Court of Appeals: Weekly Wins for the State

30 09 2011

Only five criminal appeals were decided this week in the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

In Henry Hampton, Hampton entered a conditional guilty plea and filed an appeal of the circuit court’s denial of the motion to suppress.  Issue involved obtaining a search warrant where officers conducted two controlled buys at Hampton’s residence and officers monitored the residence throughout the buys.  Challenge was made on the failure to establish the reliability of the confidential information; however, the Court found that where the officers can attest to their personal observations of the buy there is no need for the reliability of the informant to be established.

Patrick Davis was charged with theft of property after the victim called 911, police pulled over the described vehicle, the items were located in the vehicle, and the victim identified the man and items.  First, a sufficiency of the evidence challenge that Davis was the thief and to the finding that the value of the property was over $500.  The victim identified Davis and he was found with all of the stolen items so that was clearly a non-issue.  Also, the victim testified as to how much he paid for the pool cues and bag (which appears he takes it very very seriously or got ripped off), which provides sufficient evidence of the value.  The other issues were rejected as either harmless (surprising I know) or for failure to object at trial.

Shena Howard had one good lesson in it.  I’ll go ahead and make the tip of the week coming from this week.  This is an easy one.  Failure to request an admonition of the jury negates a mistrial motion.  Weaver v. State, 324 Ark. 290, 300, 920 S.W.2d 491, 496 (1996).  Defense counsel made an objection at sentencing and asked for a mistrial; however, counsel did not ask for an admonition of the jury.  Therefore, the Court of Appeals did not address the motion for a mistrial.

William Phillips was my case and it was a simple sufficiency challenge.  Phillips got 28 years on second-degree murder and didn’t want to risk a new trial and a greater sentence so we only appealed the sufficiency of the evidence. 

Cameka Sullivan also had an interesting ruling in it.  Sullivan was charged with permitting the abuse of a minor because she knew about her boyfriend’s abuse of her 2 year old but did nothing about it.  The abuse was not alleged to be sexual; however, Sullivan was required to register as a sex offender.  Sullivan challenged the order requiring her to register because it was not a sex offense.  The Court noted that permitting the abuse of a minor is listed under the definition of “sex offense.”


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