FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 26CR-15-226],
HONORABLE MARCIA R. HEARNSBERGER, JUDGE
Motal, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Vada Berger, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for
R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Garland County Circuit Court jury found appellant Andrew Lee
Jackson guilty of two counts of rape for having sexual
intercourse with two teenaged girls while serving as their
youth pastor. He was sentenced to forty years’ imprisonment
on each count, which the circuit court ordered to be served
consecutively. We affirmed those convictions on direct
appeal, Jackson v. State, 2018 Ark.App. 222, 547
S.W.3d 753, and the mandate issued on April 24, 2018.
Subsequently, Jackson’s attorney filed in the circuit court a
petition for postconviction relief pursuant to Arkansas Rule
of Criminal Procedure 37. The circuit court denied the
petition on July 20, 2018, for failure to comply with Rule
37.1(c) of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure. Jackson
now brings this appeal.
June 20, 2018, Jackson, represented by counsel, filed in the
circuit court his Rule 37 petition for postconviction relief.
The petition was verified by Jackson’s counsel, but not by
Jackson, and included a request that he be granted leave to
amend the petition.
June 26, 2018, the State moved to dismiss Jackson’s petition
on the ground that he had not filed a timely verified
petition. Jackson responded to the motion, asserting that the
verification executed by his attorney was adequate. He also
pled, in the alternative, that if the circuit court concluded
that his petition was deficient, then he should be allowed
leave to amend it to cure the deficiencies. The circuit court
concluded that the lack of personal verification of the
petition by Jackson was not a technical deficiency, and that
because Jackson moved to amend his petition more than sixty
days after the mandate had issued, the petition could not be
amended. In its July 20, 2018 order, the circuit court
specifically found: "The lack of verification from the
petitioner, Andrew Jackson, leaves this court in a position
where it can not even consider the petition." We agree.
petition was not in compliance with the Rule in that it was
not verified in accordance with Rule 37.1(c). Rule 37.1(c)
requires that the petition be accompanied by the petitioner’s
affidavit that is sworn before a notary or other officer
authorized to administer oaths; in substantially the form
noted in that provision; and attesting that the facts stated
in the petition are true, correct, and complete.
form as it appears in the Rule is as follows:
petitioner states under oath that (he) (she) has read the
foregoing petition for postconviction relief and that the
facts stated in the petition are true, correct, and complete
to the best of petitioner’s knowledge and belief.