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Shreck v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

February 13, 2019

RICHARD SHRECK APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 23CR-14-827] HONORABLE CHARLES E. CLAWSON, JR., JUDGE

          Craig Lambert, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Pamela Rumpz, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          Glover and Vaught, JJ., agree.

          ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Judge

         Appellant Richard Shreck, whose conviction by a Faulkner County Circuit Court jury of two counts of conspiracy to commit rape was affirmed on appeal, see Shreck v. State, 2017 Ark. 39, 510 S.W.3d 750[1], filed a petition for postconviction relief. The Faulkner County Circuit Court denied the petition and motion for reconsideration. Shreck appeals, arguing that the circuit court erred in denying his petition under Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1 (2018) without holding an evidentiary hearing and for failing to make findings of fact and conclusions of law as required by Rule 37.3. We agree; therefore, we reverse and remand for the circuit court to either hold a hearing or issue written findings in compliance with Rule 37.3(a).

         I. Facts and Procedural Background

         As set forth in the final underlying appeal before our supreme court, the relevant facts and procedural background are as follows:

The appellant entered an online chatroom and began to chat with a police officer trained to investigate crimes against children. The chatroom, which they were both in, typically includes people who chat about sexually deviant behavior, including sexually exploiting children. The online profile of the officer was that of a single mother of a ten-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son whom she was willing to make available for the sexual gratification of the chatroom participants. The conversation between appellant and the officer involved sexual acts with the officer's imaginary children. Appellant ultimately made arrangements to meet the officer and her imaginary children at a parking lot in Conway and take them to Hot Springs for sex. Upon meeting the officer, the appellant was placed in custody.
During the online conversations, appellant admitted that he was interested in "snuff" and bondage sex. He also stated that he had thought about snuffing a child. Further, during one of the conversations, appellant sent a picture of a device he made for snuffing women. He also asked for pictures of the officer's imaginary children and stated that he was talking about snuff sex with others, including a sixteen-year-old girl. Testimony at circuit court described snuff sex as killing someone during or after sex and indicating that it may be done by impaling someone with a sharpened rod.
Appellant was ultimately charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit rape and two counts of attempted internet stalking of a child. The internet-stalking charges were nolle prossed by the State. A jury subsequently convicted the appellant of two counts of conspiracy to commit rape and sentenced him to 30 years in prison on each count.
During the sentencing phase, the officer testified regarding the conversations centered on "snuff" and bondage sex. Additionally, the State entered into evidence pictures that depicted women being impaled during sex, which were found on the defendant's computer, as well as the picture of the device the defendant made for impaling women.

Shreck, 2017 Ark. 39, at 1-2, 510 S.W.3d at 751.

         Shreck then filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief in the circuit court. In that petition, he alleged that trial counsel was ineffective in a number of respects. In a three-paragraph order, the ...


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