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The Supreme Court dismissed the State's interlocutory appeal from the circuit court's grant of David Reynolds's motion to suppress evidence seized from a search of his cell phone, holding that this was not a proper State appeal. The State appealed under Rule 3 of the Arkansas Rules of Appellate Procedure-Criminal. Noting that an appeal is permitted by Rule 3 when the issue presented is whether the circuit court erred in its interpretation of the law and that the Court does not accept an appeal by the State when the circuit court's decision turns on facts unique to the case or involves a mixed question of law and fact, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the correct and uniform administration of the criminal law was not at issue in this case. View "State v. Reynolds" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's order denying Appellant a resentencing hearing and imposing a life sentence with parole eligibility pursuant to the Fair Sentencing with Minors Act of 2017 (FSMA), holding that the penalty provisions of the FSMA did not apply to Appellant. In 2000, Appellant pled guilty to capital murder and received a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. Appellant was sixteen years old at the time of the murder. After the United States Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), the circuit court granted habeas relief and vacated Appellant's life-without-parole sentence and remanded his case for resentencing. Before a resentencing hearing was held, however, the General Assembly passed the FSMA, which eliminated life without parole as a sentencing option for juvenile offenders and extended parole eligibility to juvenile offenders. On remand, the circuit court sentenced Appellant under the FSMA to life in prison with parole eligibility after thirty years. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because Appellant committed his crime before the effective date of the FMSA, the penalty provisions of the Act did not apply to him; and (2) Appellant was no longer serving a sentence to which parole eligibility could attach. View "Elliott v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant's appeal from the judgment of the trial court dismissing Appellant's pro se petition and two amendments in which he sought a writ of audita querela, thus rendering moot Appellant's pro se motion in which he sought to file his reply brief belatedly, holding that Appellant was not entitled to relief. Appellant was convicted of furnishing prohibited articles. Appellant later filed his petition and amendments seeking a writ of audita querela. The trial court dismissed Appellant's petition and amendments on the ground that the writ of audita querela is not recognized and, therefore, the court was without jurisdiction to modify the judgment. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant's appeal, holding that he could not prevail on appeal because, although the trial court had jurisdiction to provide relief through a writ of error coram nobis, Appellant stated no basis for issuance of the writ. View "Gonder v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In this case in which Debbie Worsham was awarded damages on her breach of contract action the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Worsham's motion for attorney's fees and costs and Worsham's motion for reconsideration, holding that Worsham's motion for attorney's fees was untimely. On appeal, Worsham argued that she was entitled to attorney's fees pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. 16-22-308 and that the circuit court erred in denying her motion for attorney's fees because it was timely under Ark. R. Civ. P. 54(e). The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's denial of Worsham's motion for attorney's fees, holding (1) the circuit court correctly found that the attorney's fees motion was untimely; and (2) Worsham's argument that she was entitled to attorney's fees under section 16-22-308 was without merit. View "Worsham v. Day" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court dismissed as moot Petitioner's petition for an order compelling Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to certify the popular name and ballot title of a proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution, holding that Act 387 of 2019 rendered the original action petition moot. The proposed amendment in this case was entitled "The Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Amendment of 2020." Petitioner Arkansas True Grass was a ballot question committee that sponsored the proposed amendment. After the Attorney General rejected the popular name and ballot title of the proposed amendment, Petitioner asked the Supreme Court to require that the Attorney General certify the proposed measure. In response, the Attorney General asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition as moot in light of the passage of Act 387, which eliminated the requirement that sponsors of initiative petitions obtain the Attorney General's certification of the proposed amendment's popular name and ballot title prior to circulation of the initiative petition. The Supreme Court agreed and dismissed the original action petition, holding that Petitioner's request was moot because the Attorney General's certification would have no practical legal effect on the parties. View "Arkansas True Grass v. Rutledge" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed as moot Appellants' appeal of the circuit court's temporary restraining order (TRO) that enjoined the Arkansas State Plant Board from enforcing its agency rule limiting the use of dicamba herbicides after April 16, 2018, holding that the appeal was moot. On April 16, 2018, thirty-seven Arkansas farmers who intended to use dicaamba herbicides in 2018 (Appellees), filed a complaint against the Plant Board seeking a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. The circuit court granted a TRO and enjoined the Plant Board from enforcing its April 15 cutoff date. The Plant Board appealed. On February 27, 2019, the Plant Board promulgated a new rule that repealed the April 15 cutoff date and took effect beginning March 9, 2019. The Supreme Court dismissed the interlocutory appeal as moot, holding that judgment on this appeal would have no practical effect upon the TRO's enforceability. View "Arkansas State Plant Board v. Bell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions of two counts of premeditated and deliberate capital murder and sentencing him to life imprisonment without parole for each murder, holding that there was no prejudicial error in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held that the circuit court (1) did not abuse its discretion or deprive Appellant of his constitutional right to present a defense by excluding evidence that Appellant argued linked another person to the crimes; and (2) did not abuse its discretion in allowing testimony concerning what a person could see with a telescopic sight mounted on Appellant's rifle. View "Barefield v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court terminating Mother's parental rights to her son, holding that the circuit court did not commit reversible error by denying Mother's counsel's motion to withdraw. The Arkansas Department of Human Services opposed the motion to withdraw, arguing that Mother had been served under Ark. R. Civ. P. 5 and that she had over a month to fire her attorney and hire a new one. The circuit court denied the motion. On appeal, Mother argued that, by denying the motion, the circuit court violated her Sixth Amendment right to counsel of one's choosing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the denial of the motion to withdraw was not an issue preserved on appeal and that, even if this Court were to consider the merits of Mother's constitutional claims, her argument would still fail. View "Langston v. Arkansas Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant's appeal from the denial of his pro se petition to proceed in forma paupers in a habeas proceeding, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Appellant should not be permitted to proceed at public expense. In denying the petition for writ of habeas corpus the circuit court found that the petition did not contain a colorable cause of action. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant's appeal, which rendered moot Appellant's motion for extension of time to file his brief-in-chief, holding that Appellant's assertions and allegations were either not cognizable in habeas proceedings or brought without factual substantiation or development. View "Watson v. Kelley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission adopting the finding of an administrative law judge (ALJ) that Appellant's additional benefits claim was barred by the statute of limitations, holding that the Commission did not err in finding that Appellant's claim was barred by the statute of limitations. After a hearing, the ALJ found that Appellant's claim was barred by the statute of limitations. The Commission affirmed and adopted the ALJ's findings. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the statute of limitations had tolled. The Supreme Court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals and affirmed the Commission's finding, holding that the Commission's decision was supported by substantial evidence. View "Farris v. Express Services, Inc." on Justia Law