FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04CR-16-424]
HONORABLE ROBIN F. GREEN, JUDGE
Southern Law Firm P.L.L.C., by: Herbert C. Southern, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Vada Berger, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Andrea Forkum appeals the Benton County Circuit Court order
following her guilty plea entered pursuant to the Arkansas
First Offender Act, which is codified at Arkansas Code
Annotated sections 16-93-301 to -305 (Repl. 2016). On appeal,
Forkum argues that the circuit court erred by denying her
motion to transfer her criminal case to the division of the
circuit court presiding over a dependency-neglect case
involving her and her daughters. We dismiss the appeal.
April 7, 2016, the State charged Forkum with second-degree
domestic battery, third-degree domestic battery, and two
counts of endangering the welfare of a minor. The charges
stemmed from claims that Forkum had physically and
emotionally abused her two daughters. The Arkansas Department
of Human Services (DHS) opened a dependency-neglect case
concerning the alleged abuse.
April 8, 2016, the criminal division of the circuit court
entered a no-contact order between Forkum and her daughters,
and the court found that the no-contact order "shall
remain in effect until modified or terminated by subsequent
order of this court or until final disposition of the case by
April 18, 2016, the court held an arraignment hearing in
which Forkum pled not guilty. She also asked the court to
modify the April 8, 2016 no-contact order to allow DHS to
offer her certain services. The court denied her request.
Forkum then orally requested the court to transfer her
criminal case to the division of the circuit court hearing
the dependency-neglect petition. The court set a hearing on
Forkum's transfer motion for June 20, 2016, but the
hearing was later continued to July 6, 2016.
the transfer hearing, on May 31, 2016, Forkum filed a brief
in support of her transfer motion. She argued that Arkansas
Code Annotated section 9-27-306(a)(3)(A)-(B) (Repl. 2015)
required the court to transfer the case.
(3)(A) When the department exercises custody of a juvenile
under the Child Maltreatment Act, § 12-18-101 et seq.,
files a petition for an ex parte emergency order, or files a
petition for dependency-neglect concerning that juvenile,
before or subsequent to the other legal proceeding, a party
to that petition may file a motion to transfer any other
legal proceeding concerning the juvenile to the court hearing
the dependency-neglect petition.
(B) Upon the filing of a motion, the other legal proceeding
shall be transferred to the court hearing the
(Emphasis added.) Forkum asserted that her criminal case
constituted a "legal proceeding concerning the
juvenile[s]" and because the subsection uses the word
"shall, " the circuit court was required to
transfer the case. The State objected to the transfer. On
July 6, 2016, the court held the transfer hearing, and the
court orally denied the motion. The court entered a written
order on that day.
August 1, 2016, Forkum filed a "Notice of Appeal"
of the July 6, 2016 order denying her motion to transfer.
Specifically, she sought an interlocutory appeal or a writ of
mandamus from our supreme court. On September 19, 2016, the
supreme court denied Forkum's petition for a writ of
mandamus without opinion.
on October 3, 2016, Forkum pled guilty to the criminal
charges under the Arkansas First Offender Act. The court
sentenced her to seventy months' probation, ordered her
to serve 120 days in county jail, and fined her $1000. The
court ordered that Forkum be released to work while serving
her sentence in the county jail. The court also ordered that
the no-contact order remain in place and set a status hearing
for November 16, ...