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Smith v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

April 30, 2015

JAMES E. SMITH PETITIONER
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS RESPONDENT

Page 346

JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NO. 35CR-99-724.

DONALD ERIC WARREN, TERRENCE CAIN, ATTORNEY GENERAL.

OPINION

Page 347

PRO SE THIRD PETITION TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT TO CONSIDER A PETITION FOR WRIT OF ERROR CORAM NOBIS

PER CURIAM

In 2001, petitioner James E. Smith was found guilty by a jury of two counts of rape for engaging in sexual intercourse with his girlfriend's daughters when they were both under the age of fourteen. Petitioner testified at trial that he had sex with the victims, but he contended that they were eighteen and twenty years old when the acts occurred and that both had consented. Petitioner was sentenced to two consecutive terms of twenty years' imprisonment. The Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed. Smith v. State, CR-02-228 (Ark.App. Jan. 8, 2003) (unpublished) (original docket no. CACR 02-228).

After the judgment was affirmed, petitioner sought postconviction relief in the trial court in a pro se petition pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1 (2001). The petition was denied, and we affirmed the order. Smith v. State, CR-05-294, (Ark. Feb. 23, 2006) (unpublished per curiam).

In 2012, petitioner filed in this court a pro se petition, approximately 200 pages in length, to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a petition for writ of

Page 348

error coram nobis.[1] The petition was denied. Smith v. State, 2012 Ark. 403 (per curiam).

In 2014, petitioner filed a second petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a petition for writ of error coram nobis, which was also approximately 200 pages in length. In the petition, petitioner repeated most of the claims for relief alleged in the first petition, albeit in somewhat different language, pertaining to inconsistent statements made by the victims. We dismissed the petition on the ground that it was a successive petition that repeated the allegations contained in the first such petition and lacked merit. Smith v. State, 2014 Ark. 246, 456 S.W.3d 731 (per curiam).

On March 12, 2015, petitioner filed his third coram-nobis petition that is now before us, which is also approximately 200 pages in length. Again, petitioner repeats the assertions contained in the first and second petitions, contends that the prosecution fabricated evidence, argues that the evidence against him was insufficient to sustain the judgment, and alleges that there were errors made by the trial court in the admission of evidence.

We first note that a petition for leave to proceed in the trial court is necessary because the trial court can entertain a petition for writ of error coram nobis after a judgment has been affirmed on appeal only after we grant permission. Henderson v. State, 2014 ...


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