JAMES D. HORTON APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE LONOKE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 43CR-16-486]
HONORABLE BARBARA ELMORE, JUDGE
Lane Firm, by: Jonathan T. Lane, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Amanda Jegley, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge
January 9, 2017, appellant James D. Horton pleaded guilty to
second-degree domestic battering and aggravated assault on a
family member. For these offenses Mr. Horton was placed on
six years' probation. Among other things, his conditions
of probation prohibited him from committing any offense
punishable by imprisonment, required him to get prior
approval from his probation officer before changing
residences, required him to be truthful to his probation
officer, required him to have no contact with his parents
James and Mary Horton, and prohibited him from using
February 23, 2017, the State filed a petition to revoke Mr.
Horton's probation, alleging the following violations:
(1) committing the offense of indecent exposure, (2) changing
residences without prior approval, (3) being untruthful to
his probation officer, and (4) violating the no-contact
order. On March 15, 2017, the State filed an amended petition
to revoke, adding an additional allegation that Mr. Horton
had tested positive for cocaine.
revocation hearing, the trial court announced from the bench
that Mr. Horton had violated his probation by committing
indecent exposure, lying to his probation officer, violating
the no-contact order, and testing positive for cocaine. Based
on these findings the trial court revoked Mr. Horton's
probation. On May 17, 2017, the trial court entered a
sentencing order sentencing Mr. Horton to six years in
Horton now appeals from the revocation of his probation,
raising one argument for reversal. Mr. Horton argues that the
trial court abused its discretion in admitting testimony in
violation of his Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses.
probation officer, Kristin Trigg, testified at the revocation
hearing. Ms. Trigg stated that, on January 18, 2017, Mr.
Horton reported that his residence was 202 West St. John
Street, England, Arkansas, which was where his parents lived.
Ms. Trigg also testified, over appellant's
confrontation-clause objection, that Mr. Horton's mother
had driven him to a probation visit on January 17, 2017.
Appellant objected to this testimony because Ms. Trigg did
not personally observe Mr. Horton being in contact with his
mother that day, but was only reading from the notes of a
previous probation officer to which Mr. Horton had reported.
Ms. Trigg testified that her first meeting with Mr. Horton
was on February 13, 2017, and that on that day Mr. Horton
tested positive for cocaine. Ms. Trigg also gave testimony
that Mr. Horton had reported that his employer was a man
named Harold Rowe, and when Ms. Trigg called Mr. Rowe to
confirm appellant's employment, Mr. Rowe advised that Mr.
Horton had not worked for him in several years.
State also elicited testimony from Alyssa Miller, who worked
at the probation office doing paperwork for the intake
process. Ms. Miller testified that, during one of his
probation visits, Mr. Horton exposed his penis.
Horton testified on his own behalf, and he acknowledged that
he lived with his parents. Mr. Horton did not deny exposing
himself at the probation office, but he indicated that his
pants had accidentally come unzipped.
appeal, Mr. Horton argues that the trial court erred in
permitting his probation officer, Ms. Trigg, to testify about
him violating the no-contact order by riding to the January
17, 2017 probation meeting with his mother. Mr. Horton
contends that this was a constitutional violation of his
right to confront witnesses because Ms. Trigg did not
actually observe this alleged contact with his mother but was
only reading notes from what another probation officer had
observed. Mr. Horton concedes that the rules of evidence do
not apply in revocation proceedings. See Ark. R.
Evid. 1101(b)(3). However, he relies on Goforth v.
State, 27 Ark.App. 150, 767 S.W.2d 537 (1989), where we
held that although in a revocation hearing a defendant is not
entitled to the full panoply of rights that attend a criminal
prosecution, he is entitled to due process. We held that,
even in a probation-revocation proceeding, a defendant has
the due-process right to confront witnesses.
probation-revocation proceedings, the State has the burden of
proving that a probationer violated the terms of his
probation, as alleged in the revocation petition, by a
preponderance of the evidence, and this court will not
reverse the trial court's decision to revoke probation
unless it is clearly against the preponderance of the
evidence. Henderson v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 486. The
State need only show that appellant committed one violation
in order to sustain a revocation. Id. When a trial
court bases its decision on alternate independent grounds and
the appellant challenges only one of those grounds, we will
affirm without addressing the merits of either. Bedford
v. State, 2014 Ark.App. 239.
the trial court expressly based its decision to revoke on
four independent grounds: that appellant committed indecent
exposure, was untruthful to his probation officer, violated a
no-contact order, and tested positive for cocaine. On appeal,
Mr. Horton argues only that his right to confront witnesses
was violated, which pertains only to the probation violation
of violating the no-contact order by being in a car with his
mother. Because Mr. Horton has failed to make any challenge
to the remaining three ...