Campbell v. State

Decision Date19 February 1979
Docket NumberNo. CR78-144,No. 2,CR78-144,2
Citation265 Ark. 77,576 S.W.2d 938
PartiesRonald Jack CAMPBELL, Appellant, v. STATE of Arkansas, Appellee
CourtArkansas Supreme Court

Paul D. Groce, Jacksonville, for appellant.

Bill Clinton, Atty. Gen., by Joyce Williams Warren, Asst. Atty. Gen., Little Rock, for appellee.

FOGLEMAN, Justice.

Appellant Ronald Jack Campbell was tried on February 16, 17, 18 and 21, 1978, on a charge of murder in the first degree for the killing of Harvey Edgar White on May 17, 1972. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. The charge was made by information filed on May 24, 1972, two days after the arrest of Campbell in Memphis, Tennessee. He entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity on June 5, 1972, and was then committed to the Arkansas State Hospital for a period of 30 days for observation and examination. On October 2, 1972, the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, upon an adjudication of insanity, committed him to the state hospital, where he was confined (except for periods between March 17, 1976 and July 16, 1976, and December 18 and December 19, 1976 when he was in "escape status") until August 31, 1977, when the circuit court ordered that he be remanded to the Pulaski County jail to be held to await trial on the charge.

For reversal, appellant relies upon the following points:

I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING APPELLANT'S WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS IN THAT SAID FIVE-YEAR DETENTION WAS UNLAWFUL IN THAT THE APPELLANT WAS CONFINED IN VIOLATION OF ARK.STAT.ANN. § 41-607(2) (Repl.1977) WHICH REQUIRES CIVIL COMMITMENT IN COMPLIANCE WITH ARK.STAT.ANN. § 59-408 (REPL.1971), WHEN CONFINEMENT IS IN EXCESS OF ONE YEAR.

II

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING APPELLANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS BASED ON HIS RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL WHICH WAS ABRIDGED BY THE FIVE-YEAR DELAY.

III

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN PERMITTING, OVER APPELLANT'S OBJECTION, THE INTRODUCTION OF STATE'S EXHIBITS 2 AND 3, WHICH WERE PICTURES OF THE DECEASED'S BODY WHEN THEY CONTAINED

ONLY SOME MATERIAL OF PROBATIVE VALUE AND WERE NOT VERY RELEVANT TO THE TESTIMONY OF ANY OF THE WITNESSES; AND THEY WERE HIGHLY PREJUDICIAL.

IV

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT DIRECTING A VERDICT FOR THE APPELLANT AS PRAYED FOR IN APPELLANT'S REQUESTED INSTRUCTION NO. 1 BECAUSE APPELLANT ESTABLISHED BY A PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE THAT HE HAD A MENTAL DISEASE OR DEFECT AT THE TIME OF THE ALLEGED OFFENSE.

V

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING APPELLANT CREDIT FOR THE TIME SPENT IN CUSTODY WHILE AWAITING TRIAL IN THIS MATTER.

We find no reversible error and affirm. We will discuss appellant's points in the order listed.

I

On June 11, 1977, appellant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus. In it, he alleged that his detention was unlawful because he was confined for more than five years in violation of Ark.Stat.Ann. § 41-607(2) (Repl.1977), which he contends required compliance with Ark.Stat.Ann. § 59-408 (Repl.1971). The former section provides that any detention after one year from the date of admission be under normal civil commitment procedures. A hearing on this petition was held on July 12, 1977, but a decision was postponed until briefs were filed. In his brief, appellant invoked provisions of the Arkansas Criminal Code, which became effective on January 1, 1976. See Ark.Stat.Ann. § 41-101 (Repl.1977). The petition was denied on August 30, 1977. On September 6, 1977, the trial was continued until a later date, in order to give appellant time to appeal to this court. Notice of appeal and a designation of record were filed September 22, 1977. Another notice of appeal, reciting that a transcript had been ordered, was given on September 27, 1977. An extension of 90 days for the filing of the transcript was granted on December 20, 1977. It was not filed here until September 18, 1978. This was more than seven months after the judgment was entered. It appears that the delay was the result of appellant's withdrawal of his earlier notice of appeal in order to include this appeal with the appeal of the judgment of conviction.

The denial of the petition for habeas corpus was a final, appealable order. See, Fulks v. Walker, 224 Ark. 639, 275 S.W.2d 873. Neither appellant nor the trial court could extend the time for lodging the transcript to a date more than seven months after the entry of that judgment. Ark.Stat.Ann. § 27-2127.1 (Supp.1977).

