STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE HOWARD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 31JV-19-3 ]
HONORABLE TOM COOPER, JUDGE
D. Watson, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brett D. Watson, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Michael Zangari, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
WAYMOND M. BROWN, JUDGE
Howard County Circuit Court adjudicated A.J.A. delinquent for
having committed the offense of terroristic threatening and
sentenced him to the Division of Youth Services. He argues on
appeal that the evidence was insufficient to support the
terroristic threatening finding because the evidence did not
show that he acted with the purpose of terrorizing another
person or that he threatened another person. Because
A.J.A.'s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence
supporting his adjudication is not preserved for review, we
affirm without reaching the merits.
January 31, 2019, the State filed a petition in the juvenile
division of circuit court alleging that A.J.A. had committed
the offense of terroristic threatening at Dierks High School.
The State included Officer John McKee's police report as
an exhibit to its petition. The report stated the following:
On 1-29-19[, ] I was contacted by School Resource Officer
Benny Simmons about an incident at the Dierks High School.
Simmons requested that I come to the high school. I arrived
and spoke with Simmons, Principal Jeff Jones, [and]
Superintendent Jody Cowart. They informed me that [A.J.A.]
had made some threats about shooting up the school to another
student. Principal Jones had spoken to [A.J.A.] prior to my
arrival and stated that [A.J.A.] had confessed to telling
another student that he told her he was a school shooter. He
had confessed further that he instructed her to wear green on
Friday. [A.J.A.] further confessed that he always wore a
black jacket like other school shooters to students and told
Principal Jones this. I took [A.J.A.] into custody after his
grandparents arrived. I interviewed [A.J.A.] at the Dierks
Police Department with his [g]randparents present. [A.J.A.]
admitted that he did tell a student that he was a school
shooter and that he told her to wear green on Friday. He
further stated that it was a joke.
trial was held on February 6, 2019. Following the
presentation of the State's case, defense counsel moved
for a directed verdict:
I request a directed verdict. As for terroristic threatening
in the first degree, the main part of the statute is to be
with the purpose of terrorizing another. [A.J.A.] did not
tell anybody with the purpose of terrorizing them that he was
going to shoot up the school or make any sort of threats.
This was something he was talking to his friends, they all
understood. [A.M.] said she took it as a joke, didn't
take it seriously. [B.B.] said he thought he was kidding, not
taking it seriously. Everything Mr. Jones testified about was
based on rumors that other kids had started that included
stuff [A.J.A.] didn't say, like the bombing. And whenever
any of the adults from principal, superintendent, law
enforcement asked what was going on, they asked for the
specific statement, not intent. [A.J.A.] is not going to lie
and say he didn't make the statement. He didn't make
a statement intending to do actual harm or with intent to
I believe it would be. He has to make the statement with the
purpose of terrorizing another. He did not make that
statement to anybody else to terrorize them. In fact, the
people he talked to were either acquaintances or friends
that, in that circle, it could just as easily be assumed that
he was making a bad joke. Nothing the State has shown showed
that this was an actual, intentional threat that he was going
to carry out. This was based on rumors that people heard and
exacerbated throughout the course of the community and school
before it got to the principal and superintendent.
court denied A.J.A.'s motion for dismissal, and A.J.A.
took the stand and testified on his own behalf. Counsel
failed to renew the motion at the conclusion of the evidence.
The court subsequently found that A.J.A. was not credible and
that the allegations in the State's petition were true.
The delinquency-and-commitment order was filed on February 6,
2019. A.J.A. filed a timely notice of appeal on March 5,
to the sufficiency of the evidence at a bench trial are made
through a motion to dismiss. A motion to dismiss must state
with specificity the grounds on which the motion
relies. Failure to raise an issue in a motion
precludes this court from considering it on
appeal. The Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure,
including Rule 33.1, apply to delinquency proceedings under
the Arkansas Juvenile Code. Thus, failure to make a motion to
dismiss at the close of all the evidence in an adjudication
hearing will constitute a waiver of any question pertaining
to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the
defense counsel failed to renew his motion at the close of
all the evidence. Thus, we are precluded from addressing
A.J.A.'s sufficiency challenge on appeal.
reply, A.J.A. makes two constitutional
arguments and contends that these arguments can be
raised for the first time in the reply because "there
was no reason to raise it below, and we are responding to an
argument the State made in its response brief." He
relies on Olson v. Olson to support this proposition.
However, Olson is distinguishable. There, the
supreme court held that the appellant was not barred from
raising an issue from the divorce proceeding for the first