FROM THE CRAWFORD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 17CR-17-249]
HONORABLE GARY COTTRELL, JUDGE.
Lisa-Marie Norris, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Chris R. Warthen, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge.
Crawford County Circuit Court jury convicted appellant,
Melvin Jones, of possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class B
felony, and possession of methamphetamine, a Class D felony.
He was sentenced as a habitual offender to five years'
imprisonment for the possession-of-drug-paraphernalia
conviction and fifteen years' imprisonment for the
possession-of- methamphetamine conviction with the sentences
to run consecutively. On appeal, Jones challenges the
sufficiency of the evidence for both convictions. Because his
arguments are unpreserved, we affirm.
March 6, 2017, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Jones was pulled
over in a traffic stop after Deputy Kirill Maslakov observed
him driving a 1994 Chevrolet pickup truck erratically. Jones
exhibited signs of methamphetamine use. After a search, Jones
was found to have a small key container in his pocket that
held a plastic bag of methamphetamine. Both the report from
the crime lab and the custody log for the plastic bag were
stipulated to with no objection and admitted into evidence.
The report confirmed that the bag contained 1.5485 grams of
methamphetamine. A digital scale and a glass pipe, both of
which appeared to have methamphetamine residue on them, were
also found in the truck. Deputy Maslakov testified that based
on his law-enforcement experience, the baggies, digital
scale, and glass pipe found in Jones's truck indicated
motion for directed verdict is treated as a challenge to the
sufficiency of the evidence, and the denial of the motion is
affirmed if sufficient evidence, either direct or
circumstantial, supports the verdict. Friday v.
State, 2018 Ark. 339, at 5, 561 S.W.3d 318, 322. A
directed-verdict motion must specifically state the grounds
on which the motion relies. See Newton v. State,
2011 Ark.App. 190, at 6, 382 S.W.3d 711, 714-15; see
also Ark. R. Crim. P. 33.1 (2018). Any ground not
specifically stated in such a motion is not preserved for
evidence is evidence that compels a conclusion beyond
suspicion or conjecture, and on appeal, the evidence at trial
is viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict.
Newton, 2011 Ark.App. 190, at 1-2, 382 S.W.3d at
712. Circumstantial evidence is substantial when it excludes
all other reasonable hypotheses other than the guilt of the
accused; whether the evidence does so is a question to be
determined by the fact-finder. Brawner v. State,
2013 Ark.App. 413, at 6, 428 S.W.3d 600, 605. The fact-finder
also is responsible for determining witness credibility and
resolving any issues of conflicting testimony and
inconsistent evidence. Newton, 2011 Ark.App. 190, at
2, 382 S.W.3d at 712.
Jones cannot prevail because he failed to make specific
objections in his directed-verdict motion to preserve his
current challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence on
appeal. In his directed-verdict motions, Jones
twice stated that the State had failed to make a
"prima facie case" for possession of drug
paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine. To preserve
a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, 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. Malone v. State,
2012 Ark.App. 280, at 3.
Jones's motions for directed verdict do not inform the
circuit court of any specific deficiency in the State's
case. He simply said that the State had not made a
"prima facie case." This is insufficient.
Because Jones failed to make specific arguments in his
directed-verdict motions, his arguments are not preserved for
appellate review. By not advising the circuit court of the
specific issues in the State's case that he is now
challenging on appeal, the question of the sufficiency of
evidence to support his convictions is not preserved for
appeal. Lee v. State, 2013 Ark.App. 209, at 3-4.
Klappenbach and Vaught, JJ., agree.