APPEAL FROM THE JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO.
35CV-16-634] HONORABLE JODI RAINES DENNIS, JUDGE
Lee Williams, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Kathryn Henry, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
COURTNEY HUDSON GOODSON, Associate Justice
Jackie Lee Williams filed a pro se petition for writ of
habeas corpus in the circuit court of the county where he
was, and remains incarcerated in an Arkansas Department of
Correction facility on consecutive sentences imposed on three
convictions for rape. The circuit court dismissed the
petition, and this appeal followed. We affirm.
1995, Williams was charged by information with three counts
of rape, each involving a different occasion and a different
victim, and the offenses were severed for trial. Williams was
first tried and convicted by a jury on the second count in
the information, and he received, as a habitual offender, a
sentence of twenty-five years' imprisonment. The Arkansas
Court of Appeals affirmed that judgment. Williams v.
State, CR-96-725 (Ark. App. Apr. 2, 1997) (unpublished).
This court affirmed the judgment convicting Williams on the
third count of rape, for which he received a life sentence.
Williams v. State, 331 Ark. 263, 962 S.W.2d 329
(1998). We also affirmed Williams's conviction and life
sentence for the final charge, which was the first count of
rape in the information. Williams v. State,
CR-97-1499 (Ark. May 4, 2000) (unpublished).
twice previously sought habeas relief, and in both instances,
this court affirmed the denial of that relief. Williams
v. Norris, CV-03-1401 (Ark. March 31, 2005) (unpublished
per curiam); Williams v. Norris, CR-98-1027 (Ark.
Jan. 20, 2000) (unpublished per curiam). Williams has also
unsuccessfully pursued relief from the judgments through a
petition to correct an illegal sentence under Arkansas Code
Annotated section 16-90-111 (Repl. 2016), and this court
affirmed the denial of that petition. Williams v.
State, 2016 Ark. 16, 479 S.W.3d 544 (per curiam).
petition that is the subject of this appeal, Williams alleged
that the trial court was without jurisdiction to impose two
of the three sentences because the information was defective
in including all three charges under the same case number,
that he was denied fair trials, that his speedy-trial rights
had been violated, and that his second and third trials
violated the prohibition against double jeopardy. Williams
reasserts these claims on appeal, contending that the circuit
court erred in dismissing his petition.
review, this court will not reverse the circuit court's
decision granting or denying postconviction relief, including
the grant or denial of a habeas petition, unless it is
clearly erroneous. Hobbs v. Gordon, 2014 Ark. 225,
at 4, 434 S.W.3d 364, 367. 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
of habeas corpus is proper when a judgment of conviction is
invalid on its face or when a circuit court lacks
jurisdiction over the cause. Philyaw v. Kelley, 2015
Ark. 465, 477 S.W.3d 503. Under our statute, a petitioner for
the writ who does not allege his actual innocence and proceed
under Act 1780 of 2001 Acts of Arkansas must plead either the
facial invalidity of the judgment or the lack of jurisdiction
by the trial court and make a showing by affidavit or other
evidence of probable cause to believe that he is being
illegally detained. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-112-103(a)(1)
(Repl. 2006). Unless the petitioner in proceedings for a writ
of habeas corpus can show that the trial court lacked
jurisdiction or that the commitment was invalid on its face,
there is no basis for a finding that a writ of habeas corpus
should issue. Fields v. Hobbs, 2013 Ark. 416.
Williams did not invoke Act 1780, and he failed to make the
requisite showing for the writ to issue.
of a defective information that raise a jurisdictional issue,
such as those that raise a claim of an illegal sentence, are
cognizable in a habeas proceeding, but allegations of a
defective information are not generally considered to be
jurisdictional and are treated as trial error.
Philyaw, 2015 Ark. 465, 477 S.W.3d 503. Assertions
of trial error and due-process claims do not implicate the
facial validity of the judgment or the jurisdiction of the
trial court. Id. Williams contends that the
information charging him with three separate rape charges did
so in error, but joinder of offenses of the same or similar
character is permitted under Arkansas Rule of Criminal
Procedure 21.1(a) (2016). Clay v. State, 318 Ark.
550, 886 S.W.2d 608 (1994). Our liberal joinder rules are
tempered by the severance rules, and Rule 22.2 provides an
absolute right for severance in cases where offenses are
joined solely because those offenses are of the same or
similar character. Ark. R. Crim. P. 22.2(a); Turner v.
State, 2011 Ark. 111, 380 S.W.3d 400. Williams's
claim that the failure to assign a different case number to
the severed proceedings failed to provide him with adequate
due process is the type of claim constituting trial error
that must have been raised at trial and is not cognizable in
issues are also not cognizable in habeas proceedings.
Davis v. State, 2011 Ark. 6 (per curiam) (citing
Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972), for the
proposition that the right to a speedy trial may be waived).
Allegations of speedy-trial violations are, like
Williams's claim of a defective information, assertions
of trial error that do not implicate the facial validity of
the judgment or the jurisdiction of the trial court.
Poland v. Kelley, 2015 Ark. 401 (per curiam).
raised similar claims concerning a double-jeopardy violation
in his petition to correct an illegal sentence, and as we
held in that case, the type of claim that he makes concerning
double jeopardy does not implicate the facial validity of the
judgment and does not raise a jurisdictional issue.
Williams, 2016 Ark. 16, at 3-4, 479 S.W.3d 544,
545-46. While some double-jeopardy claims are cognizable in
habeas corpus proceedings, where the petitioner does not show
that on the face of the commitment order there was an illegal
sentence imposed, the claim does not implicate the
jurisdiction of the court to hear the case, and the claim is
not one that is cognizable. Fields, 2013 Ark. 416,
at 2. Moreover, Williams's allegation of a
double-jeopardy violation is inconsistent with his assertion
that the three rapes were separate, unrelated offenses. There
is no constitutional barrier to ...