JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NO. 35CV-12-671. HONORABLE JODI RAINES DENNIS, JUDGE.
APPEAL DISMISSED; MOTIONS FOR STAY PENDING APPEAL AND FOR SUPERSEDEAS, TO SUPPLEMENT ADDENDUM, AND FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL MOOT; PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS DENIED.
Frederick Pennington, Jr., Pro se appellant.
PRO SE MOTIONS FOR STAY PENDING APPEAL AND FOR SUPERSEDEAS, TO SUPPLEMENT ADDENDUM, AND FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL, AND PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
In 1978, appellant Frederick Pennington, Jr., entered a negotiated plea of guilty in the Pulaski County Circuit Court to first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated robbery, and first-degree battery. He received concurrent sentences of life imprisonment for the charge of first-degree murder and each of the aggravated-robbery charges and 240 months' imprisonment for the battery charge. Appellant was a minor at the time of the commission of the crimes.
In 2012, appellant, who was incarcerated at a facility of the Arkansas Department of Correction located in Jefferson County, filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Jefferson County Circuit Court. In support of issuance of the writ, appellant alleged that his constitutional rights were violated when he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for crimes committed when he was a minor, that he is actually innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted, that he was denied a transfer hearing and a juvenile-detention hearing, and that he did not enter his guilty plea upon advice of competent counsel. Additionally, appellant filed multiple pleadings entitled " Amended and Supplemental Pleadings" on November 19, 27, 30, and December 6, 2012, in which he raised the same grounds for issuance of the writ as presented in his petition, as well as allegations of police brutality. The circuit court denied appellant's request for issuance of
the writ, and appellant timely filed a notice of appeal from the order.
Now before us are appellant's motions to stay and for supersedeas, to supplement the addendum, and for appointment of counsel, as well as a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Because it is clear that appellant could not prevail if the appeal were permitted to go forward, we dismiss the appeal, and the motions for stay and for supersedeas, to supplement the addendum, and for appointment of counsel are moot. In the petition for writ of habeas corpus, appellant raises the same allegations that were asserted in the petition and supplemental pleadings that were filed in the circuit court. Because we determine that appellant failed to state a basis for issuance of the writ in the petition and supplemental pleadings that were filed in and ruled on by the circuit court, we decline to address the petition filed directly in this court, and the petition is therefore denied.
In regard to appellant's appeal, an appeal from an order that denied a petition for postconviction relief, including an appeal from an order that denied a petition for writ of habeas corpus, will not be permitted to go forward where it is clear that the appellant could not prevail. Roberson v. State, 2013 Ark. 75 (per curiam). In appeals of postconviction proceedings, we will not reverse a circuit court's decision granting or denying postconviction relief unless it is clearly erroneous. Pankau v. State, 2013 Ark. 162. A finding is clearly erroneous when, although there is evidence to support it, the appellate court, after reviewing the entire evidence, is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed. Id.
A writ of habeas corpus is proper only when a judgment of conviction is invalid on its face or when a trial court lacked jurisdiction over the cause. Girley v. Hobbs, 2012 Ark. 447 (per curiam); Abernathy v. Norris, 2011 Ark. 335 (per curiam). The burden is on the petitioner in a habeas-corpus petition to establish that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction or that the commitment was invalid on its face; otherwise, there is no basis for a finding that a writ of habeas corpus should issue. Young v. Norris, 365 Ark. 219, 226 S.W.3d 797 (2006) (per curiam). Under our statute, a petitioner who does not allege his actual innocence and proceed under Act 1780 of 2001 Acts of Arkansas must plead either the facial invalidity or the lack of jurisdiction by the circuit court and must additionally make a showing by affidavit or ...