Petition for certiorari filed at, 07/23/2015
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the printed official reporter.
APPEAL FROM THE JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CR-2012-106-1. HONORABLE BERLIN C. JONES, JUDGE.
Potts Law Office, by: Gary W. Potts, for appellant.
Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Pamela Rumpz, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RHONDA K. WOOD, Associate Justice. DANIELSON, J., concurs.
RHONDA K. WOOD, Associate Justice
Edmond McClinton was convicted of raping a mentally handicapped, sixteen-year-old girl. McClinton was sentenced as a habitual offender and received a term of life imprisonment pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-4-501. McClinton now appeals, arguing that he was denied a fair trial because the circuit court refused to grant a mistrial based upon a comment made by a prospective juror during jury selection. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 1-2(a)(2) (2014). We find no error and affirm.
As part of the jury-selection process, the circuit judge asked the prospective jurors if any of them were acquainted with the witnesses, attorneys, or the defendant. One of the jurors indicated that he had gone to elementary school with McClinton, after which, the following colloquy occurred:
THE COURT: All right. With regards to the defendant, whom you may have gone to elementary school with, is there anything in your mind about your having gone to school up to whatever grade you may have gone to with the defendant that you can remember and you will either hold it against him or use it to help him?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR: I distinctly remember him, your Honor. Sixth grade, Coleman Elementary in 1990.
THE COURT: All right. Is there anything about that sixth grade you could not leave ...