This is a motion for leave to file a petition pursuant to criminal procedure Rule No. 1, a post conviction remedy.
The petitioners' convictions for assault with intent to kill were affirmed in this court in Ballew v. State, 246 Ark. ___, 441 S.W.2d 453 (1969). Thereafter through writ of habeas corpus they applied to U.S. District Court, the Honorable J. Smith Henley, Judge, alleging that the state courts denied them due process because a shot gun introduced into evidence and an out of court statement of Bobby Ballew should have been suppressed. An amended petition raised the issues of whether the petitioners' federal rights were violated because the state trial court did not instruct the jury with reference to the genuineness of the statements of Bobby Ballew and did not admonish the jury that the confession of petitioner Bobby Ballew was not to be considered against petitioner Rodger Ballew.
The Federal District Court found that the shot gun was properly admitted by the state, but dismissed without prejudice that portion of the petition with respect to the claims about Bobby Ballew's statements and the absence of cautionary instructions with reference to Rodger Ballew. In suggesting
Admittedly none of the issues bothering the Federal District Court were raised in the trial court.
The questions raised by the U.S. District Court are stated in this language.
We deny this motion for leave to proceed under our post conviction procedure. The denial is because each matter now presented could and should have been presented to the trial court in the first instance.
(1) As pointed out in Wigmore 3rd Ed. § 860, no one other than the defendant is in any better position than the defendant to know the reasons why he should object to a confession. In this instance the record, at page 30, shows that the defendant in a hearing to suppress the confession verified its genuineness except with respect to his paramour making "trip after trip" to Arizona with another man. The defendant stated then that she had only been to Arizona with the man only once. West's Arkansas Digest under Criminal Law 824(1) carries a host of cases all to the effect that a trial court is not required to give instructions on a particular point unless a request is made therefor. West's Modern Federal Practice Digest under Criminal Law 824(1) cites a host of federal cases under this language: "In the absence of a request for a charge, reversal is justified only if failure to instruct constitutes a basic and highly prejudicial error." Here the genuineness of the confession or statement against interest was admitted except as to one unimportant detail and furthermore the matters therein stated were corroborated by other evidence. We can find no excuse to say that petitioners were highly prejudiced under the circumstances.
(2) It appears to us that the issue relative to a cautionary instruction that Bobby's confession was not evidence against Rodger Ballew was also a procedural matter. The federal courts require an objection and exception before such failure is prejudicial error, Nassif v. United States, (8 Cir. 1967), 370 F.2d 147, and we can find no reason to hold to the contrary.
Furthermore, as pointed out in Wigmore 3rd ed. § 860 the finding by the trial court is only for the purpose of determining whether the confession is competent or incompetent evidence. Most such determinations are made upon a preponderance of the evidence by the trial judges. Lastly, but not least, in Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368, 84 S.Ct. 1774, 12 L.Ed. 908, 1 A.L.R.3rd 1205 (1964) it was stated:
It appears to us that the procedure outlined in Ark.Stat.Ann. § 43-2105 (Supp.1969) which requires the trial court to determine the voluntariness of confessions by a preponderance of the evidence and our own independent review on appeal are sufficient to meet the test that the voluntariness be "fairly determined."
Ordinarily motions such as here involved are either summarily granted or denied, but in view of the number of federal habeas corpus petitions made with respect to issues not raised in our trial courts, we have gone to some length here to show merit of giving credence to our procedural rules which are not vastly different from those in practice before the federal courts. Unless such credence is given to our procedural rules particularly with respect to matters within the knowledge and ambit of the defendant at the time of trial, the guilty by merely remaining quiet when he ought to speak can trap society and obtain his liberty after memories have failed, witnesses have died and records are lost. Our laws guarantee to every man charged with crime the right to his day in court before a jury and according to law. In so doing society should be entitled to demand that all issues be tried and litigated on that day, particularly with respect to matters within the knowledge and control of the defendant. Our procedural rules are designed to accomplish that result.
For the reasons stated the motion for leave to proceed for post conviction relief is denied.
FOGLEMAN, J., not participating.