APPEAL FROM THE LEE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 39CV-16-48]
HONORABLE E. DION WILSON, JUDGE
Ratliff, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Christian Harris, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RHONDAK.WOOD, Associate Justice.
Johnny Ratliff appeals the circuit court's denial of his
pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. Ratliff contends
that the circuit court abused its discretion in failing to
find that he stated sufficient grounds for the writ when he
alleged (1) that there was insufficient evidence to support
the enhancements to the sentences for prior convictions noted
on the judgment and (2) that he was not competent when the
crimes were committed or to stand trial. We affirm the denial
of Ratliff's habeas petition.
appeal, this court affirmed the judgment at issue in
Ratliff's habeas petition. Ratliff v. State, 359
Ark. 479, 199 S.W.3d 79 (2004). Ratliff filed his petition
asserting the two claims that he also raises on
appeal-insufficient evidence to support the sentence
enhancements noted on the judgment and his incompetence-among
others. The circuit court found, citing
Philyaw v. Kelley, 2015 Ark. 465, 477 S.W.3d 503,
that Ratliff's petition failed to set forth a basis for
the writ. Unless a petitioner 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. Id. A circuit court's
decision on a petition for writ of habeas corpus will be
upheld unless it is clearly erroneous. Garrison v.
Kelley, 2018 Ark. 8, 534 S.W.3d 136. A decision 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 made. Id.
alleges that the circuit court's application of
Philyaw was error because any such limitations would
unconstitutionally suspend the right to the writ in violation
of article 2, section 11 of the Constitution of the State of
Arkansas of 1874. He cites Renshaw v. Norris, 337
Ark. 494, 989 S.W.2d 515 (1999). Ratliff is mistaken.
Renshaw explained that the General Assembly's
role was to set out the procedural mechanism for obtaining
habeas relief. Id. at 497, 989 S.W.2d at 517.
additionally contends that the trial court abused its
discretion in finding that the grounds in his petition did
not support the writ. Most of the grounds for relief that
Ratliff argued below, he does not raise on appeal. These are
considered abandoned. The two grounds that he alleges on
appeal-insufficient evidence to support the enhancements for
his prior convictions that were noted on the judgment and
that he was incorrectly found competent as a result of
defective evidence that had been admitted-fall outside of the
defining limitations of the writ. Assertions of trial error
and due-process claims do not implicate the facial validity
of the judgment or the jurisdiction of the trial court.
Williams v. Kelley, 2017 Ark. 200, 521 S.W.3d 104.
An issue with the admission of evidence, which includes the
issue Ratliff raised concerning the evidence to support the
enhancements and the evidence supporting the trial
court's decision on his competency, is a challenge that
is not cognizable in a habeas proceeding. See
Philyaw, 2015 Ark. 465, 477 S.W.3d 503.
State, not Ratliff, points out that there is a clerical error
in the judgment and commitment order. Ratliff was charged and
convicted of a Class-B felony, however, the order reflects a
Class-Y felony. The sentence of 30 years is within the
statutory range for both a Class-B felony and a Class-Y
felony under the applicable habitual-offender statute thus
the sentence remains valid on its face. See Ark.
Code Ann. § 5-4-501(b)(2) (Supp. 2001). As the State
explains, clerical errors do not prevent the enforcement of
the judgment and the sentencing court, not the current lower
court, may enter an order nunc pro tunc at any time to
correct clerical errors in the judgment or order. Vance
v. State, 2011 Ark. 243, 383 S.W.3d 325. That is outside
the purview of the present matter as the defendant did not
raise it in his habeas petition and it factually does not
impact either of the grounds for habeas.
Ratliff appears to reference on appeal
that he filed a second petition, but only one petition is
contained in the record and only one petition is ...