FRED L. WILLIAMS APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
APPEAL FROM THE DREW COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT; MOTION FOR DEFAULT
JUDGMENT AND FOR EXPEDIENT REVIEW OF APPEAL AND RELIEF OF
CUSTODY; AMENDMENT TO DEFAULT JUDGMENT MOTION AND MOTION FOR
EXPEDIENT REVIEW, DOUBLE JEOPARDY HELD; MOTION FOR SUBMISSION
OF APPELLANT'S BELATED REPLY BRIEF [NO. 22CR-13-43]
HONORABLE SAM POPE, JUDGE
L. Williams, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Kent Holt, Ass't Att'y
Gen., for appellee.
DAN KEMP, CHIEF JUSTICE
Fred L. Williams brings this pro se appeal from the denial by
the trial court of his claims for postconviction relief that
were raised pursuant to Rule 37.1 (2016) of the Arkansas
Rules of Criminal Procedure. Also pending before this court
are Williams's motion for default judgment, for expedient
review of appeal and relief of custody; "amendment to
default judgment motion and motion for expedient review,
double jeopardy held"; and his motion for submission of
a belated reply brief. Because Williams raised claims that
are not cognizable in Rule 37.1 proceedings and also failed
to establish prejudice as a basis to support his multiple
ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims, we affirm the trial
court's order, which renders Williams's motions moot.
was found guilty of murder in the first degree and abuse of a
corpse for which an aggregate sentence of life imprisonment
was imposed. Williams was sentenced as a habitual offender.
We affirmed the conviction and the sentence. Williams v.
State, 2015 Ark. 316, 468 S.W.3d 776.
subsequently filed a timely petition for Rule 37.1 relief,
contending that his right to due process was violated as a
result of juror misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, and an
illegal search. Williams also raised multiple
ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims. Two hearings were
held on Williams's Rule 37.1 petition. The trial court
denied relief on the basis that Williams had failed to
provide sufficient supporting evidence to establish he had
been prejudiced under the standard set forth in
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), for a
determination of effective assistance of counsel.
appeal, we consider only those claims that were raised in
Williams's Rule 37.1 petition and ruled on by the trial
court. Gordon v. State, 2018 Ark. 73, 539 S.W.3d
586; State v. Grisby, 370 Ark. 66, 257 S.W.3d 104
(2007). Those claims are in two categories-trial error and
allegations that trial counsel was ineffective. The claims of
trial error are (1) that the evidence presented at trial was
the result of an illegal search and seizure; (2) that juror
misconduct occurred at the trial; and (3) that the prosecutor
made improper comments to the jury. The claims of ineffective
assistance of counsel are (1) that trial counsel failed to
investigate the affidavit supporting the search warrant; (2)
that trial counsel failed to thoroughly investigate the
AT&T phone records; (3) that trial counsel failed to
rebut the testimony of the medical examiner, Dr. Adam Craig;
(4) that trial counsel failed to object to the
prosecutor's conduct; and (5) that trial counsel failed
to preserve or raise issues on appeal.
was not intended to provide a method for the review of mere
error in the conduct of the trial or to serve as a substitute
for a direct appeal of the judgment. Lane v. State,
2019 Ark. 5, 564 S.W.3d 524; Hulsey v. State, 268
Ark. 312, 595 S.W.2d 934 (1980). Claims of an illegal search,
juror misconduct, and prosecutorial misconduct cannot be
raised in a Rule 37 proceeding. Howard v. State, 367
Ark. 18, 238 S.W.3d 24 (2006); Cigainero v. State,
321 Ark. 533, 906 S.W.2d 282 (1995). Therefore, the only
cognizable claims are the ineffective-assistance-of-counsel
claims that Williams raised below and reasserted on appeal.
standard for ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims is the
two-prong analysis set forth in Strickland, 466 U.S.
668. McClinton v. State, 2018 Ark. 116, 542 S.W.3d
859. The benchmark for judging a claim of ineffective
assistance of counsel must be "whether counsel's
conduct so undermined the proper functioning of the
adversarial process that the trial cannot be relied on as
having produced a just result." Id. at 3-4, 542
S.W.3d at 862 (quoting Strickland, 466 U.S. at 686).
To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel,
the petitioner must show that (1) counsel's performance
was deficient and (2) the deficient performance prejudiced
his defense. Id. Unless a petitioner makes both
showings, the allegations do not meet the benchmark on review
for granting relief on a claim of ineffective assistance.
Id. A court need not address both components of the
inquiry if the petitioner makes an insufficient showing on
one. Carter v. State, 2015 Ark. 166, 460 S.W.3d 781.
In order to demonstrate prejudice, the petitioner must show
there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's
errors, the fact-finder would have had a reasonable doubt
respecting guilt, i.e., the decision reached would have been
different absent the errors. Douglas v. State, 2018
Ark. 89, 540 S.W.3d 685. A reasonable probability is a
probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome
of the trial. Id. Conclusory statements that counsel
was ineffective cannot be the basis for postconviction
Standard of Review
court reviews the trial court's decision on a Rule 37.1
petition for clear error. Russell v. State, 2017
Ark. 174, 518 S.W.3d 674. A finding is clearly erroneous
when, although there is evidence to support it, the appellate
court, after reviewing the totality of the evidence, is left
with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been
committed. Polivka v. State, 2010 Ark. 152, 362
S.W.3d 918. When considering an appeal from a trial
court's denial of a Rule 37.1 petition based on
ineffective assistance of counsel, the sole question
presented is whether, based on a totality of the evidence
under the standard set forth by the ...