Appellant, however, contends that non-compliance with Ark.Stat.Ann. § 59-408 pursuant to § 41-607(2) invalidates his conviction. In any event, Ark.Stat.Ann. § 41-607(2) has no application to appellant, who was committed to the state hospital "until restored to reason," in accordance with Ark.Stat.Ann. §§ 59-411 59-413 (Repl.1971) on October 2, 1972, more than three years before § 41-607(2) went into effect. Appellant seeks to bring himself into the coverage of the act by invoking § 41-102(4), which provides that a defendant in a criminal prosecution for an offense committed prior to the effective date of the Arkansas Criminal Code may elect to have the construction and application of any defense to the prosecution governed by the provisions of the code. He takes the position that his election made § 41-607(2) applicable.

There is no merit in this contention. By no stretch of the imagination can it be said that the provisions of this section are a defense to the prosecution of appellant. The application of § 41-102(4) is governed by Ark.Stat.Ann. § 41-110(3) (Repl.1977), defining a defense under the code. A defense is any matter: (1) so designated by the code, or (2) so designated by a statute not a part of the code, or (3) involving an excuse or justification peculiarly within the knowledge of the defendant on which he can fairly be required to introduce supporting evidence. The disposition of one found mentally unfit to proceed with a trial because of mental disease or defect cannot possibly be considered a defense under the code. Furthermore, there is nothing in Ark.Stat.Ann. § 41- 607, or the chapter of which it is a part, to indicate any legislative intent that this section should have any retroactive or retrospective effect.

II

Appellant filed a motion to dismiss the information on the ground that he had been denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial by reason of his confinement for over five years. This motion was filed on December 15, 1977. Appellant alleged that there had been a deliberate and purposeful delay by the state which had prejudiced him and prevented him from being able to properly prepare his defense. It appears that appellant's confinement was in full compliance with the law then applicable. The report from the state hospital to the circuit court made on July 17, 1972, was that appellant was insane at the time of the mental examination and probably was insane at the time of the commission of the alleged offense and requested that he be committed to the state hospital for treatment. A hearing on this report was held in the circuit court on October 2, 1972. Appellant and his court-appointed attorney were present. As a result of this hearing, appellant was committed to the Arkansas State Hospital until such time as he was restored to reason, pursuant to Ark.Stat.Ann. §§ 59-411 59-413.

In presenting his motion in the trial court, appellant first relied upon Ark.Stat.Ann. § 43-1308 (Repl.1977), which provided that nothing in the act under which the circuit court committed him should prevent a trial of a defendant at an adjourned day or special term of court prior to the next regular term of court after the entry of an order for observation and examination. We agree with the trial judge that this section was inapplicable. It merely permitted a trial prior to the next regular term, in order to minimize motions for observation by defendants as a dilatory move.

It appears that some member of the staff of the state hospital had reported to the court at the hearing on the petition for habeas corpus held on July 12, 1977, that the staff was in the process of reevaluating Campbell's status and that the trial judge then requested that a copy of the evaluation be forwarded to the court as soon as it was completed. The report was dated August 11, 1977. The following significant facts were revealed by it:

At a psychiatric staff conference held at the hospital on July 17, 1972, the professional opinions of a majority of those present was that Campbell was psychotic and that the diagnosis should be schizophrenia, schizo-affective type. Campbell had been involved in psychotherapy and group activity programs since he had been in the hospital. Because of the feelings of some of the staff who had worked with Campbell, it was decided to reevaluate his mental status after his second successful escape in December, 1976. Outside consultation services of a psychiatrist and a psychologist in private practice who had not had any prior contact with Campbell were obtained. Thereafter, a special psychiatric staff conference was held. Both outside consultants and members of the hospital staff participated. Professional opinion was divided as to Campbell's mental status at the time of the alleged offense and at the time of the current examination and as to whether he had schizophrenia. Most of the participants agreed that Campbell had a character (personality) disorder with neurotic traits. The consensus was the Campbell was not mentally ill to the degree of legal irresponsibility at the time of the special examination and that he did have the mental capacity to understand the proceedings against him and to assist effectively in his own defense. Opinion was equally divided as to Campbell's mental illness to the degree of legal irresponsibility at the time of the commission of the alleged offense. The consensus was that he would most probably resort to aggressive or violent behavior as he had done in the past. Opinion was divided as to whether Campbell's behavior was the...

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