FROM THE CARROLL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT [NO.
08WCR-16-42] HONORABLE SCOTT JACKSON, JUDGE
Charles Raupers, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Jason Michael Johnson,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE
Raupers appeals the order of the Carroll County Circuit Court
denying his petition for postconviction relief pursuant to
Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37. We affirm.
a collision that resulted in the deaths of motorcyclists
Marquita and David Magee on June 18, 2016, the State charged
Raupers with two counts of negligent-homicide, four counts of
aggravated assault, one count of driving while intoxicated,
and one count of driving left of center. On February 24,
2017, Raupers pled guilty to all charges. On March 27, 2017,
the circuit court sentenced Raupers to (1) two consecutive
fifteen-year terms of imprisonment for the two counts of
negligent-homicide, (2) a six-year term of imprisonment for
the four counts of aggravated assault to run concurrently
with the negligent-homicide sentences, (3) a one-year jail
sentence for driving while intoxicated, and (4) a thirty-day
jail sentence for driving left of center.
26, 2017, Raupers filed in the circuit court a petition for
postconviction relief pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Criminal
Procedure 37. He alleged that his trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to: (1) investigate Raupers's
claim that he was not intoxicated, (2) investigate
Raupers's claim that he was denied medical treatment, (3)
investigate Raupers's medical health, (4) investigate
Raupers's mental competency, (5) properly advise Raupers
about his felony charges and their respective penalties, and
(6) investigate or defend against Raupers's criminal
charges. As the final point argued in his petition, he
challenged the circuit court's jurisdiction based on the
lack of a grand jury indictment.
an evidentiary hearing, the circuit court entered its order
on October 27, 2017, denying Raupers's petition. On
November 16, 2017, Raupers appealed the decision to this
court will not reverse the circuit court's decision
granting or denying postconviction relief unless it is
clearly erroneous. Mancia v. State, 2015 Ark. 115,
at 4, 459 S.W.3d 259, 264. A finding 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
committed. Id. at 4, 459 S.W.3d at 264.
appeal from the denial of a Rule 37 petition following a
guilty plea, there are only two issues for review-(1) whether
the plea of guilty was intelligently and voluntarily entered,
(2) whether the plea was made on the advice of competent
counsel. Id. at 11, 459 S.W.3d at 267. Further, the
Strickland "cause and prejudice" standard
applies to claims of ineffective assistance of counsel in
cases involving guilty pleas. Id. at 5, 459 S.W.3d
determine whether a plea was made on the advice of competent
counsel, an appellant must demonstrate that counsel's
performance was deficient and that counsel's deficient
performance prejudiced the defense to the extent that the
appellant was deprived of a fair proceeding. Osburn v.
State, 2018 Ark.App. 97, at 2-3, 538 S.W.3d 258, 260-61;
Blackwell v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 248, at 3, 520
S.W.3d 294, 298.
appellant claiming ineffective assistance of counsel must
first show that counsel made errors so serious that counsel
was not functioning as the "counsel" guaranteed to
the appellant by the Sixth Amendment to the United States
Constitution or, else, it is presumed that counsel's
conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable
professional assistance. Blackwell, 2017 Ark.App.
248, at 3, 520 S.W.3d at 298. Secondly, prejudice is
established by demonstrating that there is a reasonable
probability that, but for counsel's errors, appellant
would not have pled guilty and would have insisted on going
to trial. Osburn, 2018 Ark.App. 97, at 3-4, 538
S.W.3d at 261. A reasonable probability is a probability
sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome of the
proceeding. Id. at 3, 538 S.W.3d at 261;
Blackwell, 2017 Ark.App. 248, at 4, 520 S.W.3d at
appellant must satisfy both prongs of the test, and it is
unnecessary to examine both components of the inquiry if the
appellant fails to satisfy either requirement.
Blackwell, 2017 Ark.App. 248, at 3, 520 S.W.3d at
298. Conclusory statements that counsel was ineffective
cannot be the basis for postconviction relief. Id.
at 3, 538 S.W.3d at 261.
appeal, Raupers first argues that his trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to investigate Raupers's claim
that he was not intoxicated. For support, he alleges that his
blood should have been tested by a neutral medical
professional at the hospital, which would have proved that he
was not intoxicated. Under his first point on appeal, he
further argues that he "could not be convicted of both
negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated since
driving while intoxicated had to be proven in order to
established [sic] he had committed negligent homicide under
felony class B classification." He states that an
investigation would have revealed certain exculpatory
evidence proving his innocence, would have demonstrated that
he was subject to a heart attack and ...