Omar D. DAVIS, Sr., Appellant
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST DIVISION [NO.
60CR-17-1387], HONORABLE LEON JOHNSON, JUDGE
R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller, Deputy
Public Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Michael L. Yarbrough, Asst Atty
Gen., for appellee.
M. BROWN, Judge
Appellant Omar Davis, Sr. appeals his conviction for
possession of a firearm by a felon. On appeal, he argues that
the circuit court erred by denying his motion to dismiss at
the bench trial. Specifically, Davis
contends that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he
constructively possessed the firearm. We affirm.
February 15, 2017, the North Little Rock Police Department
executed a search warrant at a residence located at 2209
Railroad Street, North Little Rock. In the southwest bedroom
of the house, police recovered a loaded twelve-gauge shotgun
and a blue bag containing twenty-two twelve-gauge shotgun
shells and mail addressed to Davis. Officer Christopher
Weaver testified that when he entered the southwest bedroom
and initially came into contact with Davis, he was within
three feet of the shotgun and the shotgun was in plain view.
At the conclusion of the States case, Davis moved for
dismissal on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence
to show that he constructively possessed the shotgun. The
circuit court denied the motion. Davis then testified that
the shotgun was found in his fiancées bedroom, he did
not live there with her, and he had no knowledge of the
shotgun. At the conclusion of the trial, the circuit court
found Davis guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon and
sentenced him as a habitual offender to six years
incarceration in the Arkansas Department of Correction. He
motion to dismiss at a bench trial is identical to a motion
for directed verdict at a jury trial in that it is a
challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. This court
will affirm a circuit courts denial of the motion if there
is substantial evidence, either direct or circumstantial, to
support the verdict. Evidence is substantial if it is of
sufficient force and character to compel reasonable minds to
reach a conclusion and pass beyond suspicion and
conjecture. The evidence is viewed in the light
most favorable to the verdict, and only evidence supporting
the verdict is considered.
Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-73-103(a)(1) (Repl. 2016)
provides that no person who has been convicted of a felony
shall possess or own any firearm. A showing of constructive
possession, which is the control or right to control the
contraband, is sufficient to prove possession of a
firearm. Constructive possession may be implied
when the contraband is found in a place immediately and
exclusively accessible to the accused and subject to his or
her control. Some additional factors must be
present to link the accused to the contraband in cases
involving joint occupancy. Those additional linking factors
include (1) that the accused exercised care, control, or
management over the contraband; and (2) that the accused knew
the matter possessed was contraband. The control and
knowledge can be inferred from the circumstances, such as the
proximity of the contraband to the accused, the fact that it
is in plain view, and the ownership of the property where the
contraband is found.
Davis concedes that he was found in close proximity to the
shotgun, he argues that there are no linking factors
sufficient to support a finding that he constructively
possessed the shotgun. We do not agree. Here, the shotgun was
found in the bedroom in plain view, within feet of Davis.
Additionally, the bag of shotgun shells that was found within
that bedroom contained several pieces of mail addressed to
Davis. Viewing the evidence in the ...