Goodwin v. Keaton

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Justia Opinion Summary

After a jury trial, Charles Goodwin was convicted of attempted capital-felony murder with aggravated robbery as the underlying offense and sentenced to life imprisonment. Petitioner timely filed a pro se petition for postconviction relief pursuant to Ark. R. Crim. P. 37.1. Approximately three-and-one-half years afterwards, Petitioner filed a pro se petition for writ of mandamus, contending that the circuit court judge had not acted on the Rule 37.1 petition in a timely manner. The judge explained the cause of the delay, and the Rule 37.1 petition was acted on by the court. The Supreme Court, therefore, held that the mandamus action was moot.

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Cite as 2012 Ark. 137 ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT No. CR 11-1186 Opinion Delivered CHARLES EDWARD GOODWIN PETITIONER March 29, 2012 PRO SE PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS [OUACHITA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, CR 2006-153] v. HON. EDWIN A. KEATON, CIRCUIT JUDGE RESPONDENT PETITION MOOT. PER CURIAM In 2007, judgment was entered in the Ouachita County Circuit Court reflecting that petitioner Charles Edward Goodwin had been found guilty by a jury of attempted capitalfelony murder with aggravated robbery as the underlying felony offense. A sentence of life imprisonment was imposed. We affirmed. Goodwin v. State, 373 Ark. 53, 281 S.W.3d 258 (2008). On June 4, 2008, petitioner Goodwin timely filed in the trial court a pro se verified petition for postconviction relief pursuant to Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 37.1 (2008). On November 29, 2011, petitioner filed in this court a pro se petition for writ of mandamus, contending that Circuit Judge Edwin A. Keaton had not acted on the Rule 37.1 petition in a timely manner. There was no reference in the response to the delay of approximately three-and-one-half years in acting on the petition. As it was not clear what circumstances caused the lengthy delay in acting on the Rule 37.1 petition, this court requested the respondent to file an amended response setting out the reasons for the delay. Cite as 2012 Ark. 137 Goodwin v. Keaton, 2012 Ark. 28 (per curiam). The amended response has been received. Judge Keaton explains that the Rule 37.1 petition was inadvertently set aside in 2008 when an order was entered on the petitioner s motion to proceed in forma pauperis, holding that the motion to proceed as an indigent needed no action. As the respondent has explained the cause of the delay, and the Rule 37.1 petition has been acted on by the court, the mandamus action is moot. We have noted in similar circumstances where there was a lengthy delay in disposing of a pleading that each judicial district should have in place a system whereby each judge is fully aware of the filings on his or her docket. See, e.g., Cabral v. Keith, 364 Ark. 456, 220 S.W.3d 683 (2005) (per curiam) (urging all judicial districts to develop a system whereby judges are promptly made aware of filings in their courts); McCoy v. Phillips, 357 Ark. 368, 166 S.W.3d 564 (2004) (per curiam) (urging all judicial districts to develop a system whereby judges are made aware of filings in their courts). Prompt resolution of all matters before a court is vital to the administration of justice. See Higgins v. Proctor, 2009 Ark. 496 (per curiam). Petition moot. 2