United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
TYROME HARRIS, SR. PETITIONER
WENDY KELLEY, Director, Arkansas Department of Correction RESPONDENT
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States
District Judge D. P. Marshall, Jr. You may file written
objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do
so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the
factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of the entry of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you
may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.
before the Court is a pro se § 2254 Petition
for a Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Petitioner, Tyrome
Harris (“Harris”). Doc. 2. Before
addressing Harris's habeas claims, the Court will review
the procedural history of the case in state court.
February 8, 2016, Harris appeared, with counsel, in the
Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas, and, entered a
negotiated guilty plea to one count of battery in the first
degree. State of Arkansas v. Tyrome Harris,
Sr, Pulaski County Circuit Court No. 60CR-14-3398.
March 7, 2016, Harris appeared, with counsel, for a
sentencing hearing.The trial court sentenced Harris to fifteen
years' imprisonment, the same sentence recommended by
probation, plus an additional five year suspended sentence.
Id. at 28; Doc. 9-3, Tr. 2-3.
entering an unconditional plea, Harris waived the right to
challenge his conviction on direct appeal.
April 22, 2016, Harris filed a pro se Rule 37
petition for postconviction relief in the trial court.
Doc. 9-3, Tr. 5-14. He alleged his plea-stage
counsel, Mr. Simpson, was ineffective because: (1) he had a
conflict of interest with the victim; (2) the plea agreement
was for no enhancements or habitual offender status; (3) the
jail-time credit was incorrect; and (4) he failed to advise
Harris that, because of his prior convictions, he would not
be eligible for parole. Id. at pp. 5-14.
October 20, 2016, the trial court entered an order denying
Harris's Rule 37 petition. Id. at pp. 29-32.
Harris appealed only one issue: Mr. Simpson's
ineffectiveness in failing to advise him that, because his
prior violent felony disqualified him from parole, he would
be required to serve 100 percent of his sentence.
See Ark. Code Ann. § 16-93-609. Id. at
13-17; Doc. 9-4, pp. 16-17.
February 7, 2018, the Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed the
trial court's denial of post-conviction relief.
Harris v. State, 2018 Ark.App. 94, 542 S.W.3d 895
14, 2018, Harris initiated this federal habeas action.
Doc. 2. Respondent, in her Response, argues that
Harris's habeas claim should be denied on the merits.
Doc. 9. Harris has filed a Reply. Doc. 12.
Thus, the issues are joined and ready for decision.
reasons discussed below, the Court recommends that the
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus be denied, and the case
be dismissed, with prejudice.
The Trial Court's Rejection of Harris's Ineffective
federal habeas Petition, Harris asserts one claim: Mr.
Simpson provided constitutionally inadequate assistance of
counsel by failing to advise him, before his guilty plea,
that he would not be eligible for parole based on a prior
violent felony conviction. Doc. 2, p. 2.
trial court adjudicated this claim, on the merits, in
Harris's Rule 37 proceeding:
Petitioner's final claim for relief states that counsel
was ineffective for failing to inform Petitioner that he
would be required to serve 100% of his sentence before
becoming parole eligible. Petitioner further claims that he
was led to believe he would only be required to serve 1/3 or
5 years of the sentence. Petitioner claims this omission
rendered his plea involuntary. A review of the record from
the sentencing hearing held March 7, 2016, conclusively shows
that trial counsel explicitly stated twice on the record that
Petitioner would have to serve his sentence day-for-day
(Transcript p. 16) and that Petitioner ...