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In 2014, Appellant, who was not a naturalized citizen of the United States, entered a negotiated change of plea to possession with the purpose to deliver methamphetamine. The circuit court accepted the plea and sentenced Appellant to two years and an additional term of three years’ suspended imposition of sentence (SIS). In 2015, Appellant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging that he was not provided with warnings regarding immigration and deportation pursuant to Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010). The circuit court denied the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant habeas relief because, despite Appellant’s SIS sentence, Appellant was not in custody as defined by this state’s laws. View "Rangel v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Petitioner, who was convicted on charges of kidnapping, rape, and murder, filed a pro se petition for scientific testing under Act 1780 of 2001 Acts of Arkansas. Petitioner filed a petition for leave to proceed in forma pauperis on the Act 1780 petition on the same date. The circuit court denied the Act 1780 habeas petition and found that the in forma pauperis petition was denied “due to venue issues.” Petitioner filed a notice of appeal. The clerk, however, declined to file the record on the basis that it was not tendered within ninety days of the notice of appeal. Petitioner then filed a pro se motion for belated appeal in the Supreme Court. The court treated Petitioner’s motion as one for rule on clerk and denied the motion, holding that Petitioner could not prevail on appeal because he failed to state a basis on which the trial court could have ordered scientific testing under the statutes. View "Marshall v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant, who was incarcerated at a unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction located in Lee County for committing the crime of rape, filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Lincoln County Circuit Court. The circuit court dismissed the petition. Appellant sought to appeal. Now before the court was Appellant’s motion for extension of time to file brief. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal, holding that Lincoln County Circuit Court was without jurisdiction to dictate Appellant’s release because Appellant was not currently in that county. The dismissal of the appeal rendered the motion moot. View "Williams v. Kelley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant, who was convicted of rape, filed a pro se petition to correct an illegal sentence under Ark. Code Ann. 16-90-111. The trial court denied the petition. Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court found good cause to reverse without considering Appellant’s arguments concerning the merits of his petition for relief under the statute. The court held that because the judge who ruled on Appellant’s section 16-90-111 petition was, in fact, the prosecuting attorney at his trial for rape, a serious appearance impropriety was created because the judge did not refrain from presiding over a case in which he might be interested. The court remanded the matter so that a different circuit judge can rule on the petition. View "Latham v. Kelley" on Justia Law

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After the underlying business dispute proceeded to arbitration, Appellees filed in the circuit court a petition to enforce the award, and Appellant filed a cross-petition to vacate the award. The circuit court confirmed the award. Appellant appealed, arguing that the arbitrator lacked the authority to hear the case under either federal or Arkansas law and that the award should have been vacated on public policy grounds. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order confirming the award, holding (1) jurisdiction was properly under the Federal Arbitration Act; and (2) the circuit court did not err in failing to vacate the award on public policy grounds. View "Kilgore v. Mullenax" on Justia Law

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Before the Supreme Court was Appellant’s sixth pro se petition requesting that the court reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court in his criminal case to consider a petition for writ of error coram nobis. Also before the court were several pro se motions filed by Appellant. The Supreme Court denied Appellant’s successive petition for coram nobis, denied Appellant’s pro se motions to supplement his successive petition, and declared moot the remaining motions, holding (1) Appellant failed to meet his burden of demonstrating meritorious grounds for the writ; and (2) the additional fact allegations contained in Appellant's pro se motion to supplement his successive petition failed to meet Appellant’s burden of demonstrating a fundamental error of fact extrinsic to the record. View "Jackson v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant was charged by information with three counts of rape, each involving a different occasion and a different victim. The offenses were severed for trial. Appellant was ultimately convicted on all three counts. In the instant habeas corpus petition, Appellant alleged, inter alia, that the trial court was without jurisdiction to impose two of the three sentences. The circuit court dismissed the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s dismissal of Appellant’s pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus, holding that Appellant failed to allege a basis for the circuit court to grant the writ and demonstrated no clear error in the dismissal of his petition. View "Williams v. Kelley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant was convicted of capital murder, rape, kidnapping, and residential burglary. Appellant was sentenced to death for the capital murder conviction. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding that the circuit court did not err by (1) denying Appellant’s motion for a directed verdict for the residential-burglary charge; (2) finding that Appellant’s offer to plead guilty to capital murder in exchange for a life sentence was not admissible as a mitigating factor showing Appellant’s acceptance of responsibility for his crimes; and (3) denying Appellant’s motion to suppress his custodial statement. View "Holly v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant, who was convicted of capital murder in 1995, filed a petition in 2016 seeking to compel the prosecuting attorney to direct the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to turn over information from his case. The trial court denied the petition and counted the denial as a strike under Ark. Code Ann. 16-68-607. Thereafter, Appellant filed a motion for reconsideration. The trial court denied the motion for reconsideration, also finding that the new pleading merited a strike. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the trial court erred in imposing the two strikes because section 16-68-607 does not confer authority on the trial court to impose a strike in a criminal case. View "Hill v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellant, who was convicted of murder in the first degree with a firearm enhancement and attempted murder in the first degree, filed a petition for postconviction relief pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37, asserting that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance. The circuit court denied the petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant’s trial counsel’s performance was not constitutionally deficient for any of the reasons stated by Appellant, as Appellant failed to establish prejudice under the standard set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). View "Edwards v. State" on Justia Law