FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. 66FCR-16-1521] HONORABLE JAMES O. COX, JUDGE
D. Watson, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brett D. Watson, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: David L. Eanes, Jr., Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
Sebastian County jury convicted Leslie Anna Crowell of
delivering hydromorphone and maintaining a drug premises,
both within 1000 feet of a church. Crowell was sentenced to
ten years in the Arkansas Department of Correction.
no-merit appeal, Crowell's appellate attorney has filed a
brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738
(1967), and Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 4-3(k)(1) (2017),
seeking to withdraw as counsel on the basis that there is no
merit to an appeal. On March 13, 2018, Crowell filed pro se
points pursuant to Rule 4-3(k)(2), alleging ineffective
assistance of counsel and that she does not deserve the
sentence she received. The State has filed a brief in
response to each of Crowell's points as required by Rule
14, 2017, Crowell was charged by felony information with
delivery of hydromorphone, proximity to certain facilities,
and maintaining a drug premises. At trial, the paid
confidential informant testified about the controlled buy
that forms the basis for the charges. Crowell's sister
testified that, on the date of the controlled buy, Crowell
called her asking for pills in exchange for money. The
arresting officer, Donnie Ware, and Sergeant Doug Brooks both
testified about setting up the buy with the informant and the
subsequent arrests. Officer Greg Napier authenticated the
video produced from the wire the confidential informant wore.
The jury watched the video, which corroborated the testimony
of the officers, informant, and sister. Next, Officer Darrell
Craghead testified about the chain of custody for the
hydromorphone and the statement he took from Crowell. A
chemist from the Arkansas State Crime Lab testified that the
drugs in question were usable amounts of hydromorphone.
Finally, Officer Johnny Bolinger testified about how he
ascertained the distance from the front door of the
Vietnamese United Methodist Church to the center of the
courtyard of Crowell's apartment complex, which he
measured to be about 635 feet.
State rested and Crowell's counsel moved for directed
verdict, not as to the underlying charge of the delivery, but
as to the charge of maintaining a drug premises.
Specifically, he argued that there was no evidence presented
to show that Crowell was in a position to exercise dominion
and control over what was going on in the apartment. He
argued that a video with her there and testimony that she put
the apartment address on her Miranda form do not
suffice as evidence to demonstrate she was maintaining a drug
premise. The court denied the motion. Crowell's counsel
renewed the motion, and it was denied again. The case was
sent to the jury.
deliberation, the jury returned guilty verdicts. At the
sentencing phase, the confidential informant testified more
about how he knew Crowell and Crowell's boyfriend, what
Crowell's home looked like, how the children were dirty
and present at the sale, and how Crowell typically conducted
her drug sales. Federal DEA task force agent Paul Smith also
testified about the nature of the pill and drug markets in
the area and about the particular drug delivered in this
case, hydromorphone. The jury recommended that Crowell's
sentences run concurrently, and she was sentenced to ten
years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. This no-merit
request to withdraw on the ground that the appeal is wholly
without merit shall be accompanied by a brief including an
abstract and addendum. Furo v. State, 2018 Ark.App.
23, at 2 (citing Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 4-3(k)(1)). The brief shall
contain an argument section that consists of a list of all
rulings adverse to the defendant made by the circuit court on
all objections, motions, and requests made by either party
with an explanation as to why each adverse ruling is not a
meritorious ground for reversal. Id. (citing
Eads v. State, 74 Ark.App. 363, 47 S.W.3d 918
(2001)). This framework ensures that indigents are afforded
their constitutional rights. Id. (citing
Campbell v. State, 74 Ark.App. 277, 47 S.W.3d 915
(2001)). In furtherance of the goal of protecting these
constitutional rights, it is the duty of both counsel and
this court to perform a full examination of the proceedings
as a whole to decide if an appeal would be wholly frivolous.
compliance with the directives in Anders and Rule
4-3(k)(1), counsel for Crowell contends that he has
thoroughly examined the circuit court record of this
proceeding and found no error that would support an appeal.
As required by Rule 4-3(k), the reasons the adverse rulings
provide no meritorious grounds for appeal are discussed in
the brief. Counsel indicates, and we confirm, that there was
one unfavorable ruling for Crowell; that is, the denial of
her motion for a directed verdict for the charges related to
maintaining a drug premises.
on our review of the record and the brief presented, we
conclude that there has been compliance with Rule 4-3(k)(1),
there are no nonfrivolous issues that support an appeal in
this case, and this appeal has no merit. Furthermore, we
conclude that there is no merit to Crowell's pro se
points in that they are either not preserved for appeal or do
not support reversal. Consequently, we grant Crowell's
counsel's motion to withdraw and affirm the convictions.
motion to ...