Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from the circuit court’s dismissal of Appellant’s pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus, wherein Appellant alleged that his life sentence was illegal pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, 467 U.S. 460 (2012). In his petition, Appellant argued that because he was seventeen when he committed first-degree murder, his life sentence was void pursuant to Miller. The Supreme Court held (1) because Appellant’s life sentence was discretionary, the holding in Miller was not applicable and did not render Appellant’s life sentence facially illegal; and (2) because Appellant’s sentence of life imprisonment now carries with it the possibility of parole under the Fair Sentencing of Minors Act of 2017, Appellant’s contention that his sentence violated the requirements of Miller was incorrect. View "Johnson v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s dismissal of Appellant’s petition for writ of habeas corpus, holding that the circuit court did not err when it found Appellant failed to state a ground for the writ. In 1997, Appellant pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, and other offenses. Appellant argued in the instant habeas petition that he was innocent, among other claims. The circuit court found that Appellant’s claims were not cognizable in a writ of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant failed to state a ground for the writ or to demonstrate probable cause for the issuance of the writ. View "Collier v. Kelley" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s motion requesting DNA testing pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. 16-112-201 et seq., which, under certain circumstances, permits postconviction testing of evidence. Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder. The Supreme Court affirmed on appeal. In this present action, Appellant requested DNA testing of a hair and other evidence, including the victim’s clothing and materials used to bind the victim’s body. In affirming the circuit court’s denial of relief, the Court held that Appellant’s requests for testing lacked merit. View "Martin v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and dismissed in part the order of the circuit court denying Appellant’s petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.5. The Court reversed and dismissed as to the issue of whether trial counsel’s failure to present the affirmative defense of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect was ineffective assistance of counsel, holding that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to consider this issue. The Court otherwise affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in finding that counsel did not provide ineffective assistance as to Appellant’s remaining allegations of defective representation; and (2) the cumulative error rule in allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel should not be recognized in Arkansas. View "Lacy v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying Appellant’s petition requesting that the court reconsider and/or modify the sentence imposed in his criminal case, holding that the trial court did not err in finding that it did not have the authority to grant the relief requested by Appellant. In his petition, Appellant raised no issue of an illegal sentence. Because Appellant did not file his petition to modify the sentence until more than nineteen years after the mandate issued - well outside the statutory sixty-day period for the relief he sought - there was no clear error in the trial court’s denial of relief. View "Stewart 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, which rendered moot Petitioner’s pro se motion to rely to the State’s response to his coram nobis petition. In seeking coram nobis relief, Petitioner alleged that the prosecutor withheld material evidence and knowingly used perjured testimony, in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). In denying relief, the Supreme Court held that Petitioner failed to allege sufficient grounds warranting coram-nobis relief and otherwise failed to demonstrate due diligence in bringing this petition. View "Lewis v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from an order of the trying court dismissing without prejudice Appellant’s petition for writ of mandamus as moot, holding that the order dismissing the petition was not a final, appealable order denying relief. In 2016, Appellant filed the petition for writ of mandamus seeking order directing the prosecuting attorney to comply with a request Appellant had made under the Freedom of Information Act for access to evidence and documents related to the criminal investigation that led to his conviction in his criminal case. The Supreme Court held that Appellant had no right to appeal the dismissal of his petition because the appeal was not one directly arising from his conviction. View "Flowers v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s motion to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a petition for a writ of audit querela, which the Court treated as a petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a writ of error coram nobis, or alternatively, for leave to file a postconviction petition in the trial court pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.2(a). The Court held (1) Petitioner failed to raise sufficient allegations that established entitlement to relief under coram nobis; and (2) because Petitioner’s Rule 37.2 petition was filed outside the three-year statute of limitations, he was not entitled to relief unless his assertions would render the judgment void, and the adequacy of Miranda warnings does not implicate a fundamental right that is capable of voiding the judgment. View "Munnerlyn v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court denying and dismissing Appellant’s pro se petition or dismissal of fines or, in the alternative, for imposition of public-service work on the grounds that the record did not include a copy of the judgment originally entered in Appellant’s criminal case, in which she was sentenced to pay the fine or fines at issue. Appellant’s sole argument on appeal was that the basis for her petition was a statute that permits a court to reduce the amount of payment or revoke the unpaid portion of the fine. The Supreme Court held that the trial court did not err where the record did not contain pertinent documents and where Appellant’s argument was not raised in the trial court. View "Force 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 petition for writ of coram nobis, which rendered moot Appellant’s motion in which he sought permission to file a belated reply brief with a supplemental addendum. Appellant was convicted on eighteen counts of possession of child pornography. Appellant filed his petition for the writ, which the trial court treated as one for writ of error coram nobis and then concluded that it did not have authority to consider the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court correctly treated the petition as one for error coram nobis relief; and (2) because at the time Appellant filed his petition he had not sought the Supreme Court’s permission to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to file a petition for a writ of error coram nobis, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to consider the petition. View "Whitney v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law