GEORGE L. CLAY, III APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST DIVISION [NO.
60CR-16-2538] HONORABLE LEON JOHNSON, JUDGE.
William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller,
Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Joseph Karl Luebke, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
J. GLADWIN, JUDGE.
appeal of his June 28, 2018 conviction for driving while
intoxicated (DWI), George L. Clay III argues that the circuit
court abused its discretion by admitting hearsay evidence
during his bench trial and that he was prejudiced as a
result. We affirm.
was charged with DWI and having been previously convicted of
seven DWIs charged within ten years of the first offense. He
was also charged with possession of a Schedule I or II
controlled substance. At trial, the arresting police officer
testified that Clay had been found passed out in the
driver's seat of his car, which was in a ditch. He was
revived by emergency personnel and taken to the hospital.
Police found two and a half Tylenol oxycodone pills in
Clay's wallet. Clay refused a blood test, but the officer
said that he believed Clay was intoxicated because of his
bloodshot eyes, his slurred speech, his erratic behavior, and
the odor of intoxicants about his person.
conclusion of the State's testimonial evidence, the State
offered certified copies of Clay's three prior
misdemeanor-DWI convictions and four prior felony-DWI
convictions. The misdemeanors were evidenced by certified
docket sheets from the Sherwood District Court and the North
Little Rock District Court, and the felonies were represented
by sentencing orders filed in the Pulaski County Circuit
Court. Clay objected to the certified copies of the docket
sheets arguing that the documents did not fall under the
exceptions to the rule excluding hearsay. Specifically, Clay
argued that the documents should not be admitted under either
Arkansas Rule of Evidence 803(8) (public-records exception)
or Rule 803(22) (prior-judgments-of-conviction exception).
The circuit court overruled the objection and admitted the
was found guilty of violating Arkansas Code Annotated section
5-65-103(a)(1) (Repl. 2016), DWI sixth or subsequent offense,
and section 5-64-419(b)(2)(A) (Repl. 2016), possession of a
Schedule I or II controlled substance, and he was sentenced
to six years' imprisonment on each count to be served
concurrently in the Arkansas Department of Correction. He
filed a timely notice of appeal, and this appeal followed.
Standard of Review
review evidentiary rulings using an abuse-of-discretion
standard, and trial courts are afforded wide discretion in
evidentiary rulings. Campbell v. State, 2017 Ark.
App. 59, at 4, 512 S.W.3d 663, 666. Our court will not
reverse an evidentiary ruling absent a showing of error and
resulting prejudice. Id.
We construe court rules using the same principles and canons
of construction used to interpret our statutes. Jones v.
State, 2018 Ark. App. 211. When reviewing issues of
statutory interpretation, the first rule in considering the
meaning and effect of a statute is to construe it just as it
reads, giving words their ordinary and usually accepted
meaning in common language. Rylwell, L.L.C. v. Ark. Dev.
Fin. Auth., 372 Ark. 32, 269 S.W.3d 797 (2007). When the
language of a statute is plain and unambiguous, there is no
need to resort to the rules of statutory construction.
Cruz v. State, 2019 Ark. App. 91, at 3, 572 S.W.3d
27, 28. We review issues of statutory construction de novo,
as it is for the appellate court to decide what a statute
means. Hodges v. Huckabee, 338 Ark. 454,
459, 995 S.W.2d 341, 345 (1999).
Arkansas Rule ...