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Jennings v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

May 8, 2019

JACQUELINE JENNINGS APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE CRAWFORD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 17CR-17-1035] HONORABLE GARY COTTRELL, JUDGE

          Joseph C. Self, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Chris R. Warthen, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          BART F. VIRDEN, JUDGE.

         Appellant Jacqueline Jennings appeals from the Crawford County Circuit Court's revocation of her suspended sentence and the imposition of a seven-year term of imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of Correction followed by a seven-year suspended imposition of sentence (SIS). Jennings argues that the trial court erred in revoking her suspended sentence because there was insufficient evidence that she committed a criminal offense. We affirm.

         I. Procedural History

         In December 2017, Jennings pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon, and she received a ten-year SIS. She was ordered to pay a fine, costs, and fees, and she was advised that the SIS was conditioned on her good behavior. In August 2018, the State filed a petition to revoke alleging that Jennings had committed new criminal offenses on July 29, 2018. Specifically, she was charged as a habitual offender with arson, third-degree domestic battery, and resisting arrest. The State also alleged in its petition that she had failed to make any payments on her fine, costs, and fees, leaving an unpaid balance of $1, 350. A hearing was held October 24, 2018.

         II. Revocation Hearing

         The testimony revealed the following sequence of events. On July 29, 2018, Jennings and her husband, Charles Jones, got into a fight at the home of Jones's sister, Patricia Collett. Jennings and Jones were described as "nose-to-nose" in the doorway of Collett's trailer when Jennings attempted to strike Jones with a broomstick; however, Collett blocked the blow. Collett was struck on her hand, and Jennings stepped on Collett's foot with her cowboy boots, breaking Collett's big toe. Jones restrained Jennings by "choking her out." He then took Jennings into the trailer and went back outside with Collett, who was calling the police. Meanwhile, Jennings had come around and was inside the trailer cursing and throwing things.

         By the time James Polk, a corporal with the Crawford County Sheriff's Department, arrived at the scene in response to a domestic disturbance, Jennings had locked herself inside the trailer and refused to come outside, even after Polk had identified himself. Collett and Jones explained to Polk that Jennings had been off her medication for some time and had been talking to herself. Jennings refused Polk's offer to have EMS take her to a hospital. More officers arrived on the scene, and Jennings suddenly emerged from the trailer yelling that it was on fire.

         Two officers had to restrain Jennings to keep her from reentering the trailer, which had smoke billowing out of it. Jennings tried to pull away from the officers. Polk testified that the officers kept telling Jennings to stop resisting but that they were forced to take her to the ground to handcuff her. Polk conceded that "[t]here were no physical blows thrown towards us[.]" Polk stated that, after they had gotten Jennings in custody, she said that "she'd see [him] in Hell and make sure [he] got there." He also said that, while he was patting her down for weapons, she had threatened to "beat [his] ass." Polk said that the trailer eventually "burnt to the ground" and was a total loss.

         Both Collett and Jones testified at the revocation hearing that they thought Jennings's actions on that day were unintentional and accidental. Jones said of Jennings, "She's nice and kind, you know the sweetest person you'd ever want to meet as long as she's taking her medication." Polk testified that neither witness had described Jennings's actions as "unintentional" or "accidental" on the day of the altercation.

         The trial court revoked Jennings's suspended sentence upon finding that she had violated the terms and conditions of her SIS by setting the fire that burned Collett's trailer and by resisting arrest. The trial court did not find that Jennings committed domestic battery and stated from the bench, "I can't tell you what happened in the fight." The trial court did not address Jennings's alleged failure to pay her fine, costs, and fees because the State had not put on any evidence in that regard.

         III. Stan ...


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