Articles Posted in Criminal 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 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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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 the State’s appeal from the circuit court’s use of three nonmodel jury instructions at Appellee’s resentencing hearing, holding that the State failed to demonstrate that the appeal involved the correct and uniform administration of the law or that this was a proper State appeal. Appellee was resentenced after his life sentence was vacated for failure to comport with Miller v. Alabama, 467 U.S. 460 (2012). During the resentencing hearing, the circuit court instructed the jury with three nonmodel instructions based upon the Miller decision. The jury returned a sentence of forty years’ imprisonment, and the circuit court entered an order reducing Appellee’s sentence accordingly. The State appealed, arguing that the use of the nonmodel jury instruction was error. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that this was not a proper State appeal. View "State v. Lasley" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s petition for writ of habeas corpus in which he alleged that his sentence was illegally enhanced pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. 5-64-408. The court held (1) the circuit court did not err in denying Appellant’s request for default judgment; (2) Appellant’s allegations failed to establish probable cause that the writ should issue; (3) the circuit court did not lack jurisdiction to sentence Appellant utilizing the enhancement in section 5-64-408; and (4) the circuit court did not err by failing to have an evidentiary hearing on the matter. View "Darrough v. Kelley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal 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