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Harper v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

January 15, 2020

JARED HARPER, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

Page 709

          APPEAL FROM THE MILLER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 46CR-15-281. HONORABLE BRENT HALTOM, JUDGE.

         COUNSEL:

          Jeff Rosenzweig, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Brooke Jackson Gasaway, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge. SWITZER and WHITEAKER, JJ., agree.

         OPINION

Page 710

         RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge

          This case returns to us after we remanded it on March 13, 2019. In Jared Harper's direct appeal, we affirmed in part but remanded for the circuit court to conduct an in camera review of the prosecutor's notes from a March 6, 2017 interview with the alleged victim, K.S. See Harper v. State, 2019 Ark.App. 163, 573 S.W.3d 596. Upon review, we affirm.

          We begin by providing the relevant facts and procedural history to explain our current posture. After we remanded, but prior to the issuance of the mandate, the circuit court conducted an in camera hearing and reviewed the prosecutor's notes. The circuit court entered an order on March 20, 2019, and concluded that the notes were not a substantially verbatim statement from K.S., did not contain material that required disclosure under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), and any nondisclosure was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. See Ark. Code Ann. § 16-89-115(e)(2) (Repl. 2005). The circuit court then reinstated Harper's convictions and placed the prosecutor's notes under seal.

          On March 21, 2019, Harper filed a motion to vacate the circuit court's March 20, 2019 order because the mandate had not yet issued. Harper also filed a notice of appeal from that order, and the case was assigned number CR-19-419 (the present case). The mandate in the direct appeal (CR-18-556) issued on May 23, 2019.

          On June 5, 2019, the circuit court granted Harper's motion and vacated its March 20, 2019 order. That same day, the circuit court entered another order again reinstating Harper's convictions. Harper then filed a notice of appeal from the June 5, 2019 order, which was pending before our court in Harper v. State, CR-19-566.

          On July 17, 2019, prior to filing his brief, Harper filed a motion in our court seeking access to the sealed prosecutor's notes. We granted Harper " leave to ...


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