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Boyd v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas

May 29, 2019

MICHAEL BOYD APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FOURTH DIVISION [NO. 60CR-13-3549] HONORABLE HERBERT T. WRIGHT, JR., JUDGE.

          Michael L. Boyd, pro se appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rachel Kemp, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          BRANDON J. HARRISON, JUDGE.

         Michael Boyd, an incarcerated appellant proceeding pro se, appeals the circuit court's denial of his motion for return of seized property. We affirm the circuit court's order.

         This court explained the underlying facts in Boyd's direct appeal of his convictions for aggravated robbery and theft of property:

The crimes were alleged to have occurred at approximately 4:15 p.m. on September 13, 2013. A man had entered a Bank of the Ozarks branch in North Little Rock with what appeared to be a handgun in his waistband, demanded money, took $4, 000 of the bank's money, and left in a car that had been described by bank tellers. Appellant was stopped in his car about an hour after the armed robbery. Appellant had a similar appearance to the man described by bank tellers and seen in bank surveillance video. Appellant submitted to an interview at the police station and waived his Miranda rights. In the interview, appellant made incriminating statements, admitting to having visited three banks that day, to having been at the bank that was robbed, to having what he described as a fake gun, and to taking money from a bank teller.

Boyd v. State, 2016 Ark.App. 407, at 2, 500 S.W.3d 772, 775. When he was stopped by police, Boyd also had over $2700 in his possession. Id. at 7, 500 S.W.3d at 777. He was convicted of aggravated robbery and theft of property and sentenced to thirty years' and ten years' imprisonment, respectively, to run consecutively. He was also ordered to pay costs, fees, and a $4000 fine.

         On 31 August 2017, Boyd moved for the return of seized property, asserting that the $2700 in his possession at the time he was detained was not contraband. He explained: "The movant received a monthly check in the sum of $1, 574.00 and can present documents to confirm this[.] In addition, Detective Gibbons admitted he could not tie these funds to a robbery of the Ozarks bank." The State responded by arguing that "[n]o money was ever returned to Ozark Bank in this matter and the $2700 is being held as evidence. . . . State would object to the return of the $2700 to the defendant."

         The circuit court convened a hearing on 29 May 2018. Detective Michael Gibbons admitted that at Boyd's trial, he (Gibbons) had testified that the money found on Boyd's person did not necessarily connect Boyd to the robbery because the bank had not recorded the serial numbers of the money that was stolen. Gibbons then clarified,

The money tied you to the robbery, just couldn't say that's the bank's money for sure. . . . Although circumstances was four thousand dollars, all one hundred dollar bills, was stolen from the bank, and someone who was unemployed had two thousand seven hundred fifty-three dollars, 20 of those, 21 of those, 27 of those being one hundred dollar bills tucked away in a wallet within an hour of robbing a bank. That was just one of the many facts that led to your arrest.

         The circuit court orally denied Boyd's petition and expressed surprise that the money had not already been "turned over to the Bank." The court entered a written order finding that the cash seized from Boyd no longer had any evidentiary value and that "after hearing evidence, this Court has determined that cash should be returned to its lawful owner, the Bank of the Ozarks[.]" Boyd has timely appealed the denial of his motion to this court.[1]

         Because this was a bench trial, our review determines whether the circuit court's findings were clearly erroneous or clearly against the preponderance of the evidence. Sharp v. State, 350 Ark. 529, 88 S.W.3d 848 (2002) (citing Pre-Paid Solutions, Inc. v. City of Little Rock, 343 Ark. 317, 34 S.W.3d 360 (2001)). A finding is clearly erroneous when, although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with a definite and firm conviction that a ...


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