FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH DIVISION [NO.
60CR-14-3266] HONORABLE HERBERT WRIGHT, JUDGE
M. "Robby" Golden, for appellant.
Gladwin and Whiteaker, JJ., agree.
M. GLOVER, Judge
Leon Wilson was convicted by a Pulaski County Circuit Court
jury of one count of sexual assault in the second degree and
sentenced to 144 months in the Arkansas Department of
Correction. Pursuant to Anders v. California, 386
U.S. 738 (1967), and Rule 4-3(k) of the Rules of the Supreme
Court and Court of Appeals, Wilson's counsel has filed a
motion to withdraw on the ground this appeal is wholly
without merit. The motion is accompanied by an abstract
and addendum of the proceedings below, addressing all
objections and motions decided adversely to Wilson, and a
brief in which Wilson's counsel explains why there is
nothing in the record that would support an appeal. The clerk
of this court provided Wilson with a copy of his
counsel's brief and notified him of his right to file a
pro se statement of points for reversal. He has submitted no
points. We affirm Wilson's conviction and grant his
counsel's motion to withdraw.
of the Evidence
close of the State's case, Wilson moved for a directed
verdict; he renewed the motion at the close of all the
evidence. In his initial motion, Wilson argued the victim,
M.L., was lying about what had occurred because she had told
different stories about how the sexual contact occurred; the
motion was denied. Wilson renewed his motion at the close of
all the evidence; that motion was also denied.
directed-verdict motion is a challenge to the sufficiency of
the evidence. Holland v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 49,
510 S.W.3d 311. Our test for determining the sufficiency of
the evidence is whether the verdict is supported by
substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial. Wells v.
State, 2017 Ark.App. 174, 518 S.W.3d 106. Evidence is
substantial if it is of sufficient force and character to
compel reasonable minds to reach a conclusion and pass beyond
suspicion and conjecture. Id. Circumstantial
evidence may constitute substantial evidence to support a
conviction if it excludes every other reasonable hypothesis
other than the guilt of the accused; that determination is a
question of fact for the finder of fact. Holland,
supra. On appeal, the evidence is viewed in the
light most favorable to the State, and only the evidence
supporting the verdict is considered. Wells,
supra. Weighing the evidence, reconciling conflicts
in testimony, and assessing credibility are all matters
exclusively for the trier of fact. Holland,
person commits sexual assault in the second degree if the
person, being eighteen years of age or older, engages in
sexual contact with another person who is less than fourteen
years old and not the person's spouse. Ark. Code Ann.
§ 5-14-125(a)(3) (Repl. 2013). "Sexual
contact" is defined as any act of sexual gratification
involving the touching, directly or through clothing, of the
sex organs, buttocks, or anus of a person or the breast of a
female. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-14-101(10). "Sexual
gratification" is not defined in the statute, but our
appellate courts have construed the words in accordance with
their reasonable and commonly accepted meanings.
Chawangkul v. State, 2016 Ark.App. 599, 509 S.W.3d
10. A sexual-assault victim's testimony may constitute
substantial evidence to sustain a conviction for sexual
assault. Id. The victim's testimony need not be
corroborated; the victim's testimony alone, describing
the sexual contact, is enough for a conviction. Id.
M.L. testified that on the day of the incident, Wilson,
M.L.'s mother's cousin, was babysitting M.L. and her
siblings. She, her brother, her sisters, and Wilson were
wrestling and playing the "wedgie" game; Wilson
asked her brother and sisters to leave the room; he turned
the lights off; and he tried to put his penis in her butt.
M.L. stated she was clothed but Wilson pulled her pants and
underwear down; his penis was on the outside of his clothes
and it was "standing up"; and he put his
"wiener" in her butt. On cross-examination, M.L.
said she told the prosecutor Wilson had put his penis in her
vagina but earlier told the police detective Wilson had put
his penis in her butt, not her vagina. M.L. also testified
she told her father that Wilson had put his penis inside her,
removed it, and rubbed it on her vagina.
M.L. testified to several different ways the sexual contact
had occurred, but they all involved sexual contact, and any
discrepancies were to be resolved by the finder of fact.
Because M.L.'s testimony, without more, is sufficient to
sustain a conviction, the circuit court did not err in
denying Wilson's directed-verdict motions.
State made three objections during Wilson's voir dire of
potential jurors on the basis Wilson was attempting to
"fact qualify" the jury. The circuit court
sustained the State's objections. Rule 32.2 of the
Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that during
voir dire, the circuit court may question prospective jurors
regarding matters bearing on their qualifications to serve as
jurors, as well as permit additional questions it deems
reasonable and proper by the defendant or his attorney and
the prosecuting attorney. The extent and scope of voir dire
is within the sound discretion of the circuit court; any
restriction of voir dire examination will not be reversed on
appeal unless the circuit court abuses its discretion.
Hughes v. State, 98 Ark.App. 375, 255 S.W.3d 891
(2007). With the wide discretion given to the circuit court
in conducting voir dire, we cannot say the circuit court
abused its discretion.
were numerous evidentiary rulings adverse to Wilson during
the testimony of the witnesses that can be grouped into seven
categories: speculation, hearsay, expert-witness testimony,
asking leading questions of a young sex-abuse victim,
attacking a witness's credibility with specific
instances of conduct involving truthfulness, impeaching a
witness's testimony with evidence of convictions of
crimes, and the circuit court's control over
interrogation of witnesses and presentation of evidence in
its courtroom. ...