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Chatmon v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

March 17, 2016

ROLANDIS LARENZO CHATMON, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

Page 502

          APPEAL FROM DENIAL OF PRO SE PETITION FOR POSTCONVICTION RELIEF; PRO SE MOTION AND AMENDED MOTION TO REMAND AND MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL. FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NO. 23CR-12-571. HONORABLE CHARLES E. CLAWSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

          OPINION

Page 503

          PER CURIAM

         Rolandis Larenzo Chatmon appeals the denial of his pro se petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Rule 37.1 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure. Also pending are Chatmon's motion and amended motion to remand to the trial court, as well as his motion for appointment of counsel. Because it is clear from the record that Chatmon cannot prevail on appeal, we affirm and his motions are moot.

         On August 9, 2013, Chatmon was found guilty by a jury of three counts of aggravated robbery and one count of theft of property. He was sentenced, as a habitual offender with a firearm enhancement, to a term of three life sentences plus 360 months' imprisonment. His convictions resulted from the residential robbery of three individuals at gunpoint. His convictions and sentences were affirmed by this court on direct appeal. Chatmon v. State, 2015 Ark. 28, 467 S.W.3d 731.

         Chatmon filed a timely petition for postconviction relief. The trial court conducted a hearing and provided Chatmon with the opportunity to make additional arguments and allegations in support of his petition for postconviction relief. Following the hearing, the trial court denied relief and concluded that Chatmon's claims were without merit as either not cognizable in a Rule 37 proceeding or insufficient to meet the two-prong standard announced in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984).

         This court will not reverse the trial court's decision granting or denying postconviction relief unless it is clearly erroneous. Adkins v. State, 2015 Ark. 336, at 1, 469 S.W.3d 790, 794 (per curiam). 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. We will affirm if a trial court makes the correct decision even if it does so for a different reason. Jones v. State, 347 Ark. 409, 422, 64 S.W.3d 728, 737 (2002).

         For his first point on appeal, Chatmon alleges that his arrest was based on unreliable and thus insufficient evidence, an obstruction of justice, along with the " wholesale suppression" of exculpatory evidence; and that he is innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted. Generally, a challenge to the validity of an

Page 504

arrest warrant and a challenge to sufficiency of the evidence are not cognizable under Rule 37.1. Moten v. State, 2013 Ark. 503, at 4 (per curiam); Scott v. State, 2012 Ark. 199, at 6-7, 406 S.W.3d 1, 4 (per curiam).

          Chatmon's assertion that the police and prosecutor suppressed exculpatory evidence was not raised below and will not be addressed on appeal. Thornton v. State, 2014 Ark. 113, at 2 (per curiam) (An appellant cannot raise new arguments on appeal or add factual substantiation to the allegations made below.).

         For his second point on appeal, Chatmon alleges improper admission of prejudicial evidence. Claims of trial error that could have been addressed at trial and on the record on direct appeal are not grounds for relief under Rule 37.1. Stewart v. State, 2014 Ark. 419, at 10, 443 S.W.3d 538, 545 (per curiam). Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1 is not a means to challenge the admissibility of evidence. Id. (citing Watson v. State, 2012 Ark. 27, at 3 (per curiam)).

         In his third assignment of error, Chatmon insists that his right to a speedy trial was violated and that counsel waived his speedy-trial rights without his knowledge or consent. We have consistently held that claims based on a violation of the right to a speedy trial are a direct attack on the judgment, and such claims are not grounds for a collateral attack on the judgment under Rule 37.1. Fletcher v. State, 2015 Ark. 106, at 3, 458 S.W.3d 234, 238 (per curiam). Chatmon's claim that counsel was ineffective in waiving his right to a speedy trial without his knowledge or consent ...


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