FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. 66FCR-16-589] HONORABLE STEPHEN TABOR, JUDGE.
Lancaster Law Firm, PLLC, by: Clinton W. Lancaster, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rebecca Bailey Kane, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE.
Sebastian County jury convicted appellant Reginald Crayton of
first-degree domestic battering, a Class B felony, under
Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-26-303(a)(5) & (b)(1)
(Repl. 2013) and sentenced him to 20 years' imprisonment
in the Arkansas Department of Correction. On appeal, Crayton
argues that the circuit court erred by admitting evidence of
his prior domestic-battering convictions during the guilt
phase of the trial and by using the Arkansas model jury
instruction, AMI Crim. 2610, on first-degree domestic
battering. We disagree and affirm.
was charged with and convicted of first-degree domestic
battering under Arkansas Code Annotated section
5-26-303(a)(5) for injuring his live-in companion and former
wife, Candace Crayton. The statute requires the State to
prove that (1) he committed second-or third-degree battering
and that (2) he had two previous domestic-battering
convictions for conduct within the ten years before the
current domestic-battering offense. On appeal, Crayton maintains
that the circuit court erred by admitting evidence of the
previous domestic-battering convictions during the guilt
phase because the previous crimes are not elements of
first-degree domestic battering. The State contends that he
Crayton and the State agree that, specifically on this
question, appellate interpretation and application of the
first-degree domestic-battering statute is an issue of first
impression. Appellate courts review questions of statutory
interpretation de novo, as it is our responsibility to
determine the meaning of a statute. See, e.g.,
Buckley v. State, 349 Ark. 53, 76 S.W.3d 825 (2002).
In the absence of a showing that the circuit court erred, its
interpretation will be accepted as correct on appeal.
Ark. Dep't of Corr. v. Shults, 2017 Ark. 300,
529 S.W.3d 628.
statute defining first-degree domestic battering provides the
following: (a) A person commits domestic battering in the
first degree if:
(1) With the purpose of causing serious physical injury to a
family or household member, the person causes serious
physical injury to a family or household member by means of a
(2) With the purpose of seriously and permanently disfiguring
a family or household member or of destroying, amputating, or
permanently disabling a member or organ of a family or
household member's body, the person causes such an injury
to a family or household member;
(3) The person causes serious physical injury to a family or
household member under circumstances manifesting extreme
indifference to the value of human life;
(4) The person knowingly causes serious physical injury to a
family or household member he or she knows to be sixty (60)
years of age or older or twelve (12) years of age or younger;
(5) The person:
(A) Commits any act of domestic battering as defined in
§ 5-26-304 or ...