FROM THE CRAIGHEAD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, WESTERN DIVISION
[NO. 16JCR-15-1129] HONORABLE BRENT DAVIS, JUDGE
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: David Raupp, Sr. Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellant.
Charles D. Hancock, for appellee.
COURTNEY HUDSON GOODSON, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
State of Arkansas appeals from the Craighead County Circuit
Court's order granting appellee Karen Siegel's motion
to dismiss the charges against her based on a speedy-trial
violation. For reversal, the State argues that the circuit
court erred by rejecting the State's argument that a
particular period of time should have been excluded from the
speedy-trial calculations. Siegel has filed a motion to
dismiss the appeal, asserting that it is not a proper State
appeal under Ark. R. App. P.-3(d) (2017). We grant
Siegel's motion and dismiss the appeal.
was convicted of thirty-one counts of misdemeanor animal
cruelty in district court, and she appealed her convictions
to the circuit court on November 19, 2015. The trial was
initially set for March 29, 2016, but on Siegel's motion
was continued to August 30, 2016. On August 16, 2016, Siegel
filed motions to suppress evidence and to declare the
animal-cruelty statutes unconstitutional. A hearing was held
on these motions on November 21, 2016, and the circuit court
left the record open for additional exhibits, which were
filed by Siegel on December 5, 2016. On May 10, 2017, the
circuit court entered orders denying Siegel's motion to
suppress and her motion to declare the statutes
filed a motion to dismiss the charges against her on
September 22, 2017, based on speedy-trial grounds. Siegel
claimed that after excluding the periods of time attributable
to the defense, more than twelve months had elapsed since the
speedy-trial time began to run on November 15, 2015, and she
was entitled to have the charges dismissed with an absolute
bar to prosecution pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Criminal
Procedure 28.1(c) (2017). The State filed a response to the
motion wherein it contested one of the time periods excluded
circuit court held a hearing on the motion to dismiss on
October 3, 2017. The primary dispute between the parties
centered on the time period between the November 2016 hearing
on Siegel's motions and the order denying those motions
in May 2017. The circuit court found that the speedy-trial
time began to run on January 4, 2017, thirty days after the
supplemental material in support of Siegel's motions had
been submitted and the motions were taken under advisement.
However, the State argued that a January 6, 2017 email
exchange between the State and defense counsel, stating that
counsel was "in favor of moving the trial date"
showed that Siegel had agreed to postpone the trial pending
the circuit court's ruling on her motions. Thus, the
State contended that the period between January 5, 2017, and
May 10, 2017, was excluded from the speedy-trial calculation.
The circuit court agreed with Siegel that this time period
was not excluded, stating that the court had not been not
privy to these discussions between counsel and that there was
no indication from the record that Siegel had requested a
continuance during this time frame. Thus, the court found
that Siegel's right to a speedy trial had been violated
and dismissed the charges against her in an order entered on
October 4, 2017. The State timely appealed from this order.
threshold matter, we must decide if we have jurisdiction to
hear the State's appeal in this case. Unlike that of a
criminal defendant, the State's right to appeal is
limited by the provisions of Rule 3 of the Arkansas Rules of
Appellate Procedure- Criminal. State v. Ledwell,
2017 Ark. 252, 526 S.W.3d 1. Although Rule 3(b) allows the
State to appeal following a misdemeanor or felony
prosecution, we will not accept such an appeal unless the
correct and uniform administration of the criminal law
requires review by this court. Ark. R. App. P.-Crim. 3(d). We
review only State appeals that are narrow in scope and that
involve the interpretation, not the application, of a
criminal rule or statutory provision. Ledwell,
supra; State v. Jenkins, 2011 Ark. 2. In
addition, we do not allow an appeal by the State that
involves a mixed question of law and fact. State v.
Brashers, 2015 Ark. 236, 463 S.W.3d 710;
Jenkins, supra. When the resolution of a
State's attempted appeal turns on the facts of the case
and does not require interpretation of our criminal rules
with widespread ramifications, the appeal is not proper under
Rule 3. State v. Johnson, 374 Ark. 100, 286
S.W.3d 129 (2008). State appeals that merely demonstrate that
the circuit court erred are not permitted. Id.
State contends that the issue presented in this appeal
involves the correct and uniform administration of the law.
The State specifically argues that the circuit court erred as
a matter of law by concluding that an email agreement between
Siegel and the State that the trial should not be set until
the court ruled on Siegel's pending motions did not toll
the speedy-trial time. The State cites Ferguson v.
State, 343 Ark. 159, 33 S.W.3d 115 (2000), in which we
held that a statement by defense counsel that he intended to
file a writ of prohibition and that he assumed the time would
be charged to the defendant amounted to a waiver of the
defendant's right to a speedy trial.
motion to dismiss the State's appeal, Siegel argues that
the issue raised by the State involves the application, not
the interpretation, of our speedy-trial rules. She contends
that the circuit court made specific factual findings at the
hearing regarding the tolling and running of speedy-trial
times and that this appeal does not concern the
interpretation of a specific rule, statute, or other law.
agree. The State's appeal in this case is a challenge to
the circuit court's findings of fact regarding which
periods of time were attributable to Siegel and therefore
excluded from the speedy-trial calculation. Thus, it does not
present an issue of interpretation of a criminal rule that
would have widespread ramifications. See, e.g.,
State v. S.L., 2012 Ark. 73 (dismissing appeal where
it involved the application of speedy-trial rules to the
unique facts in that case); State v. Johnson,
supra (dismissing State appeal from an order
granting a motion to dismiss for lack of speedy trial because
the issue raised was a factual determination and did involve
the correct and uniform administration of ...