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Lemaster v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

April 16, 2015

ROGER LEMASTER, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE LONOKE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CR2009-310. HONORABLE BARBARA ELMORE, JUDGE.

Craig Lambert, for appellant.

Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Brad Newman, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

OPINION

Page 803

RHONDA K. WOOD, Associate Justice.

Roger Lemaster appeals the denial of his petition for postconviction relief under Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.

Page 804

Lemaster alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to play an audio recording, which Lemaster contends would have changed the outcome of his trial. We find no error in the circuit court's ruling and affirm the denial of Lemaster's petition.

I. Relevant Facts

Lemaster was convicted of raping his stepdaughter, and his conviction was affirmed by the court of appeals. Lemaster v. State, 2011 Ark.App. 128. Lemaster then filed a pro se petition for relief under Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37. Lemaster's petition alleged a number of grounds for relief, and the circuit court denied the petition without a hearing. We affirmed the majority of the circuit court's ruling, but reversed and remanded for an evidentiary hearing regarding the issue that forms the basis for the present appeal, i.e., whether Lemaster received ineffective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to introduce an audio recording of a message left for Lemaster by his stepdaughter and her mother, in which they seemingly taunt Lemaster about the rape charge and use a homosexual epithet to refer to him. Lemaster v. State, 2013 Ark. 449.

During the hearing on remand, the recording was played and Lemaster's trial counsel testified about why the recording was omitted from trial. The recording revealed the following conversation:

FEMALE 1: Roger, you're a faggot. (laughter)
FEMALE 2: He's not getting ...

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