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Fields v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

March 13, 2019

Robert Jamar FIELDS, Appellant
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

Page 202

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          APPEAL FROM THE UNION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 70CR-17-27], HONORABLE HAMILTON H SINGLETON, JUDGE

         James Law Firm, by: Michael Kiel Kaiser, Megan M. Wilson, and William O. "Bill" James, Jr., Little Rock, for appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Karen Virginia Wallace, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

         OPINION

         RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge

Page 205

          Robert Jamar Fields was convicted by a Union County Circuit Court jury of one count of aggravated robbery, three counts of aggravated assault with two child enhancements, one count of terroristic act, and one count of first-degree battery with a child enhancement. He was sentenced to consecutive sentences totaling fifty-four years’ imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of Correction.

          On appeal, Fields argues the following five points: (1) the circuit court clearly erred in denying his motion in limine to exclude the pretrial identification of him made by the victim, Jennifer New; (2) the circuit court’s denial of his Batson challenge was against the preponderance of the evidence; (3) the circuit court failed to control the prosecutor’s closing argument during sentencing, "allowing him to misstate the law regarding parole eligibility to the jury"; (4) the circuit court failed to exercise discretion in sentencing him to consecutive terms of imprisonment; and (5) the circuit court abused its discretion in denying his petition for writ of error coram nobis. We affirm.

          On July 25, 2017, one day before trial, Fields filed a motion in limine to exclude victim Jennifer New’s pretrial photo identification of him as the person who had shot her. Before trial, the circuit court conducted a brief hearing on the motion. The circuit court denied the motion, ruling that the proffered evidence was hearsay and that the objections went to New’s credibility. Fields argues that the circuit court clearly erred in denying his motion in limine, but his argument is not preserved for appeal. Issues raised for the first time on appeal, even constitutional ones, will not be considered because the circuit court never had an opportunity to rule on them. E.g., London v. State, 354 Ark. 313, 320, 125 S.W.3d 813, 817 (2003).

         New’s identification of Fields from the photo she saw on the internet and subsequently verified for police is not preserved for appellate review because Fields did not object to New’s in-court identification of him based on the alleged taint from the photo identification. See, e.g., Jackson v. State, 318 Ark. 39, 41, 883 S.W.2d 466, 468 (1994); Goins v. State, 318 Ark. 689, 699-700, 890 S.W.2d 602, 607 (1995).

         Fields’s motion in limine did not ask for exclusion of any prospective in-court identification. At trial, New first identified Fields in the courtroom based on having seen him during commission of the crimes, without mentioning the online mug shot or the two photos shown to her by police when she contacted them after having seen his photo online. New testified at a later point in trial about seeing Fields’s photo on the internet and also identifying it from photos shown to her by police. Fields’s only objection to the in-court identification was that the prosecutor "need[ed] to lay more groundwork"— he did not relate his ...


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