FROM THE CRAWFORD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NOS. 17CR-08-43,
17CR09-448] HONORABLE MICHAEL MEDLOCK, JUDGE.
Lisa-Marie Norris, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Karen Virginia Wallace,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge.
Ahmad Joseph pleaded guilty to theft by receiving on March
27, 2008, and was sentenced to one and a half years in prison
followed by an eight-and-a-half-year suspended imposition of
sentence (SIS). Ahmad's SIS was conditioned on him paying
$800 in restitution at a rate of $50 per month beginning
sixty days after his release. On June 30, 2010, Ahmad pleaded
guilty to residential burglary, theft of property, and
forgery, and was sentenced to seven years in prison followed
by a ten-year SIS. In that case, Ahmad's SIS was
conditioned on him paying $1492 in restitution at a rate of
$50 per month beginning sixty days after his release.
October 12, 2017, the State filed a petition to revoke
Ahmad's suspensions based on its allegation that Ahmad
had violated his conditions by failing to pay restitution as
ordered. The State alleged that there was an unpaid balance
of $495 with respect to the first SIS, and that Ahmad had
paid nothing toward the $1492 restitution with respect to the
second SIS. After a hearing held on June 1, 2018, the trial
court found that Ahmad had violated his conditions. On June
25, 2018, the trial court entered a sentencing order revoking
each SIS and sentencing Ahmad to concurrent prison terms of
two years followed by a six-year SIS.
now appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in finding
that he inexcusably failed to comply with a condition of his
suspensions. Specifically, Ahmad contends that the revocation
should be reversed because his failure to pay restitution was
order to revoke a suspended imposition of sentence, the trial
court must find by a preponderance of the evidence that the
defendant has inexcusably violated a condition of the
suspension. Springs v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 364, 525
S.W.3d 490. The State has the burden of proof by the
preponderance of the evidence but need only prove one
violation. Upshaw v. State, 2013 Ark.App. 41. We
will not reverse the trial court's decision unless it is
clearly against the preponderance of the evidence.
Gilbreath collects payments and keeps records for the
Crawford County prosecutor's office. Ms. Gilbreath has a
file for Ahmad for both the 2008 and 2010 cases. With respect
to the 2008 case for which Ahmad was ordered to pay $800 in
restitution, Ms. Gilbreath stated that Ahmad had made some
payments in 2009. Ahmad paid $50 in January; $50 in February;
$80 in March; $50 in June; and $75 in September 2009.
However, Ahmad had made no payments from 2009 through October
2017 when the State filed its petition to revoke. After the
petition to revoke was filed, four $25 payments were made in
November 2017, December 2017, March 2018, and April 2018. The
State introduced a ledger reflecting each of these payments
and a balance due of $395 for the 2008 case. With respect to
the 2010 case, Ms. Gilbreath testified that none of the $1492
in court-ordered restitution had been paid. The State
introduced a ledger for the 2010 case showing zero payments.
testified that he and his mother made the payments that were
made between January and September 2009. Ahmad stated that,
at that time, he was living in New Orleans, Louisiana and
working as a dishwasher at a restaurant. Ahmad indicated
that, after that, he spent periods of time incarcerated,
during which he obtained his GED. He stated that he was
incarcerated in New Orleans in 2010 and then in Arkansas from
2010 to 2011. Ahmad indicated that, after being released from
incarceration in Arkansas, he went back to New Orleans and
was again incarcerated "for five or six years or
something like that."
testified that, after being paroled in Louisiana, he went
back to the same job. He stated that he was working 30 to 35
hours per week making about $9 per hour. Ahmad was living
with his mother, who was "helping him out a little bit
money wise." Ahmad stated that during this time, he paid
rent to his mother and also paid the light bill, the cable
bill, and his cell-phone bill. Ahmad indicated that he was
paying $25 to $50 for the cable bill.
testified that he was incarcerated again in New Orleans in
October 2016 for a parole violation. He stated that he was
later taken to a Sebastian County detention center in January
2017, then taken to Crawford County detention in June 2017
before being released from there in July 2017. Ahmad stated that
after his release, he was trying to get back to New Orleans
but had to wait for about eighty days in Fort Smith and
"could not do anything because I didn't have the ID
at the time."
testified that he returned to New Orleans. He stated that he
did not go back to work, but instead tried to get into school
for the 2017 fall semester. He stated that he "was not
able to get a job" during the 2017 fall semester. He was
picked up in April 2018 and taken back to Crawford County.
Ahmad stated that the four $25 payments made between November
2017 and April 2018 were made by his mother. Ahmad testified
that he had plans for employment at Rheem.
appeal, Ahmad argues that his revocation should be reversed
because his failure to pay restitution was not willful. He
submits that he was attempting to make payments but was
either incarcerated or unemployed. Although the State offered
proof of nonpayment, Ahmad contends that he was making a
good-faith effort and that ...