Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the circuit court’s judgment and decree of foreclosure finding in favor of Bank and against Appellant on his counterclaims against Bank and his third-party complaint against the former vice president of commercial lending at Bank (“VP”). The court held (1) the circuit court erred in failing to submit Appellant’s legal counterclaims and third-party claims to the jury; (2) the circuit court erred in granting Bank and VP’s motion to strike Appellant’s jury trial demand based on a predispute jury-waiver clause contained in the loan agreement; and (3) Marvell Light & Ice Co. v. General Electric Co., 259 S.W. 741 (1924), is overruled to the extent that it holds that there is a per se new business rule preventing lost profits unless the business is an old business. View "Tilley v. Malvern National Bank" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s dismissal of Appellant’s pro se civil complaint and amended complaint, which alleged that Appellees, acting under color of state law, had engaged discrimination in violation of the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993, Ark. Code Ann. 16-123-101 to -108, engaged in a civil conspiracy, and committed the tort of outrage. The circuit court dismissed the complaint without prejudice based on the grounds set forth in Appellees’ motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed on the ground that the claims were barred by the statute of limitations and therefore did not reach the other grounds on which Appellant’s complaint was dismissed. View "Hutchinson v. Rutledge" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Appellant’s pro se petition and amended petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1, in which Appellant raised multiple claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing and issued written findings on those issues it considered to have been raised during the course of the hearing. At that hearing, Appellant did not specifically reassert all the claims set forth in the petitions. On appeal, Appellant claimed that the trial court committed reversible error pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.3(a) by failing to specifically all the claims raised in his petitions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant waived any issues he alleged should have been ruled on by the trial court; and (2) because Appellant failed to argue the merits of the claims on which the trial court ruled, those issues were considered abandoned. View "Brown v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court dismissing Appellant’s pro se petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1, in which Appellant argued that his attorneys provided ineffective assistance during his criminal proceedings. The trial court found that Appellant failed to establish that he was not afforded effective assistance of counsel. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that Appellant’s attorneys were not ineffective for failing to object to certain testimony in the sentencing proceeding, for not calling certain witnesses, and for advising Appellant to plead guilty. View "Johnson v. State" on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded in part and dismissed in part the circuit court’s denial of the motion filed by Appellants - employees of Arkansas State University - to dismiss Appellee’s complaint asserting that Appellants denied her due process under the Arkansas Constitution and violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In their motion to dismiss, Appellants argued that the complaint was barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity because Appellee did not state a cognizable due process violation and that the FOIA claim failed as a matter of law because the records Appellant requested were shielded from disclosure under Ark. Code Ann. 25-19-105(b)(2). The Supreme Court held (1) Appellee’s complaint failed to state sufficient facts to support a due-process violation, and therefore, Appellee’s due-process claim was barred by sovereign immunity; and (2) because Appellant’s argument regarding Appellee’s FOIA claim did not implicate sovereign immunity, this issue was dismissed on appeal. View "Williams v. McCoy" on Justia Law

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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 affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s pro se petition for writ of error coram nobis in which Appellant alleged that the State violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), suborned perjury, and breached the agreement he entered into with the State before entering a plea of guilty. The Supreme Court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by treating Appellant’s coram nobis petition as a petition raising claims of ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) Appellant did not demonstrate a Brady violation; (3) Appellant failed to establish that his plea was coerced; and (4) Appellant’s argument that he was actually innocent of the offense to which he pleaded guilty did not establish a ground for the writ. View "Williams v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Appellant’s pro se petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1. Appellant was convicted of kidnapping, rape, and aggravated robbery and was sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment. The Supreme Court affirmed on appeal. Appellant then filed a pro se Rule 37.1 petition alleging multiple claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied relief. Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was no error in the denial of Appellant’s motion for new trial in regard to some claims; (2) another claim raised by Appellant was waived on appeal; and (3) Appellant’s claim with respect to the trial court’s order in denying his motion for a new trial was not cognizable in a Rule 37.1 proceeding. View "Sylvester v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from the denial of multiple pro se motions he filed in connection with a pro se civil-rights action he filed in the circuit court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, which rendered his two petitions for writ of certiorari, two amended petitions for certiorari, and multiple motions connected with the appeal moot. Appellant filed a complaint alleging that Appellees violated his civil rights. In addition to his civil complaint, Appellant filed multiple motions. The circuit court denied the motions and other pleadings on the basis that Appellant had failed to provide proof of service with respect to the complaint and the related pleadings. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction because there was no final order on the merits. View "Nooner v. Kelley" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the State’s interlocutory appeal from the circuit court’s order granting Defendant’s motion to suppress. On appeal, the State argued that the circuit court erred (1) by interpreting Ark. R. Crim. P. 2.2 to invalidate the encounter between Defendant and the arresting officer, and (2) in concluding that the officer’s actions constituted a seizure. The Supreme Court held that this case was not properly before it under Ark. R. App. P.-Crim. 3 where this was a case involving the trial court’s consideration of the particular facts of the case and its determination that those facts did not provide reasonable suspicion for an investigatory stop under rule 3.1. View "State v. McWilliams" on Justia Law