FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. CR-662014-607] HONORABLE J. MICHAEL FITZHUGH, JUDGE
L. Barr, for appellant.
Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Adam
Jackson, Ass't Att'y Gen., and Houston
Garner, Law Student Admitted to Practice Pursuant to
Rule XV of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of the
Supreme Court under the Supervision of Darnisa Evans
Johnson, Deputy Att'y Gen., for appellee.
Jerrod Tristan Baker appeals the revocation of his suspended
imposition of sentence (SIS). On appeal, he argues that there
was insufficient evidence on which to revoke his SIS. We
March 18, 2015, appellant pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft
of property. Appellant was placed on suspended imposition of
sentence (SIS) for one year, contingent on appellant's
compliance with certain conditions, which included that he
not violate any federal, state, or municipal laws. A judgment
was entered on March 18, 2015, outlining the agreed terms of
one year of SIS with the specified conditions.
Appellant's signature is on this judgment along with the
trial judge's signature.
State initially filed a petition to revoke in August 2015,
asserting the following violations: (1) that on July 22,
2015, appellant had committed aggravated assault on a family
or household member and second-degree domestic battery and
(2) that appellant had failed to pay fines, fees, and costs
as ordered. The State amended its petition in September 2015
to restate the prior allegations and to allege additional
criminal acts by appellant that had occurred on September 20,
2015: (1) violation of an order of protection, (2) breaking
or entering, and (3) public intoxication.
petition was heard on November 4, 2015. All of the criminal
allegations related to events involving Tracy Eckert,
appellant's former girlfriend. She testified that they
dated for about six months and lived together at her home in
Greenwood, Arkansas, for about two months. She explained that
on July 22, 2015, they had argued and she told appellant that
they needed a break. Appellant went back later and broke the
chain lock on the back door to enter her home. Appellant
entered her bedroom, pushed her off the bed, and hit her in
the face once or twice, although Tracy was not sure how many
times he struck her. She said that appellant also choked her;
she could not breathe; she gagged and almost threw up, so he
let go; and she was scared. Tracy said that she suffered
broken teeth, a broken nose, and a black eye. Tracy reported
this to the police the next morning, and pictures were taken
of her injuries. The color photographs were entered into
evidence. Tracy obtained a protective order that would be in
effect for one year, and it prohibited appellant from
initiating any contact with her, directly or indirectly. The
August 25, 2015 protective order was entered into evidence.
September 20, 2015, appellant was arrested at Tracy's
residence. Tracy and her friend Whitney Smith were at
Tracy's house. Whitney testified that appellant had
repeatedly called about coming over to the house, but she was
certain that Tracy, who was in bed, did not want him to come.
Appellant came anyway, and as he was "beating on the
door" and kicking it, Whitney called 911. A Greenwood
police officer responded to the call and found appellant, who
appeared to be intoxicated, hiding in a nearby shed.
mother testified on behalf of her son with regard to the
events of September 20, stating that he was invited to
Tracy's house even though he knew he was not supposed to
be at her house. On cross-examination, Whitney was asked
whether she invited appellant to Tracy's house, based on
certain text message exchanges. Whitney testified that her
text was not meant to be an invitation; rather, she was
trying to determine if she needed to take precautions if he
State entered into evidence a certified copy of the
Greenwood, Arkansas, district court transcript of judgment,
wherein appellant pleaded guilty to violation of a protection
order based on the September 20 events. The guilty plea was
entered on October 7, 2015.
conclusion of the hearing, the trial judge ruled that the
State had proved by a preponderance of the evidence, shown by
the testimony and exhibits, that appellant was in violation
of the terms of his SIS. After a judgment upon revocation was
filed, a timely notice of appeal followed.
to Arkansas Code Annotated section 16-93-308(d) (Supp. 2015),
a trial court may revoke a defendant's probation or
suspension at any time prior to the expiration of the period
of probation or suspension if the court finds by a
preponderance of the evidence that the defendant has
inexcusably failed to comply with a term or condition of his
probation or suspension. The burden is on the State to prove
a violation of a term or condition by a preponderance of the
evidence. Sanders v. State, 2010 Ark.App. 563. On
appeal, the trial court's findings will be upheld unless
they are clearly against the preponderance of the evidence.
Cargill v. State, 2011 Ark.App. 322. Because a
determination of the preponderance of the evidence turns
heavily on questions of credibility and weight to be given to
the testimony, the appellate courts defer to the trial
court's superior position in this regard. Id.
Only one violation of the conditions of probation must be
proved to support a revocation. Robinson v. State,
2014 Ark.App. 579, 446 S.W.3d 190; see also King v.
State, 2016 Ark.App. 292, ___S.W.3d ___. Evidence that
is insufficient for a criminal conviction may be sufficient
for a revocation proceeding because the burdens of proof are
different. Short v. State, 2016 Ark.App. 335.
appellant argues on appeal that the trial court's
decision is clearly erroneous because the evidence was
insufficient to find him in violation of the law with regard
to his September 20 appearance at Tracy's house, which
related to the allegations of breaking or entering, public
intoxication, and violation of an order of protection. He
does not argue that the decision is clearly erroneous as to
the July 22 allegations, which were assault on a family or
household member and second-degree domestic battery. When a
trial court bases its decision on multiple, independent
grounds, and an appellant challenges only one of those
grounds on appeal, we can affirm without addressing the
merits of the argument. See Pugh v. State, 351 Ark.
5, 89 S.W.3d 909 (2002); Williams v. State, 2015
Ark.App. 245, 459 S.W.3d 814; Morgan v. State, 2012
Ark.App. 357. Such is the case here. Although it is not