PETITION TO REINVEST JURISDICTION IN THE TRIAL COURT TO
CONSIDER A PETITION UNDER CRIMINAL PROCEDURE RULE 37.1
[PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST DIVISION, NO.
G. Hallman, pro se petitioner.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Adam Jackson, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for respondent.
COURTNEY RAE HUDSON, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
Marlon Glenn Hallman asks this court for permission to
proceed in the trial court with a petition under Arkansas
Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1 (Repl. 1977) in which he
would challenge a 1978 judgment that reflects his sentence of
life imprisonment without parole for capital murder and
twenty years for kidnapping. He fails to set out a
meritorious basis for relief under the Rule, and we therefore
deny the petition.
and his codefendant, Tywanna Faye Martin, were both convicted
on the same charges in the matter and received the same
sentences. The two defendants filed a joint appeal, and this
court affirmed the judgment. Hallman v. State, 264
Ark. 900, 575 S.W.2d 688 (1979). In a previous petition that
Hallman filed in this court, one in which he sought
permission to pursue a petition for writ of error coram
nobis, he questioned the legality of the kidnapping sentence.
In that decision, we set aside the kidnapping conviction as
void. Hallman v. State, 2018 Ark. 336, 561 S.W.3d
Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that petitioners with
judgments entered before July 1, 1989, that have been
affirmed on appeal, must obtain leave from this court before
filing a postconviction petition in the trial
court. Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.2(a) (1987); see
also Munnerlyn v. State, 2018 Ark. 161, 545 S.W.3d 207.
A petition filed under the Rule is untimely if not filed
within three years of the date of commitment unless the
petitioner states some ground for relief that, if found
meritorious, would render the judgment of conviction
absolutely void. Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.2(c) (adopted December
18, 1978, by In re Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 37.2
Commencement of Proceedings; Pleadings; Permission of Supreme
Court Following Appeal, 264 Ark. 967 (1978) (per
ground sufficient to void a conviction must be one so basic
that the judgment is a complete nullity, such as a judgment
obtained in a court without jurisdiction to try the accused
or a judgment that imposes an illegal sentence when obtained
in violation of the provisions against double jeopardy.
See Travis v. State, 286 Ark. 26, 688 S.W.2d 935
(1985). Issues not sufficient to void the conviction are
waived even though they are of constitutional dimension.
Id. The burden is on the petitioner to demonstrate
that the judgment entered was a nullity. Id. The
presumption that a criminal judgment is final is at its
strongest in collateral attacks on the judgment. Id.
alleges seven bases for grounds for Rule 37 relief, all
framed as claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Four
of Hallman's listed bases for postconviction relief
concern the separate charge of kidnapping that this court
previously declared void, in that Hallman alleges counsel
failed to object to the separate charge of kidnapping, the
jury instructions for a conviction on it, his sentencing, and
the trial court's lack of jurisdiction in that regard.
While those claims incorporate a challenge to the separate
kidnapping sentence alleging that the separate kidnapping
conviction is void, Hallman has already received his relief
for the illegal sentence. See Hallman, 2018 Ark.
336, 561 S.W.3d 305. Those issues are moot.
proposes three additional bases for relief related to his
murder conviction. He alleges that counsel was ineffective
for failing to investigate a defense that challenged the
kidnapping charge as the underlying foundation for the
capital murder charge; for failing to obtain a statement from
the victim's brother, Raymond Polk, who provided an
affidavit that Hallman attached to his Rule 37 petition; and
for failing to object to the judgment not being signed by the
of ineffective assistance of counsel alone is not a claim
sufficient to void the judgment. See Travis, 286
Ark. 26, 688 S.W.2d 935. The prejudice required to support
such claims need not rise to the level of voiding the
judgment. See Maiden v. State, 2019 Ark. 198, 575
S.W.3d 120 (recognizing that the standard for
ineffective-assistance claims requires a showing that the
petitioner was deprived of a fair trial). Hallman's
claims that counsel failed to investigate or obtain a
statement from Polk would not void the judgment, and the
appropriate remedy for the type of error that Hallman alleges
in those two claims is a new trial. See State v.
Harrison, 2012 Ark. 198, 404 S.W.3d 830 (affirming grant
of postconviction relief in the form of a new trial based on
ineffective assistance of counsel for a failure to
Hallman's final claim that counsel was ineffective, he
alleges that the judgment entered should have been void as to
the murder conviction because it was not signed by the judge.
He does not, however, demonstrate that the judgment was not
in fact signed by the judge. The copy of the judgment that he
attaches to his petition appears to be a photocopy of the
copy that was provided to this court with the certified
record on appeal. The certified copy, which is not a
photocopy, clearly indicates that a signature appeared above
the line for the circuit judge's signature through a
notation using the abbreviation "/s/" and the
Hallman does not demonstrate that such an error would void
the judgment. The trial court still has the authority to
enter an order nunc pro tunc to make effective the judgment
and sentence that was pronounced in open court in 1978.
See Ainsworth v. State, 367 Ark. 353, 240 S.W.3d 105
(2006) (holding that when no judgment had been entered within
the time required by statute, the charges against the
appellant were not invalid, the sentence was not void, and
the trial court had the authority to enter a nunc pro tunc
judgment to cause the record to speak the truth); see
also Lukach v. State, 2018 Ark. 208, 548 S.W.3d 310
(holding that a challenge to the imposition of the sentences
rather than the validity of the sentences was not a
jurisdictional issue that would be sufficient to void the