FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH DIVISION [NO.
60CR-17-1367] HONORABLE HERBERT T. WRIGHT, JUDGE
William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller,
Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rachel Kemp, Ass't
Att'y Gen., and Brad Aldridge, Law Student Admitted to
Practice Pursuant to Rule XV of the Rules Governing Admission
to the Bar of the Supreme Court under the Supervision of
Darnisa Evans Johnson, Deputy Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE
April 26, 2017, the State filed an eight-count information
against Calvin Wallace Terry. The charges included seven
felonies and one misdemeanor. The circuit court
dismissed the misdemeanor charge at the start of Terry's
bench trial. Of the seven felonies, Terry was convicted of
five. Terry appeals only the judgment of the Pulaski County
Circuit Court denying his motion to dismiss the charges of
(1) possession of methamphetamine and (2) simultaneous
possession of methamphetamine and a firearm. We affirm.
March 12, 2017, Deputy Martelle McDonald of the Pulaski
County Sheriff's Office initiated a late-night traffic
stop on the vehicle driven by Terry in North Little Rock
because the vehicle's license-plate light was not
operational. Terry was the only person in the vehicle. After
Deputy McDonald requested Terry's driver's license,
Terry drove off, and a police pursuit ensued.
pursuit reached a speed of 85 miles per hour but decreased to
45 miles per hour in a residential area along Smalley Road.
According to Deputy McDonald, he witnessed Terry throw a
black object out of a window on the vehicle's passenger
side along the south side of Smalley Road during the pursuit.
The pursuit ended on Smalley Road when Terry surrendered. The
pursuit lasted approximately ten minutes. Terry was
subsequently arrested and taken to the Pulaski County
Detention Facility after Deputy McDonald had completed an
inventory search of the vehicle and waited for assistance.
the search of Terry's person and vehicle, Deputy McDonald
found methamphetamine residue, marijuana, and drug
paraphernalia. Additionally, the detention-facility staff
discovered a nylon gun holster deeply hidden in Terry's
pants. After Terry's processing at the
detention-facility, Deputy McDonald returned to the area
where he had observed the black object being thrown out of
the vehicle's window. There, Deputy McDonald discovered a
bag of narcotics, which later tested positive for
methamphetamine, and a gun identified as a .45-caliber Glock
waived his right to a jury trial, and his bench trial
occurred on September 18, 2017. After the State rested its
case, Terry moved to dismiss some of the charges against him,
including the two felony charges at issue in this appeal,
because he claimed that the State did not show any evidence
that he was responsible for throwing the methamphetamine and
a firearm out of a window on the passenger side of the
vehicle. However, the circuit court denied the motion and
found Terry guilty of five felony charges. The circuit court
also found that Terry was a habitual offender and sentenced
him to a term of fifteen years' imprisonment. The circuit
court entered its sentencing order on October 21, 2017, and
this timely appeal followed on November 1.
appeal, Terry argues that the circuit court erred in denying
his motion to dismiss the two felony charges at
issue-possession of methamphetamine and simultaneous
possession of methamphetamine and a firearm-because the State
failed to introduce substantial circumstantial evidence that
he actually or constructively possessed the contraband.
motion to dismiss at a bench trial, like a motion for
directed verdict at a jury trial, is considered a challenge
to the sufficiency of the evidence. Cora v. State,
2009 Ark.App. 431, at 3, 319 S.W.3d 281, 283. This court will
affirm a circuit court's denial of the motion if there is
substantial evidence, either direct or circumstantial, to
support the verdict. Id. Substantial evidence is
defined as evidence forceful enough to compel a conclusion
one way or the other beyond suspicion and conjecture.
Id. The evidence is viewed in the light most
favorable to the verdict, and only evidence supporting the
verdict is considered. Id.
evidence may provide the basis for a conviction if it is
consistent with the defendant's guilt and inconsistent
with any other reasonable explanation of the crime. Block
v. State, 2015 Ark.App. 83, at 5, 455 S.W.3d 336,
340. Whether the circumstantial evidence would
support any other theory is for the fact-finder to decide.
possession of contraband is an element of the offense, the
State is not required to prove literal physical possession.
Id. This court looks to whether the contraband was
located in a place that was under the dominion and control of
the accused. Id. Constructive possession can be
implied when the contraband was found in a place immediately
and exclusively accessible to the accused and subject to the
accused's control. Id. In other words,
constructive possession may be established by circumstantial
evidence. Duggar v. State, 2013 Ark.App. 135, at 3,
427 S.W.3d 77, 80.
prove constructive possession, the State must establish that
the defendant exercised "care, control, and management
over the contraband." Block, 2015 Ark.App. 83,
at 6, 455 S.W.3d at 340. There must be some evidence that the
accused had knowledge of the presence of the contraband.
Id. The defendant's control over and knowledge
of the contraband can be inferred from the circumstances,
such as the proximity of the contraband to the accused, the
fact that it is in plain view, the ownership of the property
where the contraband is found, and the accused's
suspicious behavior. Id. Location of the contraband
in close proximity to the defendant has been held to be a
sufficient linking factor to support a
constructive-possession conviction. Id. The Arkansas