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Steen v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

February 28, 2018

MARLIN STEEN APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

         APPEAL FROM THE ASHLEY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 02CR-17-18] HONORABLE SAM POPE, JUDGE

          Potts Law Office, by: Gary W. Potts, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: David L. Eanes, Jr., Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          BRANDON J. HARRISON, JUDGE.

         Marlin Steen appeals his conviction for simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, arguing that the circuit court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict. We hold that Steen's argument is not preserved and affirm.

         In a criminal information filed 23 January 2017, Steen was charged with possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia, and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms.[1] At a jury trial, Steen represented himself with standby defense counsel. At the close of the State's case, counsel and Steen made the following motions for directed verdict:

Counsel: Mr. Steen is asking that I make the motions for him, Your Honor. Your Honor, first of all with respect to the issue of the possession of meth, the State is required to prove that on November 28th, 2016, Mr. Steen possessed over two grams of meth. Mr. Steen argues that the State has failed to make a prima facie case that over two grams of meth was recovered from his person or from his belongings and the State has failed to make a prima facie case on that.

         The Court: Okay. Well, the testimony, if believed, of the State's witnesses establishes that over two grams of meth was located inside a bag inside of a truck that Mr. Steen was driving and he was stopped in, so the motion is denied.

Counsel: Let me back up a little bit. My first motion goes to the first two counts of simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and possession of a controlled substance.

         [Counsel moved for a directed verdict on the possession-of-drug-paraphernalia charge, and the State nolle prossed that charge.]

That takes care of that motion, Your Honor. That's all the motions I have.

         The Court: Okay.

Steen: Your Honor?
The Court: Yes.
Steen: Can I file another motion, please?
The Court: What motion do you want to make, Mr. Steen?
Steen: My motion is that my domicile is where I live on the road. I have a right to protect that. That's why the weapon or the revolver was inside my domicile. I have a Second Amendment constitutional right to bear arms while on-
The Court: Well, you may do so. . . . But what does that mean? Does it mean you can violate the statutory law in doing so? I don't think it does. Reasonable restrictions can be put on possession of firearms by a state. One of the restrictions that the State of Arkansas has said is that you can't simultaneously possession [sic] a firearm with the drugs or controlled substances contrary to, in violation of certain statutes, which includes possession of methamphetamine. The evidence, if I look at it most favorable to the State, is that these things were in close proximity in the same bag. So I think the motion has to be denied for that reason.
Steen: Even though they were in two separate bags?
The Court: Well, that's-the evidence is-That may be in dispute. I haven't heard any testimony from you saying they were in two bags. I've heard testimony from ...

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