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McClinton v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

December 15, 2016

EDMOND MCCLINTON, JR. APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

         PRO SE APPEAL FROM THE JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 35CR-12-106] HONORABLE JODI RAINES DENNIS, JUDGE

         AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED AND REMANDED IN PART.

          Edmond McClinton, Jr., pro se appellant.

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

          PER CURIAM

         Appellant Edmond McClinton, Jr. was convicted of raping a mentally handicapped, sixteen-year-old girl and was sentenced as a habitual offender to a term of life imprisonment. His conviction and sentence were affirmed by this court. McClinton v. State, 2015 Ark. 245, 464 S.W.3d 913, cert. Denied, ___ U.S.___, 136 S.Ct. 367 (2015). The mandate issued on July 23, 2015. On September 22, 2015, McClinton filed in the trial court a pro se petition under Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1 (2015) and motion for error coram nobis. On November 18, 2015, the trial court dismissed the petition for postconviction relief and coram-nobis relief, and McClinton lodged an appeal from the denial.

         On appeal, McClinton contends that his postconviction petition was not untimely as the trial court held because the postmark on his petition indicates it was mailed on September 16, 2015, well before the September 21, 2016 due-date, and that the file-mark of September 22, 2015, is a clerical error. He further contends he is entitled to coram-nobis relief because his conviction "rest[ed] upon errors of fact[, ]" including that there was no evidence or signs of sexual intercourse; the police-evidence log did not have the DNA used at trial in its records; there was no probable cause supporting his arrest; evidence should have been suppressed; he did not have a preliminary hearing after his arrest; his counsel refused to argue various violations of his due-process rights and counsel was otherwise ineffective; and the jury "convicted [him] without burden of proof."

         Rule 37.2(c) requires that, when an appeal was taken of the judgment of conviction, a petition under the Rule must be filed in the trial court within sixty days of the date the mandate is issued by the appellate court. Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.2(c)(ii); see Hunt v. State, 2016 Ark. 168 (per curiam) (Petitioner's Rule 37.1 petition was untimely filed on the sixty-first day after the mandate issued.). The time requirements are mandatory, and, when a petition under Rule 37.1 is not timely filed, a trial court shall not grant postconviction relief. Hunt, 2016 Ark. 168; see Joslin v. State, 2015 Ark. 328 (per curiam).

         Although this court adopted limited implementation of the prison-mailbox rule through amendments to Rule 37 effective September 1, 2015, as McClinton indicates, a petition under Rule 37.1 is not deemed filed on the date an incarcerated inmate deposited his or her petition in the prison facility's legal mail system unless conditions that are set out in the Rule have been satisfied. See Anderson v. Kelley, 2016 Ark. 46 (per curiam); see also In re Ark. Sup. Ct. Comm. on Criminal Practice-Ark. R. App. P.-Crim. 2 & Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.2, 2015 Ark. 296 (per curiam). Those requirements under Rule 37.2(g) include: on the date the petition is deposited in the mail, the petitioner is confined in a state correctional facility, a federal correctional facility, or a regional or county detention facility that maintains a system designed for legal mail; the petition is filed pro se; the petition is deposited with first-class postage prepaid, addressed to the clerk of the circuit court; and the petition contains a notarized statement by the petitioner in the form as follows:

I declare under penalty of perjury:
that I am incarcerated in ___ [name of facility];
that I am filing this petition pro se;
that the petition is being deposited in the facility's legal mail ...

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