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Hughes v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

June 17, 2015

AARON KEITH HUGHES, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

Page 171

APPEAL FROM THE HOT SPRING COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 30CR-14-007-1. HONORABLE CHRIS E WILLIAMS, JUDGE.

Gregory Crain, for appellant.

No response.

BART F. VIRDEN, Judge. GLADWIN, C.J., and BROWN, J., agree.

OPINION

Page 172

BART F. VIRDEN, Judge

On May 27, 2014, a Hot Spring County Circuit Court jury found Aaron Keith Hughes guilty of second-degree domestic battery. He was sentenced to six years in the Arkansas Department of Correction and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $752.85. A judgment was filed on May 30, 2014, and a timely notice of appeal followed.

Hughes's attorney has filed a motion to be relieved as counsel and a no-merit brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493, (1967), and Ark. S.Ct. R. 4-3(k) (2010), in which counsel asserts that there is no issue of arguable merit to support an appeal. Counsel provided his client with a copy of the motion and brief. Hughes did not file any pro se points for reversal, and the State elected not to file a brief with our court.

Facts

On May 25, 2014, immediately before the trial was set to begin, the circuit court held a hearing to address Hughes's request for a continuance. Hughes asserted that because he had conditionally retained counsel of his choice, Shane Ethridge, to replace his appointed attorney, Gregory Crain, he should be granted a continuance so that Ethridge could defend him on the charge brought against him.[1] Hughes stated that he could pay Ethridge $1500 if the continuance was granted but that Ethridge had not been officially retained at that time. Previously, Hughes had sworn an affidavit that he was indigent. The court denied Hughes's request.

The trial took place immediately after the hearing. At the trial, the victim, Kyra Zatarain, described the events of the evening

Page 173

of June 16, 2013. Zatarain testified that after vacationing together in California, she and Hughes had arrived home, and she was cooking dinner when Hughes's cousin became ill in the bathroom. When Zatarain tried to assist Hughes's cousin, Hughes refused to allow Zatarain to help and then became very angry. She testified that he pushed her up against the bathroom wall and choked her. Zatarain testified that later that evening, as the argument continued outside in the carport, he choked her again and then threw her against fence. She testified that she lost consciousness at some point in the evening. She stated that when she went to the doctor the next day, she was immediately transported to an orthopedic surgeon. She testified that her shoulder was injured so badly that it required surgery where four inches of bone was removed and that she also had a broken arm. Zatarain testified that she also suffered cuts, bruises and damage to her esophagus from Hughes strangling her and that she had permanent scars. At the time of trial, Zatarain was still in physical therapy. She testified that she could not work because of her ...


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