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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal of an order denying him pauper status so that he could proceed with a petition for writ of habeas corpus to challenge his convictions for capital murder and aggravated robbery, holding that the circuit court correctly found that Appellant failed to set out a colorable cause of action in his proposed habeas petition, and therefore, Appellant could not prevail on appeal. In his habeas petition, Appellant alleged that the State failed to meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the trial judge erred and abused his discretion, and his trial attorney and appellate counsel were ineffective. The circuit court found that Appellant failed to support a claim cognizable in habeas proceedings. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that Appellant petition clearly failed to state a colorable cause of action. View "Gardner v. Kelley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition asking the Court to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a petition for writ of error coram nobis, holding that Petitioner failed to make sufficient allegations to warrant coram nobis relief. Petitioner was convicted of aggravated robbery, theft of property, and first degree sexual abuse. In his coram nobis petition, Petitioner alleged that the prosecutor during his criminal trial withheld evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), which would have established that his confession to the robberies was coerced. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding that because Petitioner’s arguments pertained to matters that were wholly contained within the record and known to the defense at the trial, Petitioner’s allegations did not warrant reinvesting jurisdiction in the circuit court to consider a coram nobis petition. View "Bunch v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition challenging the sufficiency of a statewide-initiative petition entitled “An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act,” a petition that was on the November 6, 2018 ballot, holding that there was no merit in Petitioner’s claims. The Supreme Court appointed a special master in this matter, who entered his findings that the petition had sufficient signatures to qualify for placement on the November 6, 2018 ballot. Relying on Stephens v. Martin, 491 S.W. 3d 451 (Ark. 2014), the Supreme Court denied this petition, holding that Petitioner’s claims were without merit. View "Zook v. Martin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s pro se petition to proceed in forma pauperis, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Appellant should not be permitted to proceed. The circuit court denied Appellant’s request for pauper status because it found the underlying writ of habeas corpus did not contain a colorable cause of action. Specifically, the circuit court found that Appellant had established that he was indigent, but he did not raise a cognizable claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the decision to deny Appellant’s request for pauper status was proper where Appellant’s habeas petition clearly failed to state a colorable cause of action because it did not state sufficient nonconclusory facts to support cognizable claims. View "Breeden v. Kelley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal from an order dismissing Appellant’s petition to correct a sentence imposed in an illegal manner under Ark. Code Ann. 16-90-111, rendering moot Appellant’s pro se motion requesting an extension of time in which to file his brief, holding that it was clear Appellant could not prevail on appeal. The trial court found that Appellant’s sentence was within the statutory range and not illegal and that Appellant’s petition was untimely. The Supreme Court held that the denial of relief was not clearly erroneous, holding that the petition was untimely and that Appellant’s claims were meritless. View "Jackson v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court denied the petition filed by Petitioners claiming that the popular name and ballot title of Issue Number 4, a proposed constitutional amendment concerning casino gambling, were insufficient, holding that Issue Number 4 was proper for inclusion on the November 6, 2018 ballot. Specifically, the Court held that all of the twenty-seven challenges brought by Petitioners in support of their claims failed, that there was no fatal infirmity with the popular name or ballot title of Issue Number 4, and that the proposed amendment’s popular name and ballot title were sufficient. View "Stiritz v. Honorable Mark Martin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the original action brought by Petitioner, individually and on behalf of Citizens for Local Choice, challenging the sufficiency of the ballot title with regarding to Issue Number 4, which provides for the issuance of four casino licenses in the state, holding that Petitioner did not meet his burden of proving that the ballot title was insufficient. Specifically, the Court held that Issue No. 4 was proper for inclusion on the November 6, 2018 ballot because (1) the popular name and ballot title of the issue gave voters a fair understanding of the issues presented, and (2) the scope and significance of the proposed changes in law were not misleading and allowed voters to reach an informed decision for or against the proposal. View "Knight v. Martin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order entering a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiff in his challenge to Act 633 of 2017, which concerns verification of voter registration, holding that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits because Act 633 comports with the requirements in Amendment 51 to the Arkansas Constitution for its amendment. The circuit court entered a preliminary injunction order prohibiting and enjoining Appellants from enforcing the requirements of Act 633. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding (1) this action was not subject to the sovereign-immunity defense; (2) Plaintiff had standing to challenge the Act’s constitutionality; but (3) Act 633’s constitutional amendment is germane to Amendment 51 and consistent with its policy and purpose and is therefore constitutional. View "Honorable Mark Martin v. Haas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s second petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to file a petition for writ of error coram nobis, holding that there was no merit to Petitioner’s allegations and that Petitioner did not exercise due diligence in bringing his claims. In 2009, Petitioner was found guilty of the rape of a five-year-old girl. In his claims for issuance of the writ, Petitioner argued that the prosecutor committed misconduct and violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding (1) Petitioner failed to establish a Brady violation; and (2) Petitioner failed to exercise due diligence in bringing this second coram nobis petition. View "Henington v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Appellant’s petition for postconviction relief under Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1, holding that Appellant failed to challenge the basis for the circuit court’s dismissal of his petition on appeal. The trial court dismissed Appellant’s postconviction petition without addressing the merits, finding that Appellant had failed to file it within the time allotted under Rule 37. On appeal, Appellant did not argue that the trial court erred in ruling that his petition was untimely filed. The Supreme Court affirmed because Appellant failed to challenge the trial court’s finding that his petition was not timely. View "Friar v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law