Michael E. REA, Appellant
Wendy KELLEY, Director, Arkansas Department of Correction, Appellee
APPEAL FROM THE JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO.
35CV-17-903], HONORABLE JODI RAINES DENNIS, JUDGE
Michael E. Rea, pro se appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Sammie P. Strange, Jr., Asst Atty
Gen., for appellee.
DAN KEMP, 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.
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 courts 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.
standard of review of a decision to grant or deny a petition
to proceed in forma pauperis is abuse of discretion, and the
circuit courts 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 appellants burden to demonstrate the
existence of reversible error. Landers v. Stone,
2016 Ark. 272, 496 S.W.3d 370.
The Habeas Petition and the Supplemental Order
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, and this court affirmed his
convictions and sentences. Rea v. State, 2015 Ark.
431, 474 S.W.3d 493.
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 Reas
trial was illegally obtained and should have been suppressed;
(2) that the Arkansas Supreme Court erred in affirming Reas
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 Reas attorney was
Reas First Point on Appeal
first alleges error in the circuit courts 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 ...