FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH DIVISION [NO.
60CR-09-1130], HONORABLE HEBERT T. WRIGHT, JUDGE
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Rachel Kemp, Asst Atty Gen., for
Law Firm, by: Lee D. Short, Little Rock, for appellee.
A. WOMACK, Associate Justice
State of Arkansas appeals the circuit courts order to
expunge Kentara Browns felony conviction under Act 531 of
1993. The State contends that Brown was ineligible for
expungement under the Act and the circuit courts order was
as a matter of law. We reverse and remand to set aside the
order to expunge.
pleaded guilty to Class C felony theft of property in 2009.
See Ark. Code Ann. § 5-36-103 (Repl. 2006). She was
sentenced to three years of probation. The State conceded
that Brown was initially placed on probation under Act 531,
also known as the Community Punishment Act. See Ark.
Code Ann. § § 16-93-1201 to -1210 (Repl. 2006). The original
judgment and disposition order left unmarked a blank next to
the statement: "Defendant committed a target offense and
was sentenced under the Community Punishment [A]ct. Upon
successful completion of the conditions of probation/S.I.S.
Defendant shall be eligible to have [her] records
sealed." The conditions of probation, however,
referenced Act 531.
2011, the State petitioned to revoke the original order after
Brown failed to comply with the conditions of probation. She
pleaded guilty to the revocation charge. The circuit court
entered a new judgment and disposition order resentencing
Brown to four years of probation for the theft-of-property
conviction. Like the original order, the new order included a
blank next to a statement indicating whether the sentence was
under Act 531 and eligible for expungement. This time, the
circuit court wrote "no" in the blank. The new
conditions of probation likewise omitted any reference to the
2018, Brown petitioned to expunge her conviction under Act
531. The State objected. It argued that revocation of the
original order meant that she failed to successfully complete
probation under the Act. Because the postrevocation order was
explicitly not under Act 531, the State argued Brown was
ineligible for expungement under either order.
circuit court granted Browns petition to expunge her
conviction under Act 531. An order to expunge was
subsequently entered. In the order, the court concluded that
Brown had been sentenced under Act 531 and that she had
"satisfactorily complied" with the courts orders.
It referenced only the original three-year probation order.
The postrevocation order was not mentioned. It is from this
decision that the State appeals.
sole point on appeal, the State contends that the circuit
court erroneously expunged Browns conviction under Act 531.
In short, the State argues that Brown failed to successfully
complete an order of probation under Act 531 and is thus
ineligible for expungement under the Acts provisions. This
argument is twofold. First, the State claims that Brown did
not successfully complete the original probation order due to
its revocation. The State also contends that the
postrevocation probation order was not under Act 531 and may
not be expunged under the Act.
we must typically consider the propriety of the States
appeal under Arkansas Rule of Appellate Procedure-Criminal 3,
we need not do so here. We have consistently held that an
appeal from an order to seal a conviction, despite its
criminal designation, is civil in nature and not subject to
Rule 3. SeeState v. Tyler,2010 Ark. 307, ...