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Adams v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

December 17, 2014

JOHN EARL ADAMS, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SEVENTH DIVISION. NO. 60CR-13-919. HONORABLE BARRY SIMS, JUDGE.

AFFIRMED.

Cheryl Barnard, Deputy Public Defender, by: Clint Miller, Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.

Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Laura Shue, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge. GLADWIN, C.J., and HIXSON, J., agree.

OPINION

Page 114

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge

Appellant John Adams appeals from an order of the Pulaski County Circuit Court sentencing him to a total of nine years' imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of Correction. He argues that the sentences imposed by the circuit court exceeded the maximum sentences that could be imposed and were therefore illegal. We disagree and affirm.

Adams entered guilty pleas to five separate felony offenses in August 2008. In those five cases, the Pulaski County Circuit Court sentenced him to concurrent sentences of twenty years' imprisonment, with nine of those years suspended. In July 2010, Adams pleaded guilty to another felony; for this offense, he was sentenced to six years in prison with four years suspended. Subsequently, on the same date in March 2013, the State filed petitions to revoke in all six felony cases, alleging that Adams had violated the terms of his suspended imposition of sentences (SIS) by committing two new counts of theft by receiving. Adams entered pleas of guilty to the six revocation petitions and to one count of theft by receiving. The guilty pleas were entered without a negotiated agreement for sentencing. As a result, the circuit court was to determine the sentence to be imposed.

The circuit court held a sentencing hearing at which counsel for both the State and Adams presented arguments pertaining to sentencing. The court sentenced Adams, in the five cases in which he originally received nine years' SIS, to nine years in

Page 115

prison; in the one case in which Adams had been sentenced to four years' SIS, the court sentenced him to four years' imprisonment. The six sentences were ordered to run concurrently, for a total of nine years.

On appeal, Adams argues that the sentences imposed by the circuit court were illegal.[1] He contends that the longest sentence the circuit court could have imposed upon revocation was fifty-seven months.

Sentencing in Arkansas is entirely a matter of statute, which requires our court to review this question of statutory interpretation de novo. Buckley v. State, 349 Ark. 53, 76 S.W.3d 825 (2002); Ward v. State, 97 Ark.App. 294, 248 S.W.3d 489. Adams relies on Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-4-307(c) (Repl. 2006), which provides that " [i]f a court sentences a defendant to a term of imprisonment and suspends imposition of sentence as to an additional term of imprisonment, the period of the suspension commences to run on the day the defendant is lawfully set at liberty from the imprisonment." He asserts that, under this statute, the nine-year periods of SIS began to run on the day he was released from the Arkansas Department of Correction, or July 7, 2009. Adams pleaded guilty to the revocation petitions on October 28, 2013. Adams therefore maintains that the time period between July 7, 2009, and October 28, 2013 (four years and three months, or fifty-one months), along with his original eleven-year sentence of ...


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