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
William R. Simpson, Jr., Public Defender, by: Clint Miller,
Deputy Public Defender, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Michael L. Yarbrough, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
WAYMOND M. BROWN, JUDGE
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 State's 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 fiancée's 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 court's 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.
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
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 light most favorable to
the verdict, we hold that there is substantial evidence that
Davis constructively possessed the firearm.
Klappenbach and Hixson, JJ., agree.
Ark. R. Crim. P. 33.1 (2018);
Warren v. State, 2019 Ark.App. 33, 567 ...