FROM THE CLARK COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 10CR-14-35]
HONORABLE ROBERT McCALLUM, JUDGE
Gregory L. Vardaman, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Karen Virginia Wallace,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge
Christopher Reynolds was convicted by a Clark County jury of
one count of first-degree domestic battery and was sentenced
to fourteen 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 and Court of Appeals,
Reynolds's attorney has filed a motion to withdraw as
counsel on the ground that the appeal is wholly without
merit. The motion is accompanied by an abstract, brief, and
addendum purporting to list all adverse rulings and to
explain why each adverse ruling is not a meritorious ground
for reversal. Reynolds was provided a copy of counsel's
brief and notified of his right to file a list of points
within thirty days; he filed pro se points, and the State
filed a responsive brief. Because counsel has not filed a
brief that complies with Rule 4-3(k), however, we must order
rebriefing at this time.
4-3(k), which is based on Anders, sets forth the
framework for constitutionally permissible no-merit briefs.
In order to satisfy Rule 4-3(k) and the framework set forth
in Anders, counsel is required to file an abstract
and addendum of the proceedings below, including all
objections and motions decided adversely to appellant, and a
brief in which counsel explains why there is nothing in the
record that would support an appeal. Jackson v.
State, 2015 Ark.App. 400, at 1-2 (citing Kou Her
v. State, 2015 Ark. 91, at 2). Rule 4-3(k)(1) states in
A request to withdraw on the ground that the appeal is wholly
without merit shall be accompanied by a brief including an
abstract and Addendum. The brief shall contain an
argument section that consists of a list of all rulings
adverse to the defendant made by the circuit court on all
objections, motions and requests made by either party with an
explanation as to why each adverse ruling is not a
meritorious ground for reversal.
(Emphasis added.) A no-merit brief that fails to address an
adverse ruling does not satisfy the requirements of Rule
4-3(k)(1) and must be rebriefed. Jackson, 2015
Ark.App. 400, at 2 (citing Sartin v. State, 2010
Ark. 16, 362 S.W.3d 877 (per curiam)).
brief, Reynolds's counsel asserts that "the only
rulings adverse to Appellant were the court's denial of
his motion for directed verdict as to the charge of Domestic
Battery 1st Degree, and the Court's denial of the use of
Defendant's proffered jury instruction, AMCI2d, 2610 . .
. to include the definition of 'under circumstances
manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human
life.'" These rulings are appropriately addressed in
review of the record, however, reveals at least eight other
adverse evidentiary rulings during trial. Counsel properly
abstracted these objections and adverse rulings, but he did
not discuss them in his brief. In addition, counsel failed to
abstract a pretrial bond- reduction hearing during which the
court sustained the State's three relevancy objections.
Evidentiary rulings must be abstracted and discussed. See
Collier v. State, 2013 Ark.App. 119 (ordering rebriefing
where two adverse evidentiary rulings were abstracted but not
discussed by counsel in appellant's brief). Additionally,
Reynolds filed an unsuccessful posttrial motion for an appeal
bond; although the order denying this motion is in the
addendum, counsel does not address it on appeal. This ruling
must likewise be discussed in a no-merit brief. See Reed
v. State, 2013 Ark.App. 14 (ordering rebriefing where
counsel failed to discuss the circuit court's refusal to
approve an appeal bond) (citing Boen v. State, 2009
Ark.App. 535, 336 S.W.3d 883).
motion to withdraw must therefore be denied. Counsel is
encouraged to review Anders, supra, and
Rule 4-3(k)(1) for the requirements of a no-merit brief.
Counsel has fifteen days from the date of this opinion to
file a substituted brief that complies with the rules.
See Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 4-2(b)(3). After the filing of
the substituted brief, our clerk will forward counsel's
motion and brief to Reynolds so that, within thirty days, he
again will have the opportunity to raise pro se points in
accordance with Rule 4-3(k). The State will likewise be given
the opportunity to file a responsive brief. Reynolds and the
State may elect instead to stand on the original pro se
points and responsive brief in this case.
to withdraw denied; ...