Holcomb v. Ballard (Signed Opinion)Annotate this Case
After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of child neglect. Thereafter, a jury convicted Defendant on recidivist charges, for which Defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment. The trial court subsequently granted Defendant a new trial on the underlying child neglect felony. After a retrial, Defendant was found guilty of child neglect. Defendant was subsequently sentenced to a second recidivist life sentence. Defendant filed a writ of habeas corpus, contending that his second recidivist life sentence was invalid because he was not arraigned on the recidivist information during the same term of court in which he was convicted on retrial for the underlying offense. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the recidivist life imprisonment sentence was void and unenforceable because (1) the State failed to comply with the requirements of W. Va. Code 61-11-19 insofar as Defendant was not arraigned on the information during the term of court in which he was convicted of the principal offense; and (2) a recidivist sentence under section 61-11-19 is automatically vacated whenever the underlying felony conviction is vacated.