FREDERICK T. JONES APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST DIVISION [NO.
60CR-16-2307] HONORABLE LEON JOHNSON, JUDGE
William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, and Andrew
Thornton, of Counsel, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Adam Jackson, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
F. VIRDEN, JUDGE.
T. Jones appeals from the circuit court's dismissal of
his appeal from district court on the ground that he did not
comply with the requirements of Rule 36(c) of the Arkansas
Rules of Criminal Procedure. We affirm.
February 6, 2016, Jones was stopped by an Arkansas State
Trooper and cited for improper towing and failure to use a
car seat. Jones pleaded not guilty and was tried in district
court. Jones was found guilty of both offenses and ordered to
pay $405 in fines and court costs.
informed the district court clerk that he wanted to appeal to
the circuit court and verbally requested that the clerk
prepare the record. The district court clerk prepared the
record, which Jones timely filed with the Pulaski County
State filed a motion to dismiss Jones's appeal on the
ground that he had not complied with Arkansas Rule of
Criminal Procedure 36(c), which requires that an appellant
from district court must file a written request for the
record with the district court clerk, serve that request on
the prosecutor for the judicial district, and then file that
service with the district court. Jones responded, presenting
two arguments against dismissal: (1) the written-request
requirement does not apply to a defendant who has timely
filed the record with the circuit court, and (2) the
written-request requirement in Arkansas Rule of Criminal
Procedure 36(c) is procedural and should not be strictly
hearing on the matter, the circuit court dismissed and
remanded the appeal, holding that though Jones timely filed
the record with the circuit court, he failed to file a
written request with the district court clerk to prepare a
certified copy of the record, he failed to serve a copy of
the request on the prosecuting attorney for the sixth
judicial district, and he did not file a certificate of
service of a written request with the district court. Jones
filed a timely notice of appeal.
construe court rules using the same principles and canons of
construction used to interpret our statutes. McNabb v.
State, 367 Ark. 93, 97, 238 S.W.3d 119, 122 (2006). The
first rule of statutory construction in considering the
meaning and effect of a statute is to construe it just as it
reads, giving the words their ordinary and usually accepted
meaning in common language. Roberson v. State, 2010
Ark. 433, at 2. When the language is plain and unambiguous,
there is no need to resort to other rules of statutory
construction. Id. The word "shall"
indicates mandatory compliance unless such an interpretation
would lead to an absurdity. Turley v. State, 2013
Ark.App. 427, at 4-5, 429 S.W.3d 293, 295.
appeal, Jones raises two main arguments. First, he argues
that our court misinterpreted Arkansas Rule of Criminal
Procedure 36(c) in Fewell v. State, 2014 Ark.App.
631, and our holding in that case should be overturned.
Second, Jones requests that this court issue a writ of
certiorari instructing the circuit court to rescind its
argument regarding Fewell is twofold: he argues that
the three requirements in Rule 36(c) do not apply to
everyone, i.e., when appellant timely files the record in the
circuit court, a written request, the service requirement to
the district prosecutor that a written request has been made,
and the filing of that notice, are redundant; alternatively,
he asserts that strict interpretation of the mandatory
language in Rule 36(c) is unwarranted because filing with the
district court and service of the district court prosecutor
are procedural matters and are not jurisdictional.
Jones's arguments are not well taken, and we affirm.
to Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 36(a), a person
convicted of a criminal offense in a district court may
appeal the judgment of conviction to the circuit court for
the judicial district in which the conviction occurred.
Barner v. State, 2015 Ark. 247, at 4, 464 S.W.3d
450, 452. Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 36(c) sets
forth the manner in which an appeal from district court is
(c) How Taken. An appeal from a district court to circuit
court shall be taken by filing with the clerk of the circuit
court a certified record of the proceedings in the district
court. Neither a notice of appeal nor an order granting an
appeal shall be required. The record of proceedings in the
district court shall include, at a minimum, a copy of the
district court docket sheet and any bond or other security
filed by the defendant to guarantee the defendant's
appearance before the circuit court. It shall be the duty
of the clerk of the district court to prepare and certify
such record when the defendant files a written request to
that effect with the clerk of the district court and pays any
fees of the district court authorized by law therefor. The
defendant shall serve a copy of the written request on the
prosecuting attorney for the judicial district and shall file
a certificate of such service with the district court.
The defendant shall have the responsibility of filing the