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Robinson v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

December 13, 2017

GARY ROBINSON, JR. APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 23CR-15-276] HONORABLE CHARLES E. CLAWSON, JR., JUDGE

          James Law Firm, by: Michael Kiel Kaiser and William O. "Bill" James, Jr., for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Jason Michael Johnson, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          ROBERT J. GLADWIN, JUDGE

         Appellant Gary Robinson, Jr., appeals his conviction by a Faulkner County jury on charges of simultaneous possession of drugs and a firearm, a Class Y felony, in violation of Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-74-106 (Supp. 2013), and failure to appear, a Class C felony, in violation of Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-54-120 (Supp. 2013).[1] He challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the convictions for simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and failure to appear. We affirm.

         I. Facts

         On April 16, 2015, appellant was pulled over by Officer Richard Shumate of the Conway Police Department for traffic violations-failure to stop at an intersection and the trunk standing open so that the license plate could not be read-at which time appellant was found to have a suspended driver's license. Officer Shumate asked appellant to exit the vehicle, placed him into custody, handcuffed him, and performed a search of appellant's person incident to arrest.

         During the search, Officer Shumate found a plastic bag that contained eleven smaller bags of methamphetamine in a pouch sewn into appellant's underwear. During the subsequent search of the car appellant was driving, Officer Shumate discovered a semiautomatic pistol between the center console and the driver's seat. Officer Shumate indicated that if a person was in the driver's seat of the vehicle looking down, the person would be able to see the firearm. The owner of the car was later found to be a woman named Felicia Jackson.

         The State filed charges of simultaneous possession of drugs and a firearm, a Class Y felony; and possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver methamphetamine, a Class B felony, against appellant on April 17, 2015. Appellant's case was set for a jury trial on July 28, 2016, but it was canceled when appellant did not arrive by the specified time of 9:00 a.m. On November 8, 2016, the State amended the felony information to add one count of failure to appear, a Class C felony.

         Appellant's jury trial was held on December 1, 2016. At the close of the State's case, and again at the close of all the evidence, appellant's counsel moved for a directed verdict on the simultaneous-possession and failure-to-appear charges, which the trial court denied. The jury found appellant guilty of all three charges and sentenced him to eighty years for simultaneous possession; forty years for possession with purpose to deliver; and seven years for failure to appear, to run concurrently. The trial court entered the sentencing order on December 2, 2016, and appellant filed a timely notice of appeal on December 28, 2016.

         II. Standard of Review

         On appeal, a motion for directed verdict is treated as a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Brooks v. State, 2016 Ark. 305, 498 S.W.3d 292. Appellate courts will affirm the conviction if there is substantial evidence to support it. Id. Substantial evidence is that which is of sufficient force and character that it will, with reasonable certainty, compel a conclusion one way or the other, without mere speculation or conjecture. See Sylvester v. State, 2016 Ark. 136, 489 S.W.3d 146. The evidence may be either direct or circumstantial; however, circumstantial evidence must be consistent with the defendant's guilt and inconsistent with any other reasonable conclusion. King v. State, 100 Ark.App. 208, 266 S.W.3d 205 (2007).

         In reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, this court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the State and considers only the evidence that supports the verdict. Beaver v. State, 2014 Ark.App. 188. It is the jury's role as fact-finder to resolve questions of conflicting testimony and inconsistent evidence, and the jury is free to choose to believe the State's account of the facts rather than the defendant's. Hill v. State, 2015 Ark.App. 700, 478 S.W.3d 225. When doing so, the jury is not required to abandon common sense, and it is entitled to draw reasonable inferences from the evidence. Jeffersonv. State, 2017 ...


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