Recent Success on Appeal

United States v. Clifton Thomas – 2015

  • The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for a new sentencing due to an incorrect calculation of the applicable guideline range.

Christopher Beverage v. State – 2015

  • Arkansas Supreme Court reversed and remanded for a Rule 37 hearing on the issue of competency.

Raymundo Guana-Lopez v. State – 2014

  • Arkansas Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial because the trial court failed to ensure the defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his right to a jury trial.

Vernell Conley v. State  – 2014

  • The Arkansas Supreme Court reversed and dismissed 36 years for drug convictions based upon joint occupancy of a residence.  The appeal was a Rule 37 appeal alleging ineffective assistance for failing to properly move for directed verdict.

United States v. Terys Boose – 2013

  • The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded Boose’s case for a new sentencing hearing.  Boose was sentenced as a career offender; however, his prior offense for battery in the second degree should not have counted as a crime of violence.

Hall v. Hall -2013

  • Arkansas Court of Appeals upheld a child support determination against a challenge from his ex-wife.

Jones v. Jones -2013

  • Arkansas Court of Appeals upheld a divorce decree against challenges from her ex-husband regarding the division of land, vehicles, and other property.

State v. Edward Miller – 2013

  • The trial court granted Miller’s request to be removed from the sex offender registry.
  • The State appealed on the grounds that Miller was a threat to the safety of others because he never took responsibility for his actions.
  • The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the trial court and noted that he had numerous character witnesses and passed a polygraph stating that he thought the act was consensual.

State v. Darnell Porter – 2013

  • Darnell Porter was convicted of three counts of delivery of a controlled substance resulting in a 45 year sentence.
  • Our firm was hired to represent him in the Rule 37 Petition arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial.
  • Judge Reynolds granted the Rule 37 Petition and Porter will now receive a new trial.

Elfido Gutierrez v. State – 2012

  • Gutierrez entered a conditional guilty plea under Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 24.3(b), allowing him to appeal the trial court’s denial of the motion to suppress.  He was sentenced to 120 months on drug offenses and 72 months for possessing a firearm.
  • The Arkansas Court of Appeals found that the evidence should have been suppressed from an illegal search of the residence Gutierrez was found inside.  As a result, Gutierrez’s convictions will be dismissed.
  • Arkansas Court of Appeals decision
  • Southwest Times article

Juan Estrada v. State – 2011

  • Estrada was convicted in 2010 of Rape and Sexual Assault.  He was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional term of years.  Our firm was hired to file a Rule 37 Petition for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.  At trial, Estrada was represented by a public defender who failed to investigate the case, file pre-trial motions, properly voir dire the jury, or point out inconsistencies in the alleged victims’ testimony and statements.  After months of preparation and an 8 hour hearing, the trial judge took our Petition under advisement.  Three months later he issued a 30 page order granting Estrada a new trial.

Ira Gene Vankirk v. State – 2011

  • Soon after Vankirk plead guilty and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences, he hired us for the appeal.  Typically, there is not a basis for appeal when a guilty plea is entered; however, based upon changes in the law we were able to appeal an error at sentencing.  The trial judge allowed a video of the victim to be played for the jury without the victim testifying.  Our appeal argued that this violated Vankirk’s Confrontation Clause rights.  The Arkansas Supreme Court allowed oral argument on the issue.  The Supreme Court ruled in our favor and vacated the sentence of Vankirk.  Arkansas is the first jurisdiction to broadly extend Confrontation Clause rights to sentencing.
  • Oral Argument Video
  • Arkansas Supreme Court decision
  • Sentencing Law and Policy blog post 
  • Arkansas Times article
  • The Confrontation Blog post

Ray Hobbs, Director of ADC v. Chancey Baird -2011

  • Our firm filed a declaratory judgment action in Jefferson County Circuit Court to compel the Arkansas Department of Corrections to interpret the former deadly weapon statute to give Baird parole eligibility.  After winning in circuit court, the Attorney General of Arkansas filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.  Oral argument was heard in the Arkansas Supreme Court and ultimately the Court ruled in our favor.  For Baird, and hundred of other inmates sentenced under the same statute, this will mean a significant reduction in the time spent behind bars.
  • Arkansas Supreme Court decision

Donnie Ray Slater v. State-2011

  • This case was a direct appeal from a conviction for delivery of .22 grams of crack.  Slater was sentenced to 40 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.  Our firm was appointed to handle the appeal.  We were able to successfully convince the Court of Appeals that the evidence was insufficient to convince any reasonable juror that Slater was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  This resulted in a dismissal of Slater’s conviction and he was released from prison.
  • Court of Appeals decision

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