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Oliver v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

June 22, 2016

TRENCIE OLIVER APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH DIVISION [NO. 60CR-14-1889] HONORABLE HERBERT THOMAS WRIGHT, JUDGE

          Mullenix & Reardon, P.A., by: D. Ryan Mullenix; and The Baxter Law Firm, by: Ray Baxter, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Evelyn D. Gomez, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          Abramson and Gruber, JJ., agree.

          BART F. VIRDEN, Judge.

         The Pulaski County Circuit Court convicted appellant Trencie Oliver of second-degree unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle and possession of a firearm by certain persons. He was sentenced as a habitual offender to thirty years' imprisonment for each conviction with those sentences running concurrently. On appeal, Oliver argues that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss, (2) the State destroyed potentially exculpatory evidence, and (3) the trial court erred in its admission of evidence. We affirm.[1]

         I. Trial Testimony

         Sergeant Andre Dyer with the Little Rock Police Department testified that on the evening of May 9, 2014, he was working "saturation detail" in an area near the intersection of University Avenue and Colonel Glenn Road/Asher Avenue. Dyer described this intersection as "well lit." Dyer was sitting at a red light behind one other vehicle on Colonel Glenn facing east and was in the inner of two northbound turn lanes. Dyer stated that there were two lanes to turn left off of University and onto Colonel Glenn and that there was a GMC truck in the inner lane closest to his patrol vehicle. As the truck turned onto Colonel Glenn, Dyer saw the driver stick his left arm out of the window and fire three rounds into the air. Dyer stated that he could clearly see the firearm.

         Dyer testified that other vehicles had come to a stop, allowing him to turn around and pursue the truck, which eventually turned into the parking lot of an apartment complex and parked next to a dumpster. According to Dyer, a man later identified as Trencie Oliver exited the truck from the driver's side and immediately began screaming at the officer and asking why he had been stopped. Dyer testified that, at the same time, a person later identified as Gregory Oliver (Gregory) exited from the passenger's side and placed something behind the dumpster. Dyer ordered them to return to the vehicle. Another officer searched near the dumpster and found a black revolver containing three live rounds and three shell casings. According to Dyer, it was the same firearm that he had seen being discharged from the truck. Dyer testified that both men were transported to the precinct and that he heard Oliver tell Gregory to "keep [his] damn mouth shut." Defense counsel moved for dismissal at the close of the State's case, and the trial court denied the motion.

         Oliver then took the stand in his own defense and testified that, when he arrived home from work on May 9, 2014, he was confronted by his wife complaining that his nephew, Gregory, had called her names, had acted "crazy, " and had scared their grandchildren. Oliver agreed to take Gregory to a relative's home. On the way there, Gregory was speaking angrily on a cell phone with someone and began beating the dashboard of Oliver's truck. Oliver yelled at Gregory to stop. Oliver said, "The next thing I know, [Gregory] come up and just went boom, boom, boom, and I saw a blue light at the Kum & Go."

         Gregory testified that he gave a statement to the police the night he and Oliver were arrested. According to Gregory, he had told an officer, "Officer, I didn't have a gun. I didn't see no gun. I'm not a snitch." When the officer asked who had fired the gun, Gregory told him that Oliver had done it but that "he was just shooting in the air." Louise Taylor, Oliver's sister, testified that, when she spoke with Gregory later that night, he told her that the police had stopped him and Oliver "for nothing" in that they had been only "playing" by "shooting a gun up in the sky."

         Defense counsel renewed his motion to dismiss on the same grounds as those asserted at the close of the State's case. The motion was again denied, and Oliver was convicted of second-degree unlawful discharge of a firearm and possession of a firearm by certain persons.

         II. Arguments and Discussion

         A. Sufficiency of the Evidence

         A motion to dismiss at a bench trial is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Harris v. State, 2016 Ark.App. 23, 480 S.W.3d 229. On appeal, this court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, considering only the evidence that supports the conviction. Id. This court will affirm a conviction if there is substantial evidence to support it, which is evidence of sufficient force and character that it will compel a conclusion with reasonable certainty. Id. Determinations of credibility and the weight of the evidence are matters for the circuit court and not for this court to decide on appeal. Id. ...


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