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Lee v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

December 3, 2014

MATTHEW JAMES LEE, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CR-13-0810-1. HONORABLE ROBIN F. GREEN, JUDGE.

Norwood & Norwood, P.A., by: Doug Norwood and Alison Lee, for appellant.

Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Laura K. Shue, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge. WYNNE and GRUBER, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 710

WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge

Appellant Matthew Lee appeals from his conditional plea of guilty to the charge of first-offense driving while intoxicated (DWI). He was sentenced to thirty days in the county jail, with twenty-nine days suspended for one year and credit for one day. He was also assessed fines, fees, and other costs. Lee argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence. We affirm.

The facts are that on December 24, 2012, Officer Travis Pennington of the Rogers Police Department was notified by dispatch of a possible disturbance in progress in the parking lot of the Goodyear Tire building located at New Hope and 8th Streets. According to dispatch, to the callers stated that two men were chasing a woman and dragging her to the ground. Pennington was informed that two vehicles were in the parking lot: a white Ford truck and a dark Volvo station wagon. He was subsequently informed that one of the men had gotten into the white truck and was about to pull out of the parking lot. Pennington was only a short distance away from the location and arrived approximately two minutes after receiving the call. Upon arrival, he saw Lee, who was driving a white Ford F150, attempting to leave. Pennington also noticed a black Volvo station wagon in the parking lot. Pennington activated his blue lights and made contact with Lee. As a result of that contact, Lee was arrested and charged with DWI.

Lee filed a motion to suppress on September 25, 2013. His suppression hearing took place on November 12, 2013. Officer Pennington testified that when he received the call from dispatch, he sped to the location because he thought that someone might be hurt. He stated that he did not personally witness any disturbance; that he did not see a woman when he arrived; that the callers did not give a description of the men; that he did not know anything about the callers; and that he did not see any evidence of a crime scene. The court denied Lee's suppression motion, finding that " if the officer had not initiated a traffic stop and done a criminal investigation perhaps we [would] consider [him] derelict in his duties." Lee subsequently entered a conditional plea of guilty to the charge against him. This timely appeal followed.

When a defendant pleads guilty to a charge, he or she waives the right to appeal that conviction.[1] For relevant purposes in the appeal before us, only a conditional plea pursuant to Rule 24.3(b) enables a defendant to retain the right to appeal an adverse suppression ruling.[2]

Rule 24.3(b) states:

With the approval of the court and the consent of the prosecuting attorney, a

Page 711

defendant may enter a conditional plea of guilty or nolo contendere, reserving in writing the right, on appeal from the judgment, (i) to review an adverse determination of a pretrial motion to ...

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