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Morrow v. State

Supreme Court of Arkansas

December 11, 2014




Thomas Kendrick, for appellant.

Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Eileen W. Harrison, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.


Page 91

KAREN R. BAKER, Associate Justice.

On October 15, 2012, appellant, Richard Morrow, entered a negotiated plea of guilty to second-degree sexual assault in the Sharp County Circuit Court, with an offense date of February 5, 2012. Morrow was sentenced to ten years' probation and subject to the sex-offender-registration requirements in Ark. Code Ann. § 12-12-901 et seq. (Supp. 2013). On August 12, 2013, the State filed a felony information in the Independence County Circuit Court against Morrow alleging that Morrow had committed a Class C felony for failure to comply with registration and reporting requirements

Page 92

as required by Ark. Code Ann. § 12-12-904.

During Morrow's November 22, 2013 bench trial, the following facts regarding the felony information were elicited. Lieutenant Michael Mundy with the Independence County Sheriff's Department testified that he supervises all registered sex offenders in Independence County. These individuals are required to register at the sheriff's office with Mundy or his secretary. Mundy further testified that all of the files are electronic and maintained through two databases. He further testified that the registrants confirm the accuracy, similar to an electronic credit-card-signature form, and confirmation of the information provided; i.e, phone, address, work place, email, and then sign the forms. Mundy testified that in the summer of 2013, Morrow came to the sheriff's office and met with the secretary who normally handles the registrations and changed his address to 3545 Dennis Circle. Mundy testified that he contacted Morrow's parole officer, Christa Houston, to see what address she had for Morrow. In addition, Mundy testified that the 3545 Dennis Circle address Morrow provided was not an address he was able to locate in Independence County.

Houston, a parole officer with the Arkansas Department of Community Correction in Independence County, testified that she began supervising Morrow's probation when Morrow moved to Independence County in February 2013. Prior to that, Morrow resided in Sharp County, and from October 2012 to early February 2013 his probation was supervised in Sharp County. Houston testified that since Morrow was placed on probation in October 2012, he had eight address changes. She testified that five of those address changes had occurred during her supervision. Houston testified that all files are kept and monitored electronically. Houston further testified that she ensures all registrants have registered with the sheriff's office, that the addresses with both probation and the sheriff's offices are the same, and that the addresses are accurate.

With regard to the alleged violation, Houston testified that on July 29, 2013, Morrow was released from jail for a misdemeanor theft-of-property charge but failed to report to her upon release, which he was required to do. Houston testified that on August 6, 2013, Morrow reported to her that his address was 3545 Dennis Circle. Houston testified that she could not find the 3545 Dennis Circle address and checked on a similar address at 3545 Dennie Circle, where the resident confirmed that Morrow had spent the night there the previous evening but did not reside there. Houston further testified that on August 7, 2013, Morrow reported to her again and Morrow was arrested on that day for a probation violation and was placed on a three-day probation hold. On August 13, 2013, Morrow was arrested on an outstanding warrant for the failure to report and comply with the sex-offender statutory-registration requirements.

At the close of the evidence, Morrow moved to dismiss the charges. The circuit court requested briefs from the parties. On December 12, 2013, after the parties filed their respective briefs, in a written letter order, the circuit court denied Morrow's motion to dismiss and found Morrow guilty of the offense of failure to comply with the registration and reporting requirements of Ark. Code Ann. § 12-12-904. On December 16, 2013, Morrow filed a motion for reconsideration. The state responded, and Morrow replied. On January 15, 2014, the circuit court conducted a hearing on the motion for reconsideration and denied the motion, found Morrow guilty of violating of Ark. Code Ann. § 12-12-904,

Page 93

and sentenced Morrow to four years' probation and 180 days in ...

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