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The mandatory termination language in Ark. Code Ann. 9-12-312(a)(2)(D) does not apply retroactively to automatically terminate alimony awards entered before the 2013 amendment. Pursuant to a 2011 divorce decree, the court awarded Debra Mason alimony. In 2014, Debra filed a motion to modify the alimony award. Charles Mason responded that, based on a 2013 amendment to Ark. Code Ann. 9-12-312(a)(2), his obligation to pay alimony terminated when Debra began living with her boyfriend. The circuit court concluded (1) Charles's obligation to pay alimony ceased as a matter of law because Debra and her boyfriend cohabited full-time, and (2) applying the statute to the divorce decree would not have a retroactive effect. The Supreme Court answered a question certified to it by the court of appeals and remanded the case to the court of appeals, holding that the statute does not automatically terminate alimony awards entered before August 6, 2013. View "Mason v. Mason" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Appellant, an inmate of the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC), was part of a class-action lawsuit brought against the City of Helena-West Helena and Phillips County. The lawsuit settled, and the ADC received a settlement check that was deposited into Appellant’s inmate trust-fund account. Appellant then initiated a series of unsuccessful grievances alleging that ADC had confiscated the funds without his permission by depositing the check into his inmate account and that the ADC had improperly refused his withdrawal request to pay legal fees. The State later filed a petition for reimbursement of costs of care and a motion for leave to deposit Appellant’s funds with the court. The circuit court granted the State’s petition and directed that the settlement funds be deposited into the State treasury. The Supreme Court remanded to the circuit court for an evidentiary hearing, holding that the circuit court failed to make findings mandated by statutory authority. View "Harmon v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant's convictions for one count of aggravated robbery, two counts of robbery, three counts of theft of property, and one count of commercial burglary, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in denying Appellant’s motions for a directed verdict on the aggravated robbery and robbery counts, as substantial evidence supported the three convictions; and (2) a conviction imposed on a juvenile sentenced as an adult may be used as the basis for an increased penalty imposed under the habitual offender statute, and therefore, the circuit court did not err in sentencing Appellant to life imprisonment for aggravated robbery. View "Wilson v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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By per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court denied Appellant’s pro se petition for a writ of error coram nobis. In this same opinion, however, the court held that Appellant’s sentence was illegal and remanded the case to the circuit court for resentencing. The circuit court “reimposed” the same sentence on remand that the Supreme Court had held was illegal. Specifically, the court asserted that “the supreme court, with all their power, cannot change the statute.” The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred and exceeded its jurisdiction in looking beyond the Supreme Court’s opinion in Ward I and improperly attempted to correct any perceived error. View "Ward v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant appealed his convictions of capital murder and kidnapping, arguing that the circuit court erred in denying his motions to suppress on five separate grounds. The State cross-appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in granting Appellant’s motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to two search warrants. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Appellant’s motions to suppress and dismissed the State's cross-appeal, holding (1) with regard to some of Appellant’s motions to suppress, the circuit court did not err in denying the motions, and with regarding to the remaining motions the court was precluded from addressing Appellant’s arguments; and (2) the State’s cross-appeal was untimely. View "Lewis v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant was convicted of residential burglary and sentenced to probation. Thereafter, Appellant was convicted of residential burglary and sentenced to a suspended imposition of sentence. Appellant was then convicted of aggravated robbery with a firearm enhancement. The trial court revoked the probation and suspended imposition of sentence and sentenced Appellant to life imprisonment and additional terms of imprisonment on each revocation. The Supreme Court affirmed the revocations but reversed and remanded as to the aggravated-robbery conviction and the firearm enhancement, holding (1) the trial court erred in denying Appellant’s motion to suppress his statement to a detective, and the error was not harmless; and (2) Appellant raised no allegation of error as to the revocations, and thus they stand. View "Coleman v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The circuit court imposed upon the City of Little Rock a fine for violations of Ark. R. Civ. P. 11 and found the City in contempt for failure to timely pay the time. The City appealed, arguing that the imposition of Rule 11 sanctions and the finding of contempt constituted a plain, manifest, and gross abuse of discretion. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and dismissed in part, holding (1) the City’s payment of the penalty rendered an appeal from the circuit’s court’s order imposing the fine moot; and (2) the finding of contempt was not clearly against the preponderance of the evidence. View "City of Little Rock v. Circuit Court of Pulaski County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Hence forth, all briefed cases submitted to the court of appeals must be disposed of by full, written majority opinions. Thus, In re Memorandum Opinions, 700 S.W.2d 63 (Ark. Ct. App. 1985), in which the court of appeals promulgated its memorandum-opinion policy, is hereby overruled. In this workers’ compensation case, Appellants filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review an opinion handed down by the court of appeals. Neither the full commission nor the court of appeals issued a formal opinion, as the full commission adopted the administrative law judge’s findings and the court of appeals issued a memorandum opinion. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’s opinion and remanded the case to that court to properly analyze this case, as the opinion provided no meaningful analysis. Because Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 5-2(e) has previously allowed the court of appeals to issue memorandum opinions, the rule is hereby amended to state that opinions of the court of appeals shall only be in conventional form. View "Brookshire Grocery Co. v. Morgan" on Justia Law

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Appellant pleaded guilty to murder in the first degree and was sentenced to 480 months in prison. Appellant later filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus seeking release from custody. The circuit court dismissed the petition because Appellant did not state a basis for issuance of the writ. Appellant appealed. The State filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that Appellant had failed to submit a brief or otherwise take any action to pursue the appeal. The Supreme Court granted the motion, holding that the circuit court did not err in dismissing Appellant’s habeas petition because Appellant did not establish that the trial court lacked jurisdiction in his case or that the commitment was invalid on its face. View "Barber v. Kelley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In this wrongful termination case, Peggy Cryer, who was sued individually and in her official capacity as executive secretary of the Arkansas State Medical Board, was entitled to statutory immunity on some, but not all, of Plaintiff's claims. Kristi Byers was terminated from her employment with the Board for allegedly not using leave time on days that she did not come to work. Byers filed suit against the Board and Cryer for wrongful termination, alleging race discrimination and retaliation under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act (ACRA) and seeking damages and injunctive relief. The circuit court denied Defendants’ motion for summary judgment on immunity grounds, concluding that Defendants were not entitled to sovereign immunity and Cryer was not entitled to statutory immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that Cryer was entitled to statutory immunity on Byers’s individual-capacity race discrimination and retaliation claims under the ACRA but statutory immunity did not bar Byers’s federal civil rights claims against Cryer in her individual capacity. Remanded. View "Arkansas State Medical Board v. Byers" on Justia Law