Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to proceed with a petition for writ of error coram nobis and Petitioner’s motion for default judgment, holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief. Petitioner was convicted of second-degree murder. After his conviction was affirmed, Petitioner filed the instant petition seeking permission from the Supreme Court to proceed in the trial court with a petition for writ of error coram nobis, arguing that trial error resulted in the imposition of an illegal sentence. Petitioner later filed a motion for default judgment. The Supreme Court denied both filings, holding that the factual basis for Petitioner’s claims was insufficient to go beyond allegations of a defective information and trial error, which do not implicate the facial validity of a trial court’s judgment or jurisdiction. View "Rainer v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court dismissing Appellant’s petition for writ of error coram nobis, holding that the circuit court did not err in denying the writ of error coram nobis because Appellant did not plead facts to show coercion. On appeal, Appellant argued that the circuit court erred in determining that his allegation that counsel promised to help him get a pardon if he pleaded guilty was insufficient to meet the burden of proving he was coerced. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in finding that Appellant’s allegation of coercion did not rise to the level of coercion that is required in the context of a writ of coram nobis; and (2) the circuit did not err in finding that Appellant’s claim was more akin to an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, which was not cognizable in an error coram nobis proceeding. View "Love v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from an order denying his pro se petition for writ of mandamus and found that the motion for modification of that order was moot, holding that Appellant’s notice of appeal was untimely. Appellant filed his mandamus petition against the chairman of the Arkansas Parole Board and a parole officer and filed a subsequently motion for enforcement of statute that contained arguments also raised in petition to the circuit court. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s petition, holding that it was untimely and did not extend the time for filing his notice of appeal. View "Chestang v. Mays" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole imposed in connection with his conviction for one count of capital murder, holding that the circuit court erred in applying the Fair Sentencing of Minors Act of 2017 (FSMA), 2017 Ark Acts 2615, to Appellant’s case. Appellant was fifteen years old at the time of the offense. Appellant was originally sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, but following Miller, the circuit court granted Appellant’s petition for writ of habeas corpus, vacated his sentencing order and remanded the case for resentencing. The circuit court sentenced Appellant to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after thirty years based on the FSMA, holding that the FSMA applied retroactively. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit court erred when it retroactively applied the penalty and parole provisions of the FSMA when resentencing Appellant; and (2) Appellant was entitled to a hearing to present evidence pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), for consideration and sentencing within the discretionary range for a Class Y felony. View "Segerstrom v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that because none of Appellant’s arguments provided evidence of probable cause to believe that Appellant was being illegally detained, the circuit court did not clearly err in dismissing the petition. Specifically, the Court held (1) the circuit court did not err in holding that Appellant’s claims were not appropriate for resolution in the habeas process; (2) the judgment and commitment order under which Appellant was committed was not void or defective; (3) Appellant’s third point was an evidentiary error claim that did not call into question the legality of the sentence or the jurisdiction of the circuit court; and (4) Appellant’s confinement did not violate his due process rights. View "Conley v. Kelley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court so that he may file a petition for writ of error coram nobis in his criminal case, holding that Petitioner’s claim did not establish a ground for the writ and that Petitioner did not exercise due diligence in bringing the claim. In his petition, the third such petition filed in the Supreme Court, Petitioner argued that the State violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by withholding certain evidence. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding (1) Petitioner’s claims were not sufficient to overcome the presumption that the judgment of conviction was valid; and (2) Petitioner was not diligent in bringing this proceeding. View "Makkali v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from an order denying his pro se petition for writ of error coram nobis, holding that the the Court lacked jurisdiction to consider the appeal. Appellant lodged his appeal from a January 25, 2018 order denying his pro se petition fro writ of error coram nobis on February 28, 2018. In accordance with Ark. R. App. P.-Crim. 17, Appellant was required to file the notice of appeal no later than February 26, 2018. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the notice of appeal was not timely filed and that no exception to the filing deadline for a notice of appeal was applicable. View "Mills v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to file a petition for writ of error coram nobis in his criminal case, holding that Petitioner’s claims did not establish a ground for the writ. This was the second coram nobis petition filed by Petitioner. In the instant petition, Petitioner argued that the State violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by failing to disclose to the defense a serology report and the victim’s death certificate. The Supreme Court denied the petition after concluding that the crux of Petitioner’s claim of a Brady violation was a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction, holding that Petitioner failed to establish that a Brady violation occurred in his trial. View "Buchanan v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s writ of mandamus seeking to order the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney to authorize the release of information and evidence from Appellant’s criminal case from the Arkansas Crime Lab, holding that Appellant was not entitled to the writ. On appeal, Appellant argued that he was entitled to full access to the records and information he sought under Ark. Code Ann. 12-12-312 and that the statute obligated the prosecuting attorney to release the information. The Supreme Court held that issuance of the writ of mandamus was not appropriate because (1) the duty of the prosecuting attorney to disclose is mandatory upon the attorney’s discovery that evidence retained by the lab “tends to negate the guilt” or would “tend to reduce the punishment” of the defendant; and (2) the prosecuting attorney’s duty in this case was not ministerial, and Appellant failed to establish a clear and certain right to the relief sought. View "Linell v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Petitioner’s fourth petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to file a petition for writ of error coram nobis in the trial court in his criminal case, holding that the petition was an abuse of the writ and that Petitioner’s related motions were therefore moot. The Supreme Court dismissed or denied Petitioner’s first three coram nobis petitions. The grounds raised by Petitioner in his fourth petition were issues already raised in Petitioner’s three prior petitions for writ of error coram nobis. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition, holding that Petitioner failed to offer facts sufficient to warrant granting leave to proceed in the trial court for the writ. View "Davis v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law