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Sharp v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

October 30, 2019



          McKay Law Firm, PLLC, by: Camille M. Cashion, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Jacob H. Jones, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge

         Appellant Amanda Jill Sharp was convicted in a bench trial of first-degree criminal mischief and criminal trespass. She was sentenced as a habitual offender to fifteen years' imprisonment, with eight of those years suspended. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2, 380.77. She argues on appeal that the trial court erred in denying her motion to dismiss. We affirm.

         Appellant was arrested on September 25, 2016, at the home of Deputy John Eric Glidewell of the Howard County Sheriff's Department. According to the affidavit for the arrest warrant, appellant arrived at Glidewell's home at approximately 6:00 a.m., at a high rate of speed and parked her vehicle about ten feet from the residence. She jumped out of the vehicle and began screaming and beating on and ramming the front door. She subsequently turned around and began kicking the door. This behavior continued for nearly five minutes even though Glidewell was telling her to stop. Glidewell was able to go outside and place appellant under arrest and call for assistance. As a result of appellant's actions, there was damage to Glidewell's front door, including damage to the door frame and glass door. The vinyl siding next to the door also had "holes" in it. The bench warrant was issued October 4.

         At the January 4, 2017 hearing, appellant indicated that she intended to raise mental disease or defect as a defense. Orders for criminal responsibility and fitness to proceed examinations were filed the same day. A forensic evaluation was performed on appellant on February 10, 2017, by Dr. Julia M. Wood. She diagnosed appellant with schizoaffective disorder and methamphetamine-use disorder. Dr. Wood concluded that appellant did not lack the capacity to understand the proceedings against her or to assist effectively in her own defense. However, Dr. Wood opined that appellant lacked the capacity to appreciate the criminality of her conduct and to conform her conduct to the requirements of the law at the time of the alleged offense due to her schizoaffective disorder. She also found that appellant "was capable of the culpable mental state required as an element of the alleged offense." She concluded that appellant's substance abuse was not the "sole cause of her psychotic and mood symptoms." Additionally, she concluded that appellant was not high on drugs at the time of the offense because appellant had used drugs three days prior to the offense and had "slept well since her prior meth use." Dr. Wood's report was filed on February 15.

         Appellant requested a second mental evaluation at the May 2, 2018 hearing, and orders for criminal responsibility and fitness-to-proceed examinations were filed the same day. Dr. Wood performed another forensic evaluation on appellant on June 21. She made the same diagnosis and findings as before; however, this time the report indicated that appellant's "substance abuse ended 4 days prior to the alleged crime." The report was filed on June 28.

         At the hearing held on December 5, appellant asked for a bench trial and indicated that she would be raising an affirmative defense based on her mental evaluations. A motion to dismiss based on a lack of criminal responsibility was filed the same day. A hearing on the motion took place on December 12. The court took the matter under advisement. An order denying appellant's motion was filed on December 21.

         Appellant's bench trial took place on January 14, 2019. Glidewell testified that he was home asleep on September 25, 2016, when he heard loud music coming up his driveway and gravel popping. According to Glidewell, it "almost sounded like a wreck." He stated that the vehicle pulled up a few feet from his door, beside his bedroom window. He testified that all he could hear was somebody hollering. He stated that he heard a woman's voice and it sounded like she was beating on his "front metal door with something metal while screaming." He said that he told his wife to call 9-1-1 and subsequently retrieved his gun. He testified that the woman started "kicking the door causing the whole door to shake." He stated that after about five minutes, he realized it was appellant who was yelling his name and trying to get inside his house. He said that he could not understand what appellant was saying because her car radio was "turned up so loud." He testified that although he thought appellant was hitting the door with something metal, he realized that she had "turned around and was kicking it as hard as she could." He threatened to shoot her if she did not move away from his door, which she did not do. He stated that at some point he put his head down near the door and saw sheetrock coming down. He testified that appellant finally sat down in the doorway, and he ran and got his handcuffs. He was able to get her to "scoot back" from the doorway so that he could go outside. Once outside, he placed appellant under arrest. He stated that he asked appellant why she was at his house, and she responded with "random off the wall stuff" such as that "the Baileys had poisoned her and people were getting their electricity." He said that appellant was moving "up and down" and that he finally got her to sit in the yard but that she rolled around, making it "obvious to [him] that she was on drugs." He testified that appellant told him several times that she was on drugs and she later said she was on methamphetamine. He stated that he had known appellant for years, but she had never come to his house. He said that appellant busted his door and damaged his siding with a flashlight that she subsequently put in the flower bed. He stated that he received an estimate in the amount of $2, 394 for the damages caused by appellant. He testified that he would end up paying about $4, 000 because he is buying a "better door due to this incident."

