FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SEVENTH DIVISION [NO.
William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller,
Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Karen Virginia Wallace,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
HONORABLE BARRY A. SIMS, JUDGE
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE
Pulaski County Circuit Court convicted Matthew Todd Sitzmann
of lottery fraud. Sitzmann appeals his conviction and argues
that the circuit court abused its discretion by admitting an
email into evidence. We affirm.
5, 2017, the State charged Sitzmann with lottery fraud.
Sitzmann waived his right to a jury trial, and the court held
a bench trial on February 5, 2018.
trial, Justin Foster testified that he is the general manager
of the Petro Shopping Center (Petro) in North Little Rock and
that Petro accepts and sells lottery tickets. He explained
that around May 4, 2016, he discovered that a shipment of
lottery tickets had been opened and that booklet 9758 was
missing. He notified the Arkansas Lottery Commission (the
Commission) that booklet 9758 was missing from his shipment.
Foster stated that he learned from the Commission that
Matthew Sitzmann had accepted the shipment with booklet 9758
and that a ticket from that booklet had been redeemed at Kum
explained that he discovered that Matthew Sitzmann worked at
the Iron Skillet, a restaurant attached to Petro. Foster
confronted Sitzmann and asked if he had signed for the
shipment. Sitzmann admitted that he had signed for the
shipment, but he claimed that he had returned it to Petro.
Foster then confronted Sitzmann about redeeming a ticket at
Kum and Go. Sitzmann admitted to Foster that he went to Kum
and Go but stated that he had received the ticket as a tip.
Foster also testified that he watched a Kum and Go
surveillance video from May 3, 2016, and he identified
Sitzmann in the video. The State introduced the video into
Mote testified that he had worked in the security division of
the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, and he explained the
security procedure for the distribution of lottery tickets to
retailers. He stated that tickets are shipped to retailers in
a nonactive status and that retailers activate tickets by
scanning them into their lottery terminal. He explained that
when a nonactive ticket is redeemed at a retailer, his office
receives an automatically generated email alerting him of the
redemption of a nonactive ticket. He testified that he
received an email concerning the redemption of a nonactive
ticket from booklet 9758 at Kum and Go on May 3, 2016. He
testified that the email is kept in the normal course of
State then introduced the email into evidence, and Sitzmann
objected. He asserted that the email is hearsay. He noted
that the email was generated by firstname.lastname@example.org,
not the Commission, and a representative from Intralot needed
to testify. The court denied the objection and admitted the
email into evidence.
conclusion of trial, the court found Sitzmann guilty of
lottery fraud and sentenced him to six years in the Arkansas
Department of Correction. This appeal followed.
appeal, Sitzmann argues that the circuit court abused its
discretion by admitting into evidence the email because the
email is hearsay and does not qualify under the
business-record exception because the State did not present
evidence of how it was transmitted or who prepared the email.
He points out that the email is from
email@example.com and that an Intralot
representative did not testify about the procedures of
transmitting the email. He further claims that he is
prejudiced by the email because the email is the only
evidence showing that he redeemed a missing or stolen lottery
ticket. He points out that he gave Foster an
"exculpatory explanation" that he received the
ticket as a tip; thus, he claims that without the email,
there was no evidence that he purposely defrauded the
decision to admit or exclude evidence is within the sound
discretion of the circuit court, and we will not reverse a
circuit court's decision regarding the admission of
evidence absent a manifest abuse of discretion. See
Rodriguez v. State, 372 Ark. 335, 276 S.W.3d 208 (2008).
Specifically, we have stated that an appellate court will not
reverse a circuit court's ruling on a hearsay objection
unless the appellant can demonstrate an abuse of discretion.
Rye v. State, 2009 Ark.App. 389, 373 S.W.3d 354. An
abuse of discretion is a high threshold that does not simply
require error in the circuit court's decision but
requires that the circuit court act improvidently,
thoughtlessly, or without due consideration. Id.
Additionally, this court will not reverse an evidentiary
ruling absent a showing of prejudice. Anderson v.
State, 354 Ark. 102, 118 S.W.3d 574 (2003). A person