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.

Rea v. Kelley

Supreme Court of Arkansas

November 21, 2019

MICHAEL E. REA APPELLANT
v.
WENDY KELLEY, DIRECTOR, ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION APPELLEE

          PRO SE APPEAL FROM THE JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 35CV-17-903] HONORABLE JODI RAINES DENNIS, JUDGE.

          Michael E. Rea, pro se appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Sammie P. Strange, Jr., Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          JOHN DANKEMP, CHIEF JUSTICE.

         Appellant Michael E. Rea appeals the denial of his petition to proceed in the circuit court as a pauper with a petition for writ of habeas corpus. This court previously remanded for a supplemental order with adequate findings of fact in compliance with Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 72 (2017). Rea v. Kelley, 2018 Ark. 329, 559 S.W.3d 746. The supplemental record has been filed, and Rea raises two points on appeal, neither of which demonstrates reversible error. Because we find no error in the denial of the petition to proceed in forma pauperis, we affirm.

         I. The Standard for In Forma Pauperis Petitions

         Arkansas Rule of Civil Procedure 72 is our procedural rule concerning civil suits filed by a complainant who desires to proceed as a pauper. Morgan v. Kelley, 2019 Ark. 189, 575 S.W.3d 108. Under Rule 72, the right to proceed in forma pauperis in civil matters is conditioned on a finding of indigency and the circuit court's satisfaction that the alleged facts indicate "a colorable cause of action." Ark. R. Civ. P. 72(c). A colorable cause of action is a claim that is legitimate and may reasonably be asserted given the facts presented and the current law or a reasonable and logical extension or modification of it. Morgan, 2019 Ark. 189, 575 S.W.3d 108.

         Our standard of review of a decision to grant or deny a petition to proceed in forma pauperis is abuse of discretion, and the circuit court's factual findings in support of its exercise of discretion will not be reversed unless clearly erroneous. Id. An abuse of discretion occurs when the court acts arbitrarily or groundlessly. Id. If the underlying petition clearly fails to state a colorable cause of action, there has been no abuse of discretion, and this court may affirm the denial of in forma pauperis status. Id. It is the appellant's burden to demonstrate the existence of reversible error. Landers v. Stone, 2016 Ark. 272, 496 S.W.3d 370.

         II. The Habeas Petition and the Supplemental Order

         In the habeas petition, Rea sought to challenge his convictions for four counts of computer exploitation of a child in the first degree and twenty counts of distributing, possessing, or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child. He was sentenced to an aggregate term of 3720 months' imprisonment, [1] and this court affirmed his convictions and sentences. Rea v. State, 2015 Ark. 431, 474 S.W.3d 493.

         In the supplemental order, the circuit court found that Rea presented sufficient evidence that he is indigent, but that the allegations in the petition did not present a colorable cause of action. The order identified five claims in the habeas petition that Rea had made in support of his claim that his sentence was illegal, and the circuit court found that these five claims were not cognizable in a habeas proceeding. The five claims the circuit court identified from the petition were (1) that the evidence introduced at Rea's trial was illegally obtained and should have been suppressed; (2) that the Arkansas Supreme Court erred in affirming Rea's conviction; (3) that the prosecuting attorney filed the wrong charges; (4) that the factors the prosecutor marked on the prosecutor report are untrue; and (5) that Rea's attorney was ineffective.

         III. Rea's First Point on Appeal

         Rea first alleges error in the circuit court's determining that he failed to state a colorable cause of action in the habeas petition. Rea asserts that he stated a cognizable claim for habeas relief in that he alleged that his sentence was illegal, that he was illegally detained because the sentencing order was invalid, and that he "presented several justiciable issues as a matter of law and fact" including double jeopardy and lack of jurisdiction. Rea appears to contend ...


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.