Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Akram v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

October 16, 2019

Jamal AKRAM, Appellant
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

          Rehearing Denied November 20, 2019

Page 80

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 81

          APPEAL FROM THE MISSISSIPPI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, CHICKASAWBA DISTRICT [NO. 47BCR-16-94], HONORABLE RALPH WILSON, JR., JUDGE

          Jamal Akram, pro se appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Chris R. Warthen, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

          OPINION

         RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge

          Appellant Jamal Akram was convicted by a Mississippi County jury of first-degree murder and was sentenced as a habitual offender to sixty years’ imprisonment. This court upheld his conviction in Akram v. State, 2018 Ark.App. 504, 560 S.W.3d 509. Akram filed a Rule 37 petition challenging issues concerning his waiver of counsel at trial as well as a claim of ineffective

Page 82

assistance of appellate counsel. On January 14, 2019, the circuit court denied his petition. Akram now appeals the circuit court’s denial of his petition. On appeal, he argues that his waiver of trial counsel was invalid because his request to represent himself was equivocal and untimely, and he had ineffective assistance of appellate counsel on direct appeal. Neither point has merit, and we affirm.

          Akram’s conviction stems from the beating death of his live-in girlfriend, whose body was found in their home on March 18, 2016. Prior to the start of the second day of trial, Akram asked to represent himself. After the circuit court delivered a lengthy lecture about the dangers of self-representation and a thorough inquiry into Akram’s desire to represent himself, Akram signed a waiver of counsel and was allowed to represent himself.

          When reviewing a circuit court’s ruling on a Rule 37 petition, we will not reverse the circuit court’s decision granting or denying postconviction relief unless it is clearly erroneous. E.g., Nichols v. State, 2017 Ark. 129, at 2, 517 S.W.3d 404, 407. A decision is clearly erroneous if, even with evidence to support the decision, this court "is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." Id.

          A defendant has a constitutional right to self-representation. Faretta v. California,422 U.S. 806, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 L.Ed.2d 562 (1975). This necessarily requires the waiver of the right to be represented by counsel, which is a personal right that may be waived at the pretrial stage or at trial. E.g., Jarrett v. State, 371 Ark. 100, 104, 263 S.W.3d 538, 542 (2007). A criminal defendant may invoke his right to defend himself pro se if "(1) the request to waive the right to counsel is unequivocal and timely asserted, (2) there has been a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel, and (3) the defendant has not engaged in conduct that would prevent the fair and orderly exposition of the issues." Id., 263 S.W.3d at 541. Every reasonable presumption must be indulged against the waiver of fundamental constitutional ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.