FROM THE POPE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 58CR-17-624]
HONORABLE WILLIAM PEARSON, JUDGE.
Pinnacle Law Firm, PLLC, by: Matthew D. Campbell, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Vada Berger, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
Shawn Newman appeals his January 22, 2018 conviction of
disorderly conduct. On June 7, 2017, Newman was charged in
the Pope County District Court with harassment and disorderly
conduct stemming from events occurring in May 2017. The
district court found him guilty. Following his appeal to the
circuit court, a Pope County jury acquitted him of harassment
but found him guilty of disorderly conduct. Newman was
sentenced to two days' jail time and ordered to pay a
$500 fine. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was
insufficient to support a conviction for disorderly conduct,
that the disorderly conduct statute is overbroad, and that
his prosecution violated his rights under the First
Amendment. We affirm.
evidence at trial established the following. In 2015, Brenda
Ringhardt and her husband confronted their neighbor Newman
and asked that he stop playing his music so loudly and if he
could stop playing it at 10:00 p.m. Ringhardt's house and
Newman's house were separated by a thick wooded area.
After that conversation, the situation improved for a few
months, but then the music got louder and more frequent. In
November 2016, Brenda Ringhardt called the Pope County
Sherriff's Office to complain about Newman playing his
music too loudly. The situation improved until May 2017.
2, 2017, at 11:00 p.m., Ringhardt was awakened by the sound
of Newman's voice over a public-address system. His
speech was slurred, and the yelling was loud and angry.
Ringhardt called 911 at 11:07 p.m. and told the operator she
thought there was a domestic disturbance in her neighborhood.
Ringhardt continued to listen to Newman and realized that
Newman was directing his speech to her and her husband
calling them profanities. She called 911 three more times
when the screaming got louder.
Pope County Sheriff's Deputies arrived outside near the
Ringhardt residence between 11:30 p.m. and midnight that
night. They did not make contact with Newman, but they
described hearing "incoherent rambling" and a
"drunken rant." Newman also broadcasted the
national anthem. After about ten minutes, the noise stopped.
noise resumed the next day. According to Ringhardt, the noise
was much as it had it been the day before. The screaming and
the national anthem lasted from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. Another
neighbor, Judy Crouch, called the sheriff's office about
the noise. She testified that while there were brief breaks,
she heard the loud noise from the time she got home at 5:30
p.m. until around 10 p.m.
jury trial, the circuit court denied Newman's directed
verdict motions and the jury acquitted him of harassment but
found him guilty of disorderly conduct. Newman then moved for
judgment notwithstanding the verdict on the disorderly
conduct conviction, which was also denied. Newman now
motion for directed verdict is a challenge to the sufficiency
of the evidence. Vaughan v. State, 2018 Ark.App.
439, at 5, 555 S.W.3d 922, 925. In a challenge to the
sufficiency of the evidence, this court considers only the
evidence that supports the conviction in the light most
favorable to the State and determines whether the verdict is
supported by substantial evidence. Id. Substantial
evidence is evidence that is forceful enough to compel a
conclusion beyond suspicion or conjecture. Id.
Weighing the evidence, reconciling conflicts in the
testimony, and assessing credibility are all matters
exclusively for the trier of fact. Id. A jury may
accept or reject any part of a witness's testimony, and
its conclusion regarding credibility is binding on the
appellate court. Id.
preserve a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence in a
jury trial, a criminal defendant must make a motion for
directed verdict at the close of the evidence offered by the
prosecution and at the close of all the evidence. Ark. R.
Crim. P. 33.1(a) (2016). A motion for directed verdict shall
state the specific grounds therefor. Woods v. State,
2018 Ark.App. 256, 548 S.W.3d 832. Without a circuit court
ruling on a specific motion, there is nothing for this court
to review. Id. Failure to abide by these procedural
rules renders any question of the sufficiency of the evidence
waived on appeal. Id. An appellant must make a
specific motion for a directed verdict that advises the
circuit court of the exact element of the crime that the
State has failed to prove. Id. Rule 33.1 is strictly
Newman made the following motion for directed verdict at the
close of the State's evidence:
Your Honor, when someone is home and they're in their
home and on their property, there's a strong presumption
that their rights are stronger at that point. We weigh these
people's rights based on where they are. I mean, if
they're in a crowded theater, you don't have a lot of
free speech rights in a private theater. You don't have
as much right to privacy or the right not to be subjected to
an unlawful search or seizure. In your home, you have a lot
and as the evidence ...