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Pigg v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

March 10, 2016

EARL DELMAR PIGG, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE CRAWFORD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NOS. 17CR-12-35 & 17CR-12-417. HONORABLE GARY COTTRELL, JUDGE.

         Earl Delmar Pigg, Pro se, appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Christian Harris, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          OPINION

Page 752

          PRO SE

         PER CURIAM

         In 2013, appellant Earl Delmar Pigg was found guilty of eleven counts of rape of a victim who was less than fourteen years of age and one count of interference with custody. Pigg received consecutive life sentences for all eleven counts of rape and an additional term of 120 months' imprisonment, also to be served consecutively to the life sentences, for the interference charge. This court affirmed the judgment. Pigg v. State, 2014 Ark. 433, 444 S.W.3d 863. Pigg filed in the

Page 753

trial court a petition for postconviction relief under Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1 (2015). Following an evidentiary hearing, the court denied relief, considering both the original petition and a supplemental petition, and Pigg brings this appeal. We affirm the order denying postconviction relief.

         This court will not reverse a trial court's decision granting or denying postconviction relief unless it is clearly erroneous. Houghton v. State, 2015 Ark. 252, 464 S.W.3d 922. A finding is clearly erroneous when, although there is evidence to support it, the appellate court, after reviewing the entire evidence, is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed. Id. Pigg alleges seven points for reversal.[1]

         In his first point on appeal, Pigg contends that the trial court failed to provide the findings of fact and conclusions of law required under Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.3. When the trial court does not summarily deny relief on a Rule 37.1 petition without a hearing under Rule 37.3(a), the court must determine the issues and make written findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect to those issues. Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.3(c). This court has consistently remanded when the trial court failed to enter any written findings following a hearing, and we remand when the findings provided are not adequate for our review. Magness v. State, 2015 Ark. 185, 461 S.W.3d 337 (per curiam).

         When the trial court provides written findings on at least one, but less than all of the claims in the petition, however, the appellant has an obligation to obtain a ruling on any omitted issues to be considered on appeal. Id. Any claim on which the appellant failed to obtain a ruling is procedurally barred from our review. Fisher v. State, 364 Ark. 216, 217 S.W.3d 117 (2005). The trial court provided written findings. Although Pigg contends that the trial court's findings on the issues were conclusory, as we discuss in turn below, the court's findings are adequate for our review of those remaining issues that were addressed by the trial court and raised on appeal.

          The other points raised in Pigg's brief-in-chief address his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Our standard for ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims is the two-prong analysis set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). Rasul v. State, 2015 Ark. 118, 458 S.W.3d 722. To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, the petitioner must show that (1) counsel's performance was deficient and (2) the deficient performance prejudiced his defense. Mister v. State, 2014 Ark. 446. Unless a petitioner makes both showings, the allegations do not meet the benchmark for assessing a claim of ineffective assistance. Houghton, 2015 Ark. 252, 464 S.W.3d 922.

         Counsel is presumed effective, and allegations without factual substantiation are insufficient to overcome that presumption. Henington v. State, 2012 Ark. 181, 403 S.W.3d 55. A petitioner, in claiming deficiency, must show that counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, and this court must indulge in a strong presumption that counsel's ...


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