[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
FROM THE CRAWFORD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 17CR-14-461],
HONORABLE GARY COTTRELL, JUDGE
Edward Crippen, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Joseph Karl Luebke, Asst Atty
Gen., for appellee.
D. VAUGHT, Judge
Edward Crippen appeals the Crawford County Circuit Courts
order denying his petition for postconviction relief filed
pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1. On
appeal, Crippen argues that his trial counsel was ineffective
in failing to (1) object to the introduction of a
drug-task-force officers testimony and an Arkansas State
Crime Laboratory report and (2) call the crime-lab chemist as
a witness at trial. We affirm.
September 22, 2014, Crippen was charged by felony information
as a habitual offender with simultaneous possession of drugs
and firearms, trafficking methamphetamine, possession of drug
paraphernalia, theft by receiving, fleeing, and possession of
a firearm by certain persons. At trial, drug-task-force
officer Lanny Reese testified that during a search incident
to Crippens arrest, officers found a case containing
"around seven ounces of suspected methamphetamine."
Reese also testified that the package had some "big
crystal rocks in there" and that it was extremely white.
Reeses testimony, the State sought to introduce the
crime-lab report that described the substance tested as a
"clear crystalline substance" and concluded that
the substance was 200.4 grams of pure methamphetamine.
Counsel for Crippen stipulated to the admission of the
report, stating on the record that it was a tactical
decision. Relevant to this appeal, the jury
convicted Crippen of trafficking methamphetamine pursuant to
Arkansas Code Annotated § 5-64-440(b)(1) (Repl.
2016), which provides that a person engages in trafficking a
controlled substance if he or she possesses, possesses with
the purpose to deliver, delivers, or manufactures 200 grams
or more of methamphetamine. For this conviction, Crippen was
sentenced to twenty-five years imprisonment. Thereafter,
Crippens counsel filed a no-merit appeal and a motion to
withdraw as counsel. On May 16, 2018, this court affirmed
Crippens convictions and granted his counsels motion to
withdraw. Crippen v. State, 2018 Ark.App. 315, 2018
Crippen then filed a timely petition for postconviction
relief in the circuit court. In that petition, he raised
three claims of ineffective assistance of counsel: (1) trial
counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate and
perform pretrial functions; (2) trial counsel was ineffective
for failing to call the crime-lab chemist as a witness at
trial; and (3) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to
object to the testimony of Reese and to the introduction of
the crime-lab report.
circuit court held a hearing on Crippens Rule 37 petition.
Crippen and his trial counsel, David Dunagin, testified. At
the conclusion of the hearing, the court denied Crippens
petition. An order denying the petition was entered on
October 9, 2018. In the order, the court rejected Crippens
arguments that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing
to conduct a pretrial investigation and for failing to call
the crime-lab chemist as a witness at trial. The order did
not address or rule on Crippens claim that his trial ...