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Trammell v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

October 23, 2019

Maurice TRAMMELL, Appellant
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

         APPEAL FROM THE HEMPSTEAD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 29CR-18-67], HONORABLE RANDY WRIGHT, JUDGE

          Maurice Trammell, pro se appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Michael L. Yarbrough, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

          OPINION

         RITA W. GRUBER, Chief Judge

          Appellant Maurice Trammell appeals from an order of the Hempstead County Circuit Court denying his petition for postconviction relief under Rule 37.1 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure as untimely. For reversal, Trammell argues that his petition was timely filed under the prison-mailbox rule. We dismiss the appeal.

          On September 17, 2018, Trammell pleaded no contest to aggravated robbery in case No. CR-18-67 and theft of property in case No. CR-18-68, and a sentencing order was entered September 19, 2018. He was sentenced as a habitual offender to twenty years’ imprisonment and five years’ suspended imposition of sentence on the aggravated-robbery conviction and twenty years’ imprisonment on the theft-of-property conviction to be served concurrently.

          On December 26, 2018, Trammell filed a petition for postconviction relief under Rule 37 in the aggravated-robbery case (CR-18-67). The circuit court entered an order on January 7, 2019, denying the petition as untimely. A notice of appeal was filed on January 17, 2019.

         Under Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.2(c), if a conviction was obtained on a guilty plea, a petition for postconviction relief must be filed within ninety days of the judgment being entered. Here, the sentencing order was filed September 19, 2018. The ninetieth

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day from that date was December 18, 2018.[1] His petition was file-marked December 26, 2018, and therefore was outside the ninety days allowed. However, Trammell argues that he deposited his petition in the prison-mail system on December 19, and therefore his petition is timely under the prison-mailbox rule set out in Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.2(g).

         Our supreme court has stated that "a petition under Rule 37.1 is not deemed filed on the date an incarcerated inmate deposited his or her petition in the prison facility’s legal mail system unless conditions that are set out in the Rule have been satisfied." McClinton v. State, 2016 Ark. 461, at 2, 506 S.W.3d 227, 228 (citing Anderson v. Kelley, 2016 Ark. 46, 2016 WL 447977 (per curiam)). These are the requirements under Rule 37.2(g): on the date the petition is deposited in the mail, the petitioner is confined in a state correctional facility, a federal correctional facility, or a regional or county detention facility that maintains a system designed for legal mail; the petition is filed pro se; the petition is deposited with first-class postage prepaid, addressed to the clerk of the circuit court; and the petition contains a notarized statement by the petitioner in the following form:

I declare under penalty of perjury:
that I am incarcerated in __________ [name of facility ...

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