MICHAEL W. WILLIAMS, APPELLANT
WENDY KELLEY, DIRECTOR, ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, APPELLEE
FROM THE LINCOLN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT AND MOTION FOR
APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL. 40CV-15-54. HONORABLE JODY RAINES
W. Williams, Pro se, appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Ashley Priest, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
1990, appellant Michael W. Williams was found guilty by a
jury of murder in the first degree, kidnapping, and
aggravated assault. He was sentenced to consecutive terms of
imprisonment of life, twenty years, and six years,
respectively. We affirmed. Williams v. State, 304
Ark. 509, 804 S.W.2d 346 (1991).
2015, Williams, who is incarcerated at a unit of the Arkansas
Department of Correction in Lincoln County, filed a petition
for a writ of habeas corpus in the Lincoln County Circuit
Court. The petition was dismissed, and
Williams brings this appeal.
circuit court's grant or denial of habeas relief will not
be reversed unless the court's findings are clearly
erroneous. Hobbs v. Gordon, 2014 Ark. 225, 434
S.W.3d 364. A finding is dearly erroneous when, although
there is evidence to support it, the appellate court is left,
after reviewing the entire evidence, with the definite and
firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.
our statute, a petitioner for the writ who does not allege
his actual innocence and proceed under Act 1780 of 2001 Acts
of Arkansas must plead either the facial invalidity of the
judgment or the lack of jurisdiction by the trial court and
make a showing by affidavit or other evidence of probable
cause to believe that he is illegally detained. Ark. Code
Ann. § 16-112-103(a)(1) (Rep!. 2006). The burden is on
the petitioner in proceedings for a writ of habeas corpus to
establish that the trial 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. Fields v. Hobbs, 2013 Ark. 416.
argued in the habeas proceeding that the judgment in his case
was illegal on its face because the trial court lacked
subject-matter jurisdiction to sentence him to life
imprisonment for first-degree murder. As authority for the
claim, he relied on our decision in Hale v. Hobbs,
2014 Ark. 405, 443 S.W.3d 533.
Hale, the judgment provided that Hale was sentenced
to life with the possibility of parole after one-third of his
sentence was served. We held that the trial court exceeded
its statutory authority to impose the sentence on the ground
that the sentencing statute in effect at the time Hale
committed the offense did not allow for parole when the
defendant was sentenced to a life term. Hale, 2014
Ark. 405, at 5, 443 S.W.3d at, 535.
attached to his habeas petition a copy of an interoffice
memorandum from the records supervisor at the unit of the
Arkansas Department of Correction where he is incarcerated
that listed his sentence as " life with parole."
However, he also appended to the petition a copy of the
judgment in his case that provides that he is sentenced to
life imprisonment and that portion of the trial transcript
wherein the court pronounced a sentence of life. Neither the
judgment nor the transcript mentions parole.
murder was a Class Y felony under Arkansas Code An notated
section 5-10-102(c) (1987) when Williams committed that
offense. In accordance with Arkansas Code Annotated section
5-4-401(a)(1) (1987), Williams was subject at that time to a
sentence of not less than ten years and not more than forty
years, or life. Williams was not eligible for parole pursuant
to Arkansas Code Annotated section 16-93-607(c)(1) and (d)
(1987). The fact that an error was made on a document
generated by the Records Supervisor did not render the
judgment invalid on its face. The face of the judgment
entered when Williams was convicted did not provide for
parole as the judgment in Hale provided, and it was
not illegal on its face. Accordingly, Hale did not
respect to Williams's assertion that the court in his
case lacked subject-matter jurisdiction, subject-matter
jurisdiction is the power of the court to hear and determine
the subject matter in controversy between the parties.
Bradley v. State, 2015 Ark. 144, at 6, 459 S.W.3d
302, 306. A court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction if it
cannot hear a matter under any circumstances and is wholly
incompetent to grant the relief sought. Id. Williams
offered no grounds on which it could be said that the trial
court lacked jurisdiction to hear his criminal case.
the circuit court did not err when it declined to grant a
writ of habeas corpus on the allegations raised by Williams,
we affirm the court's order. We also find that
Williams's motion for ...