole rescinding a finding that Appellant was eligible for transfer and a subsequent decision denying Appellant’s transfer eligibility for an additional two-year period. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding (1) the Board did not without statutory authority in denying Appellant’s transfer eligibility based on a disciplinary action taken by the Arkansas Department of Correction; but (2) the Board acted outside its authority in denying Appellant’s transfer eligibility by taking into consideration a Sex Offender Community Notification Assessment that was implemented in accordance with the Sex Offender Registration Act. View "Lenard v. Kelley" on Justia Law

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Petitioner filed in the Supreme Court a pro se petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a second petition for writ of error coram nobis. Petitioner was convicted of capital murder and aggravated robbery. As grounds for the petition, Petitioner alleged that the prosecution committed misconduct in violation of Brady v. Maryland. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding (1) although Petitioner attempted to frame each of his claims as a Brady violation, most were simply allegations of trial error, which are not cognizable in coram nobis proceedings; and (2) Petitioner failed to demonstrate a Brady violation on any of his claims. View "Travis v. State" on Justia Law
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Appellant, who was convicted of second-degree sexual assault and sexual indecency with a child, filed in the trial court a request for an amended sentencing order based on a pro se motion for jail-time credit, alleging that he was entitled to 547 days’ credit for his pretrial detention. The trial court entered an amended order, but the order did not set forth the number of jail-time days to which Appellant was entitled. Appellant appealed. The trial court subsequently granted the State’s motion to supplement the record and entered a second amended order, which specifically added 556 days for jail-time credit. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal, holding that the second amended order rendered the appeal moot. View "Matlock v. State" on Justia Law
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