FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIFTH DIVISION [NO.
60CR-14-910] HONORABLE WENDELL GRIFFEN, JUDGE
William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, and Mac Carder,
Deputy Public Defender, by: Margaret Egan, Deputy Public
Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rachel Kemp, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge
Aronde Thompson appeals from the Pulaski County Circuit
Court's revocation of his probation for two convictions
for which he was sentenced to twelve months in the county
jail and thirty days in the county jail, respectively. The
thirty-day sentence was to run concurrently to the
twelve-month sentence. On appeal, he argues that the trial
court erred by sentencing him to twelve months'
imprisonment and not giving him credit for jail time
previously ordered. He also argues that the trial court erred
by sentencing him to thirty days in jail after it had lost
jurisdiction to do so. We reverse and remand.
pled no contest to third-degree domestic battering, a Class A
misdemeanor, and fleeing, a Class C misdemeanor, on or around
July 17, 2015. He was placed on twelve months' probation
for the battery charge, and he was also ordered to serve
twenty days in jail on both charges, to run concurrently to
each other. As a condition of his probation, appellant
was ordered to complete a domestic violence program and
provide proof of completion. He was also prohibited from
violating any law punishable by imprisonment. The State filed
a petition for revocation on January 11, 2016, alleging that
appellant had violated the terms and conditions of his
probation by committing a new offense, third-degree domestic
battering. The State amended the petition on April 1, 2016,
to include the allegation that appellant had failed to attend
and complete domestic-violence classes.
hearing took place on April 4, 2016, and a plea statement for
the revocation petition was filed that same day. The
sentencing hearing took place on May 5, 2016. At the
conclusion of the hearing, the trial court accepted the
presentence recommendation and sentenced appellant
accordingly. This appeal followed.
first point on appeal is that the trial court erred when it
failed to give him twenty days' jail credit. According to
appellant, this failure resulted in the court sentencing him
"in excess of the 365 days for which an 'A'
misdemeanor is limited, " resulting in his sentence
being illegal. We agree that appellant's sentence was
illegal. An illegal sentence is one that the trial court
lacked the authority to impose. Appellant originally pled no
contest to a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a possible
sentence of no more than twelve months'
imprisonment. However, appellant was sentenced to both
twenty days in jail and twelve months' probation in
contravention of our statute, which states that "the
court shall not sentence a defendant to imprisonment and
place him or her on probation, except as authorized by
Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-4-304." Section
5-4-304(a) allows a court to order a defendant to serve a
period of confinement as an additional condition of
probation. However, the original sentencing order in this
case does not show that the twenty days' confinement was
a condition of appellant's probation. Because
appellant's original sentence was illegal on its face, we
reverse and remand for the court to enter a corrected
sentencing order consistent with our statute.
second point on appeal, appellant contends that the trial
court was without jurisdiction to sentence him to thirty days
in the county jail for the Class C misdemeanor. According to
appellant, this resulted in an illegal sentence because the
court had lost jurisdiction to sentence him to additional
jail time for the fleeing charge. The State contends that
this issue is moot. As a general rule, the appellate courts
of this state will not review issues that are
moot. A case becomes moot when any judgment
rendered would have no practical legal effect upon a
then-existing controversy. However, our supreme court recently
held that the mootness doctrine does not bar a direct appeal
from a misdemeanor conviction even when the appellant had
already served his sentence. Thus, we disagree with the State
that this issue is moot. The maximum sentence for a Class C
misdemeanor is thirty days. Based on the original sentencing
order, appellant was sentenced to twenty days in jail, but he
was not placed on any additional probation for that charge.
Therefore, when the court revoked appellant's probation,
there was no probation to revoke. Accordingly, the court was
without jurisdiction to sentence appellant to thirty days in
jail. Thus, we reverse the trial court on this point.
and remanded for sentencing consistent with this opinion.
Harrison and Hixson, JJ., agree.
The court gave him twenty-eight
days' jail credit and found that his jail sentence had