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Badger v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

October 30, 2019

Craytonia BADGER, Appellant
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee


          Andrew W. Best, for appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Adam Jackson, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.


         BART F. VIRDEN, Judge

          A Columbia County jury convicted appellant Craytonia Badger of third-degree escape, first-degree criminal mischief, and breaking or entering. He was sentenced as a habitual offender to an aggregate term of sixty years’ imprisonment. Badger argues that the trial court erred in (1) denying his motion to dismiss for violation of the speedy-trial rules, (2) denying his motion to suppress a custodial statement, and (3) denying his directed-verdict motion as to his first-degree criminal-mischief conviction. We affirm as modified.

          I. Directed-Verdict Motion

          Although it is his third point on appeal, we address Badger’s sufficiency argument first because of double-jeopardy concerns. Raheem v. State, 2018 Ark.App. 620, 566 S.W.3d 148. A motion for directed verdict is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Davis v. State, 2009 Ark.App. 753, 2009 WL 3762749. On appeal, in reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict to determine whether the verdict is supported by substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial. Id. Substantial evidence is that which is of sufficient force and character that it will, with reasonable certainty, compel a conclusion one way or the other, without resorting to speculation or conjecture. Id. Decisions regarding the credibility of witnesses are for the trier of fact. Id.

         Badger challenges the sufficiency of the evidence only as it pertains to his first-degree criminal-mischief conviction. A person commits the offense of criminal mischief in the first degree if he or she purposely and without legal justification destroys or causes damage to any property of another. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-38-203(a)(1) (Repl. 2013). The offense is a Class D felony if the amount of actual damage is more than $1,000 but $5,000 or less. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-38-203(b)(2).

          Considering only the evidence that supports the verdict, Badger was an inmate at the Columbia County detention facility when he escaped on the night of December 6 or the early morning of December 7, 2015. The testimony established that Badger had been the only inmate in pod 5C. There was testimony that a dismantled speaker and various tools found in pod 5C had been used to create a hole through the ceiling of the cell and the roof of the building. An invoice from a sheet-metal company showed that the facility had been billed $2,474.21 on December 22, 2015, for "labor and material to repair hole cut in roof and repaired roof leaks." Captain Mike McWilliams testified that the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department paid the bill and that he was not aware of any other holes in the roof needing repair in December 2015.

          Badger argues on appeal that there was no substantial evidence that he committed criminal mischief because McWilliams had no personal knowledge of the repairs, he did not create the invoice, and he did not pay the invoice himself. Badger contends that McWilliams should not have been permitted to testify that he (Badger) was 100 percent at fault for the damage and subsequent repairs to fix the hole and the leaking roof. Badger argues that the invoice was the only evidence as to the amount of damages caused by his escape and that the jury had to speculate that the amount of the damages exceeded $1,000.

         When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, this court considers all the evidence, whether admitted properly or erroneously. Campbell v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 59, 512 S.W.3d 663. Even if the trial court abused its discretion in admitting the invoice into evidence, this court would nevertheless consider it. Although Badger argues that he was not entirely at fault for the repairs, this argument was raised as part of his evidentiary objection to the admission of the invoice, and not part of his directed-verdict motion. Ingle v. State, 2010 Ark.App. 410, 379 S.W.3d 32 (holding that arguments made in support of sufficiency-of-the-evidence challenge that were not made in directed-verdict motion are not preserved for review). Given McWilliams’s testimony, together with the invoice, we hold that there was substantial evidence that Badger damaged jail property in an amount exceeding $1,000. In his argument, Badger also complains about the "resulting restitution," but the sentencing order does not reflect that he was ordered to pay restitution. We also note that the sentencing order indicates that Badger was convicted of a Class C felony, which is incorrect.[1] We therefore modify the order to reflect that Badger was convicted of a Class D felony under section 5-38-203(b)(2).

          II. Motion to Dismiss for Speedy-Trial Violation

          As relevant here, Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 28.1 requires the State to bring a criminal defendant to trial within twelve months from the date of his or her arrest,[2] excluding only such periods of necessary delay as are authorized by Rule 28.3. If a defendant is not brought to trial within the requisite time, he or she is entitled to have the charges dismissed with an absolute bar to prosecution. Ark. R. Crim. P. 30.1(a). Once it has been shown that a trial will be held after the speedy-trial period set out in Rule 28.1 has expired, the State bears the burden of proving that the delay was the result of the defendant’s conduct or was otherwise justified. Miles v. State, 348 Ark. 544, 75 S.W.3d 677 (2002). This court conducts a de novo review to determine whether specific periods of time are excludable under the speedy-trial rules. Federick v. State, 2012 Ark.App. 552, 423 S.W.3d 649.

          Badger was arrested on December 8, 2015, and his jury trial occurred on November 28, 2018— a period of 1,086 days. Thus, Badger made a prima facie showing that his trial was held after the speedy-trial period had expired, so the State had the burden of ...

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