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Barker v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

November 6, 2014

LARRY EUGENE BARKER, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

Counsel Amended December 12, 2014.

MOTION TO FILE A BELATED REPLY BRIEF. PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NO. 60CV-13-3405. HONORABLE TIMOTHY DAVIS FOX, JUDGE.

Larry Eugene Barker, Pro se

For Appellee: ATTORNEY GENERAL

No response.

OPINION

PRO SE

Page 198

PER CURIAM

Appellant Larry Eugene Barker has been an inmate in the Arkansas Department of Correction (" ADC" ) since October 7, 2003. On August 26, 2013, the State filed a petition pursuant to the State Prison Inmate Care and Custody Reimbursement Act (" Inmate Reimbursement Act" ), codified at Arkansas Code Annotated sections 12-29-501 to -507 (Repl. 2009), seeking the sum of $6140.24 held in appellant's inmate account[1] as reimbursement for a portion of the cost of housing appellant in the ADC. Granting the State's motion for leave to deposit funds, the circuit court ordered the sum of $6140.42 held in appellant's inmate account to be deposited into the registry of the court in order to preserve the funds. At the hearing, the State introduced evidence that appellant had been in the custody of the ADC for 3817 days and that the total cost of providing for his care and custody during this time period was $214,863.94. The circuit court found that the State had proven its claim to reimbursement in an amount that exceeded the $6140.24 on deposit in the registry of the court and that appellant had not proven a valid defense to the State's claim. The circuit court then ordered the clerk of the court to issue payment of $6140.24 to the State for deposit into the Arkansas State Treasury. Appellant has lodged an appeal from that order, and the parties have timely filed their briefs.

Now before us is appellant' s motion to file a belated reply brief. As it is clear from the record and the filed briefs that appellant could not prevail if the appeal were permitted to go forward, the order is affirmed, and the motion is moot.

The appropriate standard of review on appeal from a bench trial is not whether there is substantial evidence to support the findings of the circuit court, but whether the circuit court's findings were clearly erroneous or clearly against the preponderance of the evidence. King v. City of Harrisburg, 2014 Ark. 183. A finding is clearly erroneous when, although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed. Id. Issues of statutory interpretation are reviewed de novo. MacKool v. State, 2012 Ark. 287, 423 S.W.3d 28 (per curiam).

Appellant first argues on appeal that the trial judge allowed his case to be " railroaded" through the trial court and that the hearing was staged as a formality. In support of his claim, appellant refers to the Assistant Attorney General having a prepared order at the hearing, " everyone" already present in the courtroom when he arrived at the hearing, the location of his chair in the courtroom, the trial judge's alleged expression of surprise at the cost of his housing, and the trial judge's alleged inference during the hearing that the State's request for relief would be granted. Appellant also describes the challenges that he faced in lodging his appeal. Because appellant failed to raise his claim before the circuit court, the argument was waived. It is well settled that this court will not address an issue raised for the first time on appeal, even a constitutional argument. Scudder v. Ramsey, 2013 Ark. 115, 426 S.W.3d 427.

Appellant next contends that the enforcement of the Inmate Reimbursement Act constituted unlawful discrimination in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. In a related point, he argues that the Equal Protection Clause of ...


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