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Schepp v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

December 13, 2017

DANNY LEE SCHEPP APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04CR-14-1464] HONORABLE BRADLEY LEWIS KARREN, JUDGE

          Dusti Standridge, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Vada Berger, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          Virden and Harrison, JJ., agree.

          RITA W. GRUBER, CHIEF JUDGE

         The sole issue in this appeal is whether the Benton County Circuit Court had jurisdiction to reconsider its decision dismissing the charges against appellant Danny Schepp and then to set the case for a status hearing in December 2021. The court did not have jurisdiction to reconsider its decision; consequently, we do not have jurisdiction, and we dismiss the appeal.

         The relevant facts are that on November 7, 2014, appellant was charged with 20 counts of distributing, possessing, or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child in violation of Ark. Code Ann. § 5-27-602 (Repl. 2013). On January 20, 2015, appellant moved for a mental evaluation, averring that he suffered from Alzheimer's disease. The court granted the motion, ordered a mental evaluation, found appellant unfit to proceed in an order entered on May 8, 2015, and committed him to the custody of the Arkansas State Hospital for restorative services. At a hearing conducted on July 15, 2016, the court found that appellant was not fit to proceed, that he was unlikely to be restored due to his neurocognitive disorder, and that there was no evidence that he was a danger to himself or others. The court then ordered that the case against appellant be dismissed and that he be released from custody. On July 18, 2016, the court entered an order consistent with this ruling, finding that appellant was not fit to proceed, dismissing the case, and releasing him from custody.

         On August 15, 2016, the court entered an order setting a "Hearing on Motion" scheduled for September 29, 2016. It did not otherwise identify the motion, and no written pleading was filed in the case. At a hearing on September 29, 2016, the following colloquy occurred:

The Court: All right, on Mr. Schepp if I can recall what happened was . . . the Court had made a ruling on the record but has not filed a formal order on Mr. Schepp. I believe I had told the prosecutor's office that I would wait and file the formal order until the prosecutor had an opportunity to review it, the case law, to see what the case law said about whether the Court could legally dismiss the case after finding that Mr. Schepp was not a violent person to either threaten himself or others and that he could not be restored because the diagnosis is that Mr. Schepp has Alzheimer's. That's my recollection.
. . . .
The Court: Okay. All right, so with that being said, Mr. Hall, the State is basically asking the Court to reconsider its ruling that it has not formally filed. And does the State want to be heard?
Prosecutor: Your Honor, I think what you're stating is correct.
The Court: All right, Mr. Hall.
Defense: Your Honor, if we want to have some sort of hearing on this, ...

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