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Summers v. Garland

Arkansas Supreme Court
98 S.W.3d 23 (2003)


Facts

The will of William Otis Garland established a $100,000 trust, the terms of which provided that Richard Garland (defendant) was entitled to use the interest generated by the trust property until he was 30 years old. The terms further provided that, if Garland either died or was convicted of a felony before turning 30, the corpus of the trust would be divided equally between Donna Garland Summers (plaintiff) and Ruby Jo Garland Warren. In December 1993, prior to his 30th birthday, Garland pleaded guilty to a felony. Days after his 30th birthday in August 2000, Garland petitioned the court for the dismissal of the felony charge and the sealing of all related case records. The judge granted the petition on the basis that Garland had complied with the terms of his probation. Thereafter, Garland and Summers both made demands for the trust property. The trustee filed an interpleader complaint to determine entitlement. The trial court concluded that Summers was precluded from presenting evidence of Garland’s conviction as proof that he violated the trust terms because the felony charge had been dismissed. Summers appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thornton, J.)

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