Articles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s denial of Appellant’s pro se petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1, holding that the trial court did not provide sufficient written findings to demonstrate that Appellant was not entitled to relief on his ineffective assistance claims. The trial court denied relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing. The Court remanded to the trial court with directions to conduct a postconviction hearing limited to the two claims of ineffective assistance of counsel preserved by Appellant in this appeal. View "Collins v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37. Appellant, who was convicted of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm, argued in his petition that he received ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to present certain jury instructions. The circuit court denied the petition without holding an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court did not err in denying Appellant’s claim that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present the proper jury instruction on justification; but (2) because the circuit court failed to make written findings in accordance with rule 37.3(a) in regards to Appellant’s claim that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present the proper jury instruction on extreme-emotional-disturbance manslaughter, the case must be remanded for the court to make such findings. View "Douglas v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37. Appellant, who was convicted of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm, argued in his petition that he received ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to present certain jury instructions. The circuit court denied the petition without holding an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court did not err in denying Appellant’s claim that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present the proper jury instruction on justification; but (2) because the circuit court failed to make written findings in accordance with rule 37.3(a) in regards to Appellant’s claim that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present the proper jury instruction on extreme-emotional-disturbance manslaughter, the case must be remanded for the court to make such findings. View "Douglas v. State" on Justia Law

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Article 5, section 9 of the Arkansas Constitution applies to both elected and appointed public offices and applied in this case to an appointed municipal chief of police. The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting a preliminary injunction requested by Appellee, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated Arkansas taxpayers, and finding that Chief of Police Geoffrey Herweg’s 2002 Texas conviction of lying to a police officer rendered him incapable of holding the office of Jacksonville police chief. Herweg was appointed by the mayor of Jacksonville. The Court held (1) Appellee had standing in this action and presented a justiciable controversy; (2) article 5, section 9 of the Arkansas Constitution applies to the office of the chief of police; (3) Herweg’s 2002 Texas conviction was an “infamous crime” under article 5, section 9 that precluded his eligibility to serve as Jacksonville’s police chief; and (4) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in granting Appellee’s motion for preliminary injunction. View "City of Jacksonville v. Smith" on Justia Law

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Article 5, section 9 of the Arkansas Constitution applies to both elected and appointed public offices and applied in this case to an appointed municipal chief of police. The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court granting a preliminary injunction requested by Appellee, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated Arkansas taxpayers, and finding that Chief of Police Geoffrey Herweg’s 2002 Texas conviction of lying to a police officer rendered him incapable of holding the office of Jacksonville police chief. Herweg was appointed by the mayor of Jacksonville. The Court held (1) Appellee had standing in this action and presented a justiciable controversy; (2) article 5, section 9 of the Arkansas Constitution applies to the office of the chief of police; (3) Herweg’s 2002 Texas conviction was an “infamous crime” under article 5, section 9 that precluded his eligibility to serve as Jacksonville’s police chief; and (4) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in granting Appellee’s motion for preliminary injunction. View "City of Jacksonville v. Smith" on Justia Law

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The circuit court correctly determined that the immunity provisions of Ark. Code Ann. 16-105-502 barred Appellants’ noise-based lawsuit against Brown-Wright Post No. 158 of the American Legion, Department of Arkansas, Inc. (the Legion) and correctly found that the immunity statute did not constitute a taking under the Arkansas Constitution. Appellants filed a complaint alleging that noise from a shooting range that the Legion had built interfered with the use and enjoyment of their land and constituted a nuisance. The Legion filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the complaint should be dismissed because it was based only on noise, and Ark. Code Ann. 16-105-502 grants shooting ranges immunity for noise-based lawsuits if the range is in compliance with local noise-control ordinances. The circuit court granted the Legion’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Legion was entitled to immunity as long the shooting range did not violate any local noise ordinances; and (2) section 16-105-52 did not violate Appellants’ constitutionally protected property rights. View "3 Rivers Logistics, Inc. v. Brown-Wright Post No. 158 of the American Legion, Department of Arkansas, Inc." on Justia Law

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The circuit court correctly determined that the immunity provisions of Ark. Code Ann. 16-105-502 barred Appellants’ noise-based lawsuit against Brown-Wright Post No. 158 of the American Legion, Department of Arkansas, Inc. (the Legion) and correctly found that the immunity statute did not constitute a taking under the Arkansas Constitution. Appellants filed a complaint alleging that noise from a shooting range that the Legion had built interfered with the use and enjoyment of their land and constituted a nuisance. The Legion filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the complaint should be dismissed because it was based only on noise, and Ark. Code Ann. 16-105-502 grants shooting ranges immunity for noise-based lawsuits if the range is in compliance with local noise-control ordinances. The circuit court granted the Legion’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Legion was entitled to immunity as long the shooting range did not violate any local noise ordinances; and (2) section 16-105-52 did not violate Appellants’ constitutionally protected property rights. View "3 Rivers Logistics, Inc. v. Brown-Wright Post No. 158 of the American Legion, Department of Arkansas, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying, without a hearing, Appellant’s pro se petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1. In his petition, Appellant alleged that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in multiple instances. The trial court disagreed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant failed to meet the two-prong analysis set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984) that his counsel’s performance was deficient and that the deficient performed prejudiced his defense; and (2) the circuit court did not err in denying the petition for postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing. View "Gordon v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying, without a hearing, Appellant’s pro se petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1. In his petition, Appellant alleged that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in multiple instances. The trial court disagreed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant failed to meet the two-prong analysis set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984) that his counsel’s performance was deficient and that the deficient performed prejudiced his defense; and (2) the circuit court did not err in denying the petition for postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing. View "Gordon v. State" on Justia Law

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In this capital murder case, the Supreme Court denied Appellant’s motion to recall this court’s mandate in Appellant’s direct appeal, holding that there was no breakdown in the appellate process that would warrant recalling the mandate. Appellant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. The Supreme Court affirmed on direct appeal. Here, Appellant filed a motion to recall the mandate and stay his execution, arguing that he did not receive the minimum due-process requirements prescribed in Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68 (1985). Specifically, Appellant argued that the Supreme Court misapplied Ake, and therefore, he did not have access to an independent mental health expert to assist in his defense. The Supreme Court granted Appellant’s motion to stay his execution and took his motion to recall the mandate as a case. The court then denied the motion and lifted the stay of his execution, holding that because Appellant made the strategic decision not to pursue a partisan psychiatrist, there was not a “defect in the appellate process” that was attributable to this court upon its review. View "Davis v. State" on Justia Law