FROM THE MILLER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 46CR-17-602],
HONORABLE BRENT HALTOM, JUDGE
Lee Whitefield, for appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Joseph Karl Luebke, Asst Atty
Gen., for appellee.
Appellant Rusty Lee Latham pleaded guilty in the Miller
County District Court to driving while intoxicated (DWI) and
refusal to submit to a chemical test. He then appealed those
judgments to the Miller County Circuit Court where a jury
found him guilty of both offenses. He argues on appeal to
this court that the circuit court erred in denying his
directed-verdict motion and in denying his motion for
judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). We do not reach
the merits of Lathams arguments because the circuit court
did not acquire jurisdiction due to Lathams failure to
perfect his appeal from district court. Accordingly, we
reverse and vacate the circuit courts judgment, and we
reinstate the district courts judgments of conviction.
was charged with DWI and refusal to submit to a chemical
test, to which he pleaded guilty on November 13, 2016. The
district courts docket sheets in the record indicate that
bench trials were held on August 25, 2017. They also indicate
that the district court found Latham guilty of each offense
and entered orders to that effect. On September 18, the
district court judge signed a separate judgment with respect
to both offenses, but it is not file marked and is not
reflected on either of the district courts docket sheets.
There are no entries on the docket sheets after August 25.
September 19, 2017, Latham filed in the circuit court a
notice of appeal, an affidavit of appeal, and an appeal bond.
The circuit courts docket sheet reflects that Latham filed
the "appeal" and paid $ 150. The circuit court
was tried before a Miller County jury on May 4, 2018, and he
was found guilty of both offenses. A sentencing order was
entered May 22.
entry of the sentencing order, Latham moved on May 16, 2018,
for a JNOV asserting that his convictions should be reversed
and dismissed because the arresting officer was not legally
certified to be a Miller County deputy sheriff. A hearing was
held on Lathams JNOV motion on June 8, and the circuit court
entered a five-page order denying Lathams motion on June 12.
On June 21, 2018, Latham filed a notice of appeal to this
court "from the judgment and sentence herein entered on
May 22, 2018."
Appeals from District Court to Circuit Court
Rule of Criminal Procedure 36(a) provides that a ...