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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court in denying Appellants’ motion to certify two classes in litigation against Appellee. Appellee opposed certification, arguing that no class could be certified because no class existed and that the requirements of Ark. R. Civ. P. 23 were not satisfied. The trial court agreed and denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, as in Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages, Inc. v. Pipkin Enterprises, Inc., 198 S.W.3d 115 (Ark. 2004), the definitions of the proposed classes were not based on objective criteria, and therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to certify the classes. View "Walker v. Wilmoe Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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A nonlawyer may not appeal a tax assessment to a county court on behalf of a corporation. Appellants appealed the county assessor’s tax assessment, and the letters were signed by Appellants’ representative, a nonattorney. The county court upheld the assessments. Appellants appealed, and the notice of appeal was filed by a licensed attorney. Appellees filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction because the notice of appeal constituted the unauthorized practice of law, rendering the petition to appeal a nullity and depriving the circuit court of jurisdiction. The circuit court granted the motion. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that, because a nonlawyer invoked the process of a court, the county court never acquired jurisdiction over Appellants’ appeal, thus depriving the circuit court of jurisdiction. View "USAC Leasing LLC v. Hill" on Justia Law

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In this case challenging a county assessor’s ad valorem tax assessments, the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order granting the motion to dismiss filed by Appellees on the grounds that Appellants’ representative, a nonattorney, committed the unauthorized practice of law by signing a petition to appeal the tax assessment to the county court.The Supreme Court agreed with the circuit court for the reasons expressed in its opinion issued today in DeSoto Gathering Co., LLC v. Hill, 2017 Ark. 326, holding that the petitions for appeal were null and void because a corporation or its nonattorney officers or employees on its behalf are not authorized to practice law in Arkansas. View "USAC Leasing LLC v. Hill" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying Appellant’s pro se petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1, holding that the trial court did not clearly err when it denied relief. In his petition, Appellant alleged, among other claims, that counsel failed fully to investigate and develop a theory of defense, failed to order a mental evaluation, and did not inform him that the prosecutor had not yet given notice of intent to seek the death penalty at the time the plea was entered. The Supreme Court held that there was no showing that the trial court clearly erred when it denied relief. View "True v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s pro se petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a petition for writ of error coram nobis and his pro se motion to file a reply to the State’s response to his coram nobis petition, holding that Petitioner failed to demonstrate a fundamental error extrinsic to the record that would have prevented rendition of the judgment. Petitioner, who was convicted of two counts of rape, argued in his petition that the prosecutor withheld material evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). The Supreme Court denied relief, holding that Petitioner failed to state sufficient facts to establish a meritorious Brady claim. View "Thompson v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order certifying a class in this action filed by Appellees alleging that Appellants’ business practices violated the anti-usury language of amendment 89 to the Arkansas Constitution and of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The circuit court’s order defined the class as any and all “persons who have owed, currently owe or will incur debts” arising out of transactions with Appellants. For the reasons set forth in Arch Street Pawn Shop, LLC v. Gunn, 2017 Ark. 341, also decided today, the Supreme Court held that the circuit court abused its discretion in certifying the class. View "Pawnderosa Pawn Shops, Inc. v. Conley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Appellant’s pro se petition and amended petition under Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1. In his petitions, Appellant argued that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and raised independent claims of error in the trial proceedings. The trial court concluded that Appellant did not demonstrate ineffective assistance of counsel or that the trial proceedings were constitutionally infirm. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the trial court was not clearly erroneous in determining that Appellant failed to demonstrate fundamental error cognizable in Rule 37 proceedings or that Appellant failed to make the requisite showing of prejudice for his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. View "Lee v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition requesting that the court reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court so that he may proceed with a petition for writ of error coram nobis, holding that the petition failed to allege adequate grounds for relief. Petitioner was convicted of capital felony murder and received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. In his petition for relief, Petitioner asserted that the prosecution withheld evidence. The Supreme Court held that Petitioner failed to establish that the withheld evidence was material or so prejudicial to the defense that the error would have prevented rendition of the judgment. View "Jones v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s motion for rule on clerk seeking to have the record lodged to pursue an appeal from the trial court’s denial of his pro se petition for relief from an illegal sentence. Petitioner filed a timely notice of appeal from the denial of relief, but the record was tendered 111 days after the notice of appeal had been filed. The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s motion for rule on clerk without considering the merits of the motion because it was clear from the record that Petitioner could not prevail where he failed to argued that his sentence was illegal on its face pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. 16-90-111. View "Fischer v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In this case challenging a county board of equalization tax assessment, the Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellants’ appeal, holding that the circuit court did not err in dismissing Appellants’ appeal when Appellants’ representative, a nonlawyer, initiated the appeal on behalf of Appellants. Specifically, the court held that the notices of appeal that Appellants’ tax manager filed on behalf of Appellants must be deemed a nullity because they were filed in violation of the prohibition of the unauthorized practice of law. Therefore, the petitions of appeal were a nullity, and the county and circuit courts lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeals. View "DeSoto Gathering Co. v. Hill" on Justia Law