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Sims v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

September 27, 2018

ROGER D. SIMS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 35CV-17-353] HONORABLE JODI RAINES DENNIS, JUDGE

          Roger D. Sims, pro se appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Michael A. Hylden, for appellee.

          RHONDA K. WOOD, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE

         Appellant Roger D. Sims appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Sims raises two grounds for reversal of the order-that the circuit court erred in rejecting his claim that he was subject to double jeopardy and that the sentence imposed on him was illegal. We find no error and affirm the order.

         I. Background

         In 2001, Sims pleaded guilty to rape and incest in the Craighead County Circuit Court and was sentenced to concurrent terms of imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) of 420 months for rape and 120 months for incest. In 2017, Sims, who is incarcerated in Texas, filed his habeas petition in the Jefferson County Circuit Court, that is, in the county where the headquarters of the ADC and its director are located.[1] See Hundley v. Hobbs, 2015 Ark. 70, at 7-8, 456 S.W.3d 755.

         II. Grounds for Issuance of the Writ

         A writ of habeas corpus is proper when a judgment of conviction is invalid on its face or when a circuit court lacks jurisdiction over the cause. Philyaw v. Kelley, 2015 Ark. 465, 477 S.W.3d 503. Jurisdiction is the power of the court to hear and determine the subject matter in controversy. Baker v. Norris, 369 Ark. 405, 255 S.W.3d 466 (2007). Under our statute, a petitioner for the writ who does not allege his actual innocence and proceed under Act 1780 of 2001 must plead either the facial invalidity of the judgment or the lack of jurisdiction by the trial court and make a showing by affidavit or other evidence of probable cause to believe that he is being illegally detained. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-112-103(a)(1) (Repl. 2016). Unless the 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. Fields v. Hobbs, 2013 Ark. 416.

         III. Standard of Review

         A circuit court's decision on a petition for writ of habeas corpus will be upheld unless it is clearly erroneous. Hobbs v. Gordon, 2014 Ark. 225, 434 S.W.3d 364. 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.

         IV. Double Jeopardy

         Sims argues that his sentence was rendered illegal because he was found guilty of both rape and incest. We have held that, while some double-jeopardy claims are cognizable in habeas corpus proceedings, when the petitioner does not show that on the face of the commitment order there was an illegal sentence imposed, the claim does not implicate the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case, and the claim is not one that is cognizable. Edwards v. Kelley, 2017 Ark. 254, 526 S.W.3d 825. Sims did not make that showing because the face of the judgment does not establish that the two offenses are the same offense.

         For purposes of double jeopardy, whether two offenses are the "same offense" depends on whether each statutory provision requires proof of a fact that the other does not. Under this criteria, rape and incest require the satisfaction of different elements and thus are separate offenses. Moreover, the issue is one that could have been raised before Sims entered his plea of guilty to rape and incest. See id. Sims did not meet his ...


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