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Wells v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

October 16, 2019

CAMERON WELLS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE MISSISSIPPI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, CHICKASAWBA DISTRICT [NO. 47BCR-19-73] HONORABLE RALPH WILSON, JR., JUDGE

          Law Office of Harris & Morrison, by: James W. Harris, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Adam Jackson, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          OPINION

          ROBERT J. GLADWIN, JUDGE

         Cameron Wells appeals the Mississippi County Circuit Court's order of March 28, 2019, which found, among other things, that Wells's notice of appeal filed in the circuit court on March 6, 2019, was from his battery-third conviction in the district court on December 12, 2018, and was untimely. Wells argues that the circuit court erred by (1) dismissing his appeal and remanding the matter to the district court; (2)finding that it did not have superintending authority over the district court; and (3)finding it was without jurisdiction to establish a bond for the appeal from the district court. We dismiss the appeal for want of jurisdiction under Rule 36 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure (2018).

         On December 12, 2018, Wells was found guilty of third-degree battery in the Blytheville District Court. He was sentenced to eleven months in jail, suspended; fifteen days of electronic monitoring; restitution; and a mutual no-contact order. Wells was told in open court that he had thirty days to appeal from the sentencing order or judgment entered December 12 and that he should return to the district court if he did not appeal so that he could be fitted with an electronic-monitoring device.[1] No appeal was filed within thirty days. Wells did not reappear in the district court within thirty days, and a failure-to-appear (FTA) warrant was issued on January 17, 2019, in the Blytheville District Court.

         When Wells appeared in the district court on a new felony charge on March 4, 2019, he was held on the FTA charge in the battery case. He appeared the next day, March 5, in the district court and pled guilty to FTA. He was sentenced to $290 in fines and $100 in costs.

         On March 6, 2019, in the circuit court, Wells filed a notice of appeal and attached a copy of the district court docket sheet in his third-degree-battery case. The notice of appeal sets forth the history of the case, including the FTA "citation" from March 5, and it alleges that Wells was not given notice of the FTA warrant. The notice of appeal states, "Defendant hereby gives notice to the State of Arkansas that he appeals from District Court to Circuit Court, in accordance with Rule 36 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure." It also states that Wells's "due process rights have been violated under both the U.S. Constitution and the Arkansas Constitution."

         On March 6, 2019, the circuit court filed a bond order under a "not-yet-filed" or "NYF" charge in the district court and also under the FTA that followed the battery conviction. The bond order released Wells upon posting of a cash surety bond in the amount of $50, 000. The bond was to stand for both cases—(1) the unfiled, pending felony matter; and (2) the misdemeanor appeal.

         On March 7, 2019, a supplement to the bond order was filed, which states:

1. The court advised counsel that its previous order (the Bond Order) was issued based on the following findings and observations:
a) The defendant's Notice of Appeal filed March 6, 2019, and attached exhibit A (District Court docket sheet), on its face demonstrates issues which this court finds to be appealable issues— arising out of the District Court case 2018-04308 (battery 3rd degree) docket, regardless of defendant's failure to timely file an appeal of the initial finding or sentencing. Apparent appealable issues include, but are not limited to issuance/disposition of the alleged failure to appear charges on the underlying charge and requirement of a $2500 cash bond, both of which this court finds could be punitive in nature. Further possible issues of due process related to post conviction actions are presented for a court of record to consider.
d) Ultimate determination of whether defendant has an appealable action (or the extent thereof) and/or disposition is subject to adjudication by the assigned Circuit Judge at a properly scheduled hearing.
e) Upon entry of the Bond Order, jurisdiction of all related issues, including release on bond, are vested ...

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