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Williams v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Divisions I, II

June 6, 2018

FREDERICK ALLAN WILLIAMS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST DIVISION [NOS. 60CR-15-3677, 60CR-10-3907, and 60CR-13-1218] HONORABLE LEON JOHNSON, JUDGE

          William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, Llewellyn J. Marczuk, Deputy Public Defender, by: Andrew Thornton, Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.

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

          BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge

         Frederick Allan Williams appeals his conviction for residential burglary and the revocation of his suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) in two other cases based on the commission of the residential burglary. He also asserts that the circuit court committed errors in sentencing. We reverse his conviction. We also reverse the revocation of his SIS and remand for further proceedings.

         I. Facts

         In case number CR-10-3907, Williams pled guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to deliver and possession of marijuana and was sentenced to five years' probation. In November 2012, the State petitioned to revoke Williams's probation because he had failed to make monthly visits to his probation officer and failed to pay fines and court costs. Williams again pled guilty and was sentenced to six years' probation. In August 2013, the State again petitioned to revoke Williams's probation because he had failed to comply with court-ordered drug treatment and failed to pay fines and court costs. Again, Williams pled guilty and was sentenced to three years' SIS.

         In case number CR-13-1218, Williams pled guilty to possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and was sentenced to an aggregate term of eighteen months' imprisonment with three years' SIS.

         In November 2015, Williams was charged with aggravated residential burglary, aggravated robbery, theft of property, and possession of firearms by certain persons (CR-15-3677). Regarding the aggravated residential burglary, the State alleged that Williams, while armed with a handgun, had unlawfully entered the home of James Lawrence "with the purpose of committing therein any offense punishable by imprisonment." The State also asserted that Williams was a habitual offender and that a firearm-sentencing enhancement should be applied. Also in November 2015, the State petitioned to revoke Williams's SIS in CR-10-3907 and CR-13-1218 based specifically on the commission of these new offenses.

         At a pretrial hearing in August 2016, Williams moved to dismiss the charge of aggravated residential burglary because it was insufficiently drafted. In response, the State moved to "orally amend that the Defendant committed the aggravated residential burglary with the purpose of committing theft of property there within the residence."

         The circuit court convened a bench trial in October 2016. James Lawrence testified that on 10 September 2015, he was at home with his wife when a man knocked on their front door and asked for some water. Lawrence filled the water jug, returned to the front door, and gave the jug to the man; at that point, the man pulled out a gun, and the two men started fighting. Lawrence's wife, Courtney, joined in the fight, kicking the man. The man eventually ran away, and Lawrence and his wife went back into the house. They found a man whom Lawrence identified as Williams in their bedroom; Lawrence had grown up with Williams and dated his sister. Lawrence said that Williams pointed a gun at him and said, "I'll kill everybody in here." Lawrence also said that after Williams had left, he noticed that $300 was missing from his dresser.

         Courtney Lawrence also testified that on 10 September 2015, a man came to the door, asked for some water, and later pulled a gun and started fighting with her husband on the front porch. She said that she went outside to help her husband and that the man ran away. She then went back into the house and found Williams in her bedroom, and Williams threatened her and her husband with a gun. She also said that Williams took $300 from the dresser, but she admitted that she did not see him take it.

         Gary Jones, a detective with the North Little Rock Police Department, testified that Courtney and James identified Williams as a suspect and identified Williams in a photographic lineup. Based on this identification, a warrant was prepared for Williams's arrest, and he was arrested and brought in for questioning on 2 October 2015. The State then played an audio recording of Jones's interview with Williams; in that interview, Williams said that he had given Lawrence $3000 to buy marijuana and that because he never received the marijuana, he had gone to Lawrence's house to get his money back. According to Williams, he did not have a gun, and Lawrence gave him $3000 willingly. Williams claimed to have no knowledge of the fight that had taken place at the front door just before his arrival.

         After the State rested, Williams moved to dismiss the charge of aggravated residential burglary:

[T]he State has alleged in the felon[y] information that Mr. Williams did enter or remain in the residential occupiable structure of James Lawrence with the purpose of committing therein a theft while armed with a deadly weapon. . . . [I]t is not allowable under the Rules of Evidence to draw one inference from another or to indulge presumption upon presumption to establish a fact. . . . No one saw Mr. Williams take any money. No one saw Mr. Williams commit a theft. That must be the underlying charge with the State agreeing they cannot further amend to conform proof. . . . They failed, even at the State's best light, to prove that there's a theft.

Williams also moved to dismiss the charges of aggravated robbery, theft of property, and possession of a firearm by certain persons. The court dismissed the charge of possession of a firearm by certain persons; on the charge of aggravated residential burglary, the court stated,

[O]ne of the things on Count 1 that, sure, we don't have anybody-neither one of the victims testified that they saw him take the money. Neither one. And [defense counsel] asked you more than once, is that what you're proceeding on. And you said yes before he got started.
Now I can jump with all this other stuff that, yeah, he went in the house. I believe he went into the house. And he just didn't go in there just to say I showed up with someone. . . . And I don't know where I'm going with it at this time, so I'm not sure that I'm right, that I'm going to grant your motion because I'm making a jump here. The problem ...

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