FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT AND PRO SE PETITION FOR
WRIT OF CERTIORARI [NO. 26CR-12-490] HONORABLE MARCIA R.
HEARNSBERGER, JUDGE AFFIRMED; PETITION MOOT.
Lee Felty, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Adam Jackson, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee
2015, appellant David Felty was found guilty of capital
felony murder and sentenced as a habitual offender to life
imprisonment without parole. We affirmed. Felty v.
State, 2016 Ark.65, 482 S.W.3d 715.
5, 2016, Felty timely filed in the trial court a verified pro
se petition for postconviction relief pursuant to Arkansas
Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1 (2015). Felty's petition
did not comply with the requirements of Rule 37.1(b), which
provides that a petition under Rule 37 must meet certain
procedural requirements, including limits on the width of
margins, the number of lines per page, and the number of
words per line. Because the petition did not comply with the
Rule, the trial court dismissed it. Felty, proceeding pro se,
brings this appeal from the order. He has also filed a
petition for writ of certiorari to supplement the record on
appeal with a copy of the motion to be relieved as counsel
that his trial attorney filed in the trial court after the
trial was completed but before the notice of appeal was filed
by another attorney. It is Felty's desire that the
motion, once received from the circuit clerk, be added as an
exhibit to the brief that he has filed in this appeal.
order dismissing the Rule 37.1 petition is affirmed because
it is clear from the record that the trial court did not err
in dismissing the petition. The affirmance of the order
renders the petition for writ of certiorari moot.
standard of review in Rule 37.1 proceedings is that, on
appeal from a trial court's ruling on a petitioner's
request for Rule 37.1 relief, this court will not reverse the
trial court's decision granting or denying postconviction
relief unless it is clearly erroneous. Beavers v.
State, 2016 Ark. 277, 495 S.W.3d 76. 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. Felty raises a number of
issues in his brief to excuse his failure to comply with the
Rule, but none of the claims establishes that the trial
court's decision was clearly erroneous.
failure to comply with Rule 37.1(b) is not a jurisdictional
defect, and the trial court may rule on a petition that does
not conform to the Rule, but the court is not required to do
so. Randle v. State, 2016 Ark. 228, at 5, 493 S.W.3d
309, 310 (per curiam). When a petitioner timely files his
verified petition that does not comply with Rule 37.1(b), the
trial court has the discretion to act on the merits of the
petition, dismiss it without prejudice to filing a petition
that conforms to Rule 37.1(b), or dismiss the petition.
Smith v. State, 2015 Ark. 23, at 2, 454 S.W.3d 219,
220-21 (per curiam). Although there is no constitutional
right to a postconviction proceeding, when a state undertakes
to provide collateral relief, due process requires only that
the proceeding be fundamentally fair. Davis v.
366 (per curiam). The fundamental requirement of due process
is the opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a
meaningful manner. Id. Due process does not require
courts to provide an unlimited opportunity to present
postconviction claims. Watkins v. State, 2010 Ark.
156, 362 S.W.3d 910 (per curiam); Maulding v. State,
299 Ark. 570, 776 S.W.2d 339 (1989) (per curiam). This court
has held that certain procedural requirements or other
limitations on postconviction relief do not violate the right
to due process. See Croft v. State, 2010 Ark. 83
(per curiam) (a petition under the Rule not verified in
accordance with Rule 37.1(c) is subject to dismissal);
Robinson v. State, 295 Ark. 693, 751 S.W.2d 335
(1988) (per curiam) (requiring a petition for postconviction
relief to meet certain threshold requirements is
fundamentally fair). Placing certain limitations on the
length and form of petitions under the Rule has been held to
be an entirely reasonable restriction on petitioners seeking
postconviction relief. See Smith, 2015 Ark. 23, at
3-4, 454 S.W.3d 219, 221; Davis, 2010 Ark. 366.
argues that the circumstances of his incarceration prevented
him from complying with Rule 37.1(b). This court, while
recognizing that persons who are incarcerated may face
certain obstacles in pursuing access to the courts, may take
judicial notice that appeals from postconviction orders are
frequently lodged in this court by incarcerated persons who
have filed petitions that conform to Rule 37.1(b). The fact
that those conforming petitions are filed by petitioners who
also may be assumed to confront certain hurdles occasioned by
their incarceration suggests that Rule 37.1(b) is not unduly
burdensome. See Smith, 2015 Ark. 23, at 3, 454
S.W.3d 219, 221.
also contends that his lack of counsel to assist him in the
Rule 37.1 proceeding hindered his ability to file a
conforming petition. He cites Martinez v. Ryan, 566
U.S. 1 (2012), as authority for the proposition that any
defect should be excused. While this court is not unmindful
of the holdings by the United States Supreme Court in
Martinez v. Ryan, 566 U.S. 1 (2012), but we have
specifically noted that Martinez does not require
this court to forgo procedural rules that serve to streamline
the process by which petitioners present claims for
postconviction relief to the trial courts. Smith,
2015 Ark. 23, at 4-5, 454 S.W.3d 219, 222. This is because
the prompt and orderly disposition of petitions for