FROM THE ARKANSAS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NORTHERN DISTRICT.
NO. CR-2014-123. HONORABLE DAVID G. HENRY, JUDGE.
David Watson, for appellant.
Gen., Adam Donner Jackson, David Robert Raupp, for appellee.
M. GLOVER, Judge. KINARD and HOOFMAN, JJ., agree.
M. GLOVER, Judge
Austin was convicted of second-degree battery by an Arkansas
County jury, sentenced as a habitual offender to fifteen
years in the Arkansas Department of Correction, and fined
$10,000. Austin now appeals, arguing that the trial court
erred in allowing the State to introduce two misdemeanor
convictions not involving dishonesty or false statement for
impeachment purposes during his testimony. We find merit in
Austin's argument and reverse and remand.
pertinent facts of this case hinge on different versions of
the incident as told by Austin and Adam Bevell, the victim.
On November 4, 2014, Austin and Bevell were both in a park in
Humphrey, Arkansas. Bevell testified he was picking up pecans
when Austin and two other men approached him; he " knew
of" Austin but the two men were not friends. According
to Bevell, Austin walked up to Bevell, hit him on the right
side of his face with a metal object that was " wrapped
up" in Austin's hand, did not say anything to him
after he had hit him, and then handed the object in his hand
to Cole Winfrey, one of the other men with Austin. Bevell
explained he had to undergo surgery on his eye and his jaw
after Austin had hit him; he still has no feeling on that
side of his face; and he still has pain from the incident.
Bevell denied he had agreed to give Austin a ride, asserting
that he did not " run" with that crowd. Bevell said
he would not have given Austin and Winfrey a ride if they had
asked him for one. He stated he had no idea why Austin
testified on his own behalf, stating that he had known Bevell
all his life; they had always been friends; on the day of the
incident, Bevell had agreed to take Austin to Stuttgart after
Bevell took his mother home; and Bevell had given him rides
on other occasions. Austin said when Bevell returned to the
park, Cole Winfrey and two black guys were also at the park.
According to Austin, he told Bevell he was going to get in
the car; he then got into the front passenger-side seat of
Bevell's car; he saw Cole Winfrey bullying Bevell about
letting him have a ride, too; Bevell was not okay with giving
Winfrey a ride and pulled a knife out and moved toward the
car; Bevell opened the car door still holding the knife;
Austin that he had to get out; and Bevell grabbed Austin.
Austin testified that Bevell did not calmly ask him to get
out; rather he grabbed him and told him he needed to get out
immediately. Austin said he got scared and reacted by hitting
Bevell, but denied that he had anything in his hand when he
hit Bevell. Austin stated he hit Bevell because he was afraid
for his life and was afraid Bevell would stab him. No other
person who witnessed the altercation testified at trial.
issue on appeal concerns the State's questioning of
Austin on cross-examination regarding previous misdemeanor
convictions. During Austin's testimony on direct
examination in his case-in-chief, the following colloquy
Defense Counsel: Bobby, something that--something that I told
this jury at the very first part of the trial, I told them
that you have been in some trouble before, haven't you?
Appellant: Yes, sir.
Defense Counsel: You've--you've got some convictions
on your ...