FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. CR-2014-229-1]
HONORABLE JOHN HOMER WRIGHT, JUDGE
Raynolds Law Firm, P.A., by: Emily J. Reynolds, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Ashley Argo Priest, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
Kenyon Taylor appeals from his convictions for first-degree
murder, first-degree battery, and a firearm enhancement, for
which he received an aggregate sentence of fifty-five
years' imprisonment. Pursuant to Anders v.
California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), and Rule 4-3(k) of the
Rules of the Arkansas Supreme Court, Taylor's counsel has
filed a motion to be relieved as his attorney, alleging that
this appeal is without merit. Counsel has also filed a brief
in which she contends that all adverse rulings have been
abstracted and discussed. In addition, Taylor has exercised
his right to file pro se points for reversal. We deny
counsel's motion to withdraw at this time and order
rebriefing due to counsel's failure to abstract and
discuss all adverse rulings in compliance with Rule 4-3(k).
April 2014, Taylor was charged with one count of murder in
the first degree in connection with the death of Randy
Shinkle on June 24, 2012. Taylor was also charged with
criminal attempt to commit murder in the first degree in
connection with the shooting of Juan Santiago, in addition to
a felony firearm enhancement. The attempted-murder charge was
subsequently reduced to battery in the first degree. After a
jury trial, Taylor was found guilty of all charges and
received consecutive sentences of forty years'
imprisonment for the murder conviction, five years for the
battery conviction, and ten years for the firearm
enhancement. The amended sentencing order was entered on
October 2, 2014, and Taylor filed a timely notice of appeal.
that there would be no merit to an appeal, Taylor's
counsel has filed a motion to withdraw and a no-merit brief
with this court in which she alleges that all adverse rulings
have been abstracted and discussed in accordance with
Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 4-3(k) (2015). Counsel asserts
that the only rulings that were adverse to Taylor were the
denial of his directed-verdict motions and the denial of his
objection to the jury instruction on the firearm enhancement.
However, our review of the record reveals that there were
additional adverse rulings that were either not abstracted or
discussed by counsel, and we must therefore deny
counsel's motion to withdraw and order rebriefing.
criminal no-merit appeal, in order to comply with Arkansas
Supreme Court Rule 4-3(k)(1) and Anders,
supra, counsel is required to abstract each adverse
ruling by the circuit court and discuss why each particular
ruling would not present a meritorious basis for reversal; we
must order rebriefing if counsel fails to do so. Sartin
v. State, 2010 Ark. 16, 362 S.W.3d 877. In the present
case, there were at least two objections by the State that
were sustained by the circuit court during cross-examination
of witnesses for the prosecution, and counsel has failed to
abstract these rulings. In addition, there were numerous
other adverse rulings that are abstracted, but counsel fails
to discuss why these rulings would not present a meritorious
issue for appeal. Furthermore, we note that counsel's
discussion of the two adverse rulings that are mentioned in
her brief is conclusory and inadequate, consisting only of
counsel's bare assertions that "there was sufficient
evidence to support the jury's verdict and the trial
court's sentencing, " that Taylor "has no
arguable claim to raise" on appeal, and that the circuit
court "did not err in denying the Defense's motion
for directed verdict of acquittal and denying the objection
to the firearm enhancement." This is clearly
insufficient to meet the requirements of Rule 4-3(k)(1).
See, e.g., Weaver v. State, 2013 Ark.App.
310 (holding that it is counsel's responsibility in a
no-merit brief to set forth the evidence that supports the
verdict and to demonstrate to us how it is, in fact,
sufficient to support the verdict and why it provides no
basis for a meritorious appeal).
the no-merit brief in this case is deficient, we order
counsel to file a substituted abstract, brief, and addendum
within fifteen days from the date of this opinion. Ark. Sup.
Ct. R. 4-2(b)(3). The deficiencies noted above should not be
taken as an exhaustive list, and we encourage counsel to
review the requirements contained in Rule 4-3(k)(1) prior to
filing a substituted brief. We express no opinion as to
whether the substituted appeal should address the merits or
should be made pursuant to Rule 4-3(k)(1). If a no-merit
brief is filed, counsel's motion and brief will be
forwarded by the clerk to Taylor so that, within thirty days,
he will again have the opportunity to raise any points he
chooses in accordance with Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 4-3(k)(2). In
either instance, the State shall be afforded the opportunity
to file a brief in response.
ordered; motion ...