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Green v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

May 6, 2015

JAMES M. GREEN, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE CRITTENDEN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CR-06-222. HONORABLE DAVID GOODSON, SPECIAL JUDGE.

C. Brian William, for appellant.

Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: David R. Raupp, Sr. Ass't Att'y Gen., and Vada Berger, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

BART F. VIRDEN, Judge. GRUBER and WHITEAKER, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 732

BART F. VIRDEN, Judge

James Green was found by the circuit court to have violated the conditions of his probation and was sentenced to thirty-six months in the Arkansas Department of Correction. For his only point on appeal, Green asserts that the circuit court committed reversible error by allowing testimony into evidence in violation of the Confrontation Clause.[1] The State concedes that the Confrontation Clause was violated but contends that the court's error was harmless. We affirm.

I. Facts

On March 16, 2006, Green pleaded guilty to furnishing prohibited articles, a class B felony, and was sentenced to forty-eight months' supervised probation. He was ordered to pay fines, fees and court costs; enroll in and complete a program to attain a high school diploma or GED; report to his parole officer; avoid criminal behavior, and submit to drug testing. On October 26, 2007, the prosecuting attorney filed a petition to revoke Green's probation on the grounds that he had failed to pay fines, costs, and fees, failed to report to his probation officer, failed to notify the sheriff and the probation officer of his current address and employment, and for possession and use of drugs. A warrant was issued on October 29, 2007. Green was arraigned on March 16, 2012, and a hearing was set for June 26, 2012. He failed to appear, and a bench warrant was issued. On July 31, 2013, he appeared again before the court, and the hearing was set for September 9, 2013.

At that hearing, Amy Peyton, who handles all the fees, fines, costs, and other court assessments at the Crittenden County Sheriff's Department, testified that Green never paid any of the $50-a-month installments of his fines, costs and fees, and that he never contacted the department.

Next, Mary Marshall, probation officer for the Department of Community Correction, testified that she received Green's file the day of the hearing and after reviewing it she saw that he had not paid his fines. Green's attorney objected, stating, " She has never been the probation officer in this case. She received the file for court today, and therefore, she doesn't have any personal knowledge." The court overruled the objection. Marshall went on to testify that the one time Green reported to his probation officer on October 27, 2007, he tested positive for cocaine, opiates, and marijuana. Green's attorney objected to Marshall's testimony, citing the Confrontation Clause. Again, his objection was overruled. Marshall testified that Green never paid his fees, and he never reported to his probation officer again.

Page 733

Green testified on his own behalf. He stated that during October 2007 he was homeless, using drugs, and that he had done odd jobs for people over the years. After completing a drug-rehabilitation program, he moved in with his father and credited having a stable place to live with his success in staying drug-free. After his father passed away in March 2013, he inherited his father's house. He testified that he never paid fines, costs, or fees and that he did not report to his probation officer because prior to living with his father he was living in Memphis against the order of the court. When asked if he had done anything he was ordered to do, he testified that he " didn't do anything."

Green was found to have violated the conditions of his probation and was sentenced to thirty-six months in the Arkansas Department of Correction. A timely ...


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