FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, [NO. 23CR-15-723]
HONORABLE CHARLES E. CLAWSON, JR., JUDGE
MOTION TO BE RELIEVED GRANTED
Wesley Hall and Sarah M. Pourhosseini, for appellant.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge
Bobby Joe Gill was convicted in a bench trial of possession
of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, felon
in possession of a firearm, and simultaneous possession of
drugs and a firearm. For these offenses, Mr. Gill was
sentenced to twenty years in prison. Mr. Gill now appeals.
to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), and
Rule 4-3(k)(1) of the Rules of the Arkansas Supreme Court,
appellant's counsel has filed a no-merit brief wherein
counsel asserts that this appeal is wholly without merit.
Appellant's counsel's abstract, brief, and addendum
contain the adverse rulings and an explanation as to why each
ruling is not a meritorious ground for reversal.
Appellant's counsel has also filed a motion to be
relieved. Mr. Gill was provided with a copy of his
counsel's brief and notified of his right to file a list
of pro se points for reversal, but he has filed no points.
Having reviewed the record before us, we conclude that this
appeal is wholly without merit and affirm appellant's
James Kallen Lacy of the Conway Police Department was the
only witness to testify at the bench trial. Officer Lacy
testified that, at about 3:30 a.m. on September 22, 2015, he
stopped a truck being driven by Mr. Gill because a tail light
was out. After the stop, Officer Lacy noticed that Mr. Gill
was extremely nervous, and he asked Mr. Gill if he could
search him for weapons. Mr. Gill consented, and during the
search Officer Lacy found an automatic knife in Mr.
Gill's pocket, as well as a gun holster in his waistband.
Officer Lacy contacted the Arkansas Crime Information Center
and learned that Mr. Gill was driving on a suspended license.
Officer Lacy then arrested Mr. Gill for driving on a
suspended license and placed him in the back of the patrol
Mr. Gill was taken into custody, Officer Lacy discovered a
loaded pistol in plain view on the floorboard of the truck
within the reach of the driver. Officer Lacy called in the
serial number and was informed that the gun was stolen.
Officer Lacy and his partner then searched the rest of the
vehicle. The police found a leather handbag in the front of
the truck between the driver's and passenger's seats.
The handbag contained a gun box, and the gun box contained a
purple liquid in a glass smoking device, as well as a white
crystalline substance. These items were transported to the
crime lab, and the purple liquid and white crystalline
substance both tested positive for methamphetamine. In
addition, the gun was found to fit the holster being worn by
Mr. Gill. The State also introduced into evidence several
prior felony convictions against Mr. Gill.
no-merit appeal, Mr. Gill's counsel accurately states
that the only adverse rulings below were the trial
court's denials of his motions for dismissal with respect
to each of the four offenses for which he was convicted. A
motion for dismissal in a bench trial is a challenge to the
sufficiency of the evidence. Doty v. State, 2015
Ark.App. 193. On appeal, the test for determining the
sufficiency of the evidence is whether the conviction is
supported by substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial.
Stone v. State, 2015 Ark.App. 543, 473 S.W.3d 29. In
making this determination, the evidence is reviewed in the
light most favorable to the State, considering only the
evidence that supports the verdict. Thornton v.
State, 2014 Ark. 157, 433 S.W.3d 216. Substantial
evidence is evidence of sufficient force and character to
compel a conclusion one way or the other beyond suspicion or
case the only basis for Mr. Gill's dismissal motions was
that there was insufficient evidence that he was in
possession of any of the contraband. In Mr. Gill's
counsel's brief, he correctly asserts that there can be
no meritorious challenge to the trial court's
determination that he was in possession of the firearm,
methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia.
Code Annotated section 5-1-102(15) (Repl. 2013) defines
"possession" as "to exercise actual dominion,
control, or management over a tangible object." The
State does not have to prove that the defendant physically
held the contraband. Conley v. State, 2014 Ark. 172,
433 S.W.3d 234. Constructive possession, which is the control
or right to control the contraband, is sufficient.
Id. Constructive possession can be implied when the
contraband is found in a place immediately and exclusively
accessible to the defendant and subject to his control.
testimony in this case showed that Mr. Gill was driving the
truck and was the only occupant when he was stopped by the
police. Subsequent to the stop, the police found a loaded
pistol in plain view on the floorboard within reach of the
driver. In the middle of the front seat was a handbag
containing quantities of methamphetamine and a smoking
device. All of the contraband was immediately accessible to
Mr. Gill and in his exclusive control. Therefore, Mr.
Gill's convictions for possession of methamphetamine,
possession of drug paraphernalia, felon in possession of a
firearm, and simultaneous possession of drugs and a firearm
were supported by substantial evidence, and there could be no
meritorious argument to the contrary on appeal.
on our review of the record and the brief presented, we
conclude that there has been compliance with Rule 4-3(k)(1)
and that this appeal is without merit. Consequently,
appellant's counsel's ...