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Sorum v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

September 4, 2019

Jeran Kyler SORUM, Appellant
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

          Rehearing Denied: October 16, 2019

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          APPEAL FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04CR-14-415], HONORABLE BRAD KARREN, JUDGE

         Short Law Firm, by: Lee D. Short, Little Rock, for appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Joseph Karl Luebke, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

         OPINION

         BART F. VIRDEN, Judge

          A Benton County Circuit Court jury convicted appellant Jeran Kyler Sorum of rape, second-degree sexual assault, and first-degree computer exploitation of a child. He was sentenced to an aggregate term of twelve years in prison, and his conviction was affirmed on appeal. See Sorum v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 384, 526 S.W.3d 50. This appeal stems from the trial court’s denial of Sorum’s subsequent Rule 37 petition and related motions and the trial court’s decision to strike the subsequent petition. We affirm.

          I. Relevant Facts

          On September 28, 2017, Sorum filed a ten-page petition for postconviction relief in which he raised three claims: (1) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to dismiss on double-jeopardy grounds; (2) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to make a meritorious directed-verdict motion regarding the offense of computer exploitation of a child; and (3) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to argue that rape required the State to prove sexual gratification in addition to penetration. The same day, Sorum filed a motion for leave to file an enlarged Rule 37 petition arguing that the ten-page limit was insufficient for the additional issues he wished to raise. The trial court did not rule on the motion.

          On December 28 Sorum filed an amended, twenty-two-page Rule 37 petition that included two additional issues. On January 30, 2018, the trial court entered an order striking Sorum’s enlarged petition and finding that Sorum filed the overlength petition without leave of the court. The court concluded that the strict requirements on the form of a Rule 37.1 petition are reasonable and proper. The court also found that Rule 37’s procedural requirements do not violate due process, and the petition failed to comply with those requirements.

          On February 7, Sorum filed a motion for reconsideration of the motion for leave to file an amended and enlarged petition stating that

[t]he Petitioner has two issues to present in good-faith in his Rule 37 Petition that were unable to fit within the ten-page original petition. Those issues regarding accomplice corroboration and the rape shield hearing are legitimate and unable to be presented. Those issues can best be seen by looking at the amended and enlarged Rule 37 Petition and comparing it with the initial Rule 37 Petition.

          The trial court denied the motion, reiterating the previous conclusion that "it is not a violation of petitioner’s due process rights nor is it fundamentally unfair for this court to adhere to strict ...


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