FROM THE LONOKE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 43CR-17-272]
HONORABLE BARBARA ELMORE, JUDGE
Hancock Law Firm, by: Sharon Kiel, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Amanda Jegley, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
MARK KLAPPENBACH, JUDGE
Deshun Warren was cited for driving on a suspended license
after further investigation into an accident revealed that he
was one of the drivers involved. He was convicted in the Ward
District Court and appealed to the Lonoke County Circuit
Court. At the bench trial, a certified copy of Warren's
driving record-reflecting that his driver's license had
been suspended on the date in question-was admitted into
evidence without objection. Warren's defense was that he
was not one of the drivers involved in the accident. The
circuit court found Warren guilty, and he now appeals. We
Pruss testified that on May 11, 2016, he was outside his
place of business on Highway 5 in Cabot when he saw a
collision between a car and a truck. He ran out to the wreck
to make sure everyone was okay. Pruss saw the drivers exit
each vehicle and identified Warren in court as the driver of
the car. Pruss said that there were no passengers, and no one
else was there besides Warren and the man driving the truck.
He had never met Warren before.
Jason Dooley of the Arkansas State Police responded to the
parking lot where the drivers had moved their vehicles
following the accident. He was met by a woman named Alma
Dodson, who identified herself as a driver involved in the
accident. Dodson told Dooley that the other driver, Rickey
McGraw, had left the scene, but she had obtained his
insurance information and license plate number. Dooley said
that an unidentified man was also at the scene. After
finishing his investigation, Dooley issued citations to
McGraw. However, Dooley was subsequently contacted by McGraw
and his insurance company, which prompted further
investigation. Dooley then spoke to Pruss, who told him that
there was one man in each vehicle. Dooley said that McGraw
identified Warren as the other driver in the accident after
being shown Warren's picture.
Dodson testified in Warren's defense. She said that it
was she, not her friend Warren, who was driving her car and
had the wreck with McGraw. Dodson said that following the
accident, she called the police, they moved their vehicles
from the road, and they exchanged insurance information. She
said that McGraw left to pick up his child before the police
arrived, and she then called Warren. Dodson testified that a
friend dropped Warren off at the scene after Dooley had
arrived. She denied seeing anyone come up to her after the
wreck to check on her.
appeal, Warren argues that there was no evidence to support
the finding that he was the driver of the car without
resorting to speculation and conjecture. In reviewing a
challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we view the
evidence in a light most favorable to the State and consider
only the evidence that supports the finding of guilt.
Gorman v. State, 366 Ark. 82, 233 S.W.3d 622 (2006).
We affirm a conviction if substantial evidence exists to
support it. Id. Substantial evidence is that which
is of sufficient force and character that it will, with
reasonable certainty, compel a conclusion one way or the
other, without resorting to speculation or conjecture.
first determine whether Warren's argument is preserved
for appellate review. In a nonjury trial, a motion to dismiss
shall be made at the close of all the evidence and shall
state the specific grounds therefor. Ark. R. Crim. P.
33.1(b). If the defendant moves for dismissal at the
conclusion of the prosecution's evidence, the motion must
be renewed at the close of all the evidence. Id.
conclusion of the State's case, Warren moved to dismiss,
stating as follows:
Your Honor, we'd move to dismiss the Driving on
Suspended, alleging, obviously, the State hasn't provided
enough information to the Court to reach such a conclusion
without resorting to speculation or conjecture.
close of all the evidence, Warren renewed his motion and
incorporated his previous argument. Pursuant to Arkansas Rule
of Criminal Procedure 33.1(c), a motion for dismissal based
on insufficiency of the evidence must specify the respect in
which the evidence is deficient, and a motion merely stating
that the evidence is insufficient does not preserve for
appeal issues relating to a specific deficiency. Because
Warren's motion was nonspecific, he failed to preserve
his argument regarding his identity as the driver of the car.
See Williamson v. State, 2009 Ark. 568, 350 S.W.3d
787 (holding that defendant failed to preserve his argument
that there was insufficient evidence as to his identity as
the murderer). Although Warren identified the ...