LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal by a man serving an 80-year sentence for rape and second-degree sexual assault.
Robert Preston Clayton, now 43, was convicted and sentenced in Lincoln County Circuit Court in 2010 in the rape of a juvenile relative. He later filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that he should be released because his conviction was invalid. A Lincoln County circuit judge rejected the petition.
Clayton argued on appeal that the state’s evidence was not sufficient to support his conviction, that the victim is now ready to “tell the truth,” and that his sentence should have been shorter because of mitigating factors such as his history of psychological problems.
In an order Thursday, the Supreme Court said the arguments were not appropriate for a writ of habeas corpus, which the court said is proper when a conviction is invalid on its face.
“A habeas proceeding does not afford a prisoner an opportunity to retry his or her case,” the court said.
Clayton also argued that the circuit judge should have held a hearing on his petition. The Supreme Court said a hearing was not necessary because Clayton did not state any claim that was appropriate in a habeas proceeding.