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Lane v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

January 17, 2019

ADAM EUGENE LANE APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

          PRO SE APPEAL FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT [NO. 66FCR-15-90] HONORABLE J. MICHAEL FITZHUGH, JUDGE.

          Adam Eugene Lane, pro se appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: David L. Eanes Jr., Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          COURTNEY HUDSON GOODSON, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE

         Following appellant Adam Eugene Lane's conviction on drug-related charges and unsuccessful appeal of the judgment, he filed in the trial court a timely petition for postconviction relief under Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1 (2017). See Lane v. State, 2017 Ark. 34, 513 S.W.3d 230 (affirming Lane's convictions as a habitual criminal offender with simultaneous possession of drugs and a firearm, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia). Lane appeals the denial of the petition by the trial court. He alleges error in the trial court's decision denying relief and asserts that the court should have found ineffective assistance of counsel and trial and appellate error. Lane additionally alleges error in the trial court's denial of his request for representation in his Rule 37 proceedings. Because none of Lane's claims merit postconviction relief under the Rule, we affirm.

         I. Background

         Our opinion on direct appeal provides greater detail, but a brief summary of the facts in the case is necessary for an understanding of the issues. Lane was on parole when his parole officer and the police went to the hotel where Lane was staying with a female companion. The hotel manager used an electronic key to let the officers into the room, and the officers entered without a warrant or announcing themselves. The officers found ten bags of methamphetamine and a handgun in the room. After his arrest, while in jail, Lane signed a statement that the drugs found were his. His attorney moved to suppress or exclude the evidence from the search and to exclude the statement, and both motions were denied.

         On appeal, this court held that the warrantless entry was valid but that the officers were required to knock and announce before entering. Id. While holding that the officers were required to knock and announce under the circumstances, this court nevertheless affirmed the decision not to suppress the evidence. Id. Although there was a constitutional violation, exclusion was not warranted because the relationship between discovery of the evidence and the constitutional violation was sufficiently attenuated to outweigh the deterrence benefits. Id. This court considered Lane's argument on appeal concerning the denial of his motion to exclude the statement and affirmed because the statement did not include a plea offer under Arkansas Rule of Evidence 410. Id. This court declined, however, to consider arguments for exclusion based on Arkansas Rule of Evidence 403 or hearsay because the first had not been preserved for appeal and the second had not been argued to the trial court. Id.

         II. Issues on Appeal

         Lane largely raises the same arguments on appeal that he raised in his Rule 37.1 petition.[1] He alleges that his attorney was ineffective for failing to object to the admission of his statement on hearsay and Rule 403 grounds, for failing to move for a directed verdict on the grounds that the evidence did not demonstrate his knowledge of the contraband to establish possession, [2] for incorrectly advising him that the evidence would be excluded if the officers were required to adhere to the "knock and announce" requirement, and for failing to object to the introduction of the methamphetamine. Lane intertwines allegations of trial error about the trial court's decisions to admit the contested evidence throughout his ineffective-assistance claims, and he would also challenge the holding by this court that the exclusionary rule did not apply under the circumstances of the case. Finally, he alleges error in the denial of his motion for counsel for the Rule 37 proceedings.

         III. Abstract

         The State first urges that all of Lane's points on appeal be affirmed because he failed to provide an adequate abstract of the proceedings in his brief as required by Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 4-3(h) (2017). However, because Lane's briefs were filed under Rule 4-7 rather than Rule 4-3, he was not required to provide an abstract.

         IV. Standard of Review

         This court reviews the trial court's decision on Rule 37.1 petitions for clear error. Gordon v. State, 2018 Ark. 73, 539 S.W.3d 586. 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 ...


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