         On cross-examination, Glidewell stated that he lives two houses down from appellant and that his house is located a half mile from appellant's home. He said that another deputy lives a couple of miles north of him. He testified that when appellant pulled up, he could hear hollering and that he later could hear her screaming his name. He stated that once he detained appellant, she told him that "the Baileys had poisoned her, someone named Bob, and that she saw something in the ditch." He said that appellant was "looking around, looking off in the ditch, and saying 'there they are' insisting somebody was in the ditch." He testified that his door and siding were the only things damaged by appellant.

         On redirect, Glidewell stated that he had worked in law enforcement for nineteen years and had encountered "probably . . . hundreds or thousands" of people under the influence of methamphetamine. According to Glidewell, appellant was displaying those same behaviors displayed by people under the influence, such as "seeing things and just looking around and couldn't stay still." He stated that appellant was "obviously on drugs." He said that if appellant had just been scared, she would have calmed down because he was there, but she just kept talking over him.

         On recross, Glidewell stated that he also had a lot of dealings with people suffering from schizophrenia during his nineteen years in law enforcement. He admitted that he is no doctor but that he believes appellant's behavior was "drug induced although she might have other issues." He stated that he had spoken with appellant several times before and after the incident and that it was his belief that appellant was on drugs the night in question; however, he admitted schizophrenia can come and go in episodes.

         Appellant made a motion to dismiss at the conclusion of the State's evidence, challenging the criminal intent and amount of damages. The court denied the motion and appellant put on her defense.

         Dr. Wood testified that she is employed by the Division of Behavioral Health Services in Little Rock through the State of Arkansas and that she conducts psychological evaluations for the court. She stated that she has practiced for fifteen years and performs approximately 150 evaluations a year. She testified that of that number, she has found only about ten people incapable of being held responsible for their crimes. She stated that she first came in contact with appellant in February 2017 when she performed a forensic evaluation on appellant. She said that the test consisted of a clinical interview, a mental-status exam, and a concrete test called the Georgia Court Competency Test. She stated that she also performed the Mississippi State Hospital Revision because it "gets more volitional information than the original test." She stated that appellant scored a ninety out of one hundred, which indicated that she understood the legal matters and charges against her and that she was capable of assisting her attorney in preparing for trial. She said that she ultimately found appellant fit to stand trial. She also testified that she evaluated appellant twice to determine if appellant was capable of conforming her actions to appreciate the criminality of her conduct. She stated that during the June 2018 examination, she performed a clinical interview to get appellant's history of mental illness, drug usage, and behavioral disorder. She testified that this information was "relevant . . . to rule certain things out" before a patient is evaluated for mental illness. She stated that she looked at the police report and also obtained appellant's version of events. She testified that appellant has an extended history of mental illness. She said that it was her opinion that on the date in question, appellant was "experiencing a psychotic state and hallucinating due to untreated schizophrenia, not drugs." She testified that she did not base her opinion on appellant's word alone, but that she looked at appellant's past medical records that included events of hallucinations and delusions at times when appellant was not using drugs. She stated that appellant claimed she had not used drugs for an extended period of time, but appellant was still experiencing delusions similar to those experienced at the time of the crime. She said she had to take appellant's word that appellant was not using drugs because the State did not require drug screens. Additionally, she stated that appellant did not exhibit the signs of drug usage or withdrawal at the time of the evaluations. She further testified that in her fifteen years, she has "evaluated patients on meth. If [she] believe[s] they are actively intoxicated[, ][she] give[s] them a choice of admitting it or not[, ] but [she] immediately stop[s] the exam. [She] cannot examine what your mental status is if you're intoxicated because many drugs mimic the symptoms of mental illness and it confuses the picture." Dr. Wood testified that appellant could not appreciate the criminality of her conduct or conform her conduct within the bounds of the law at the time in question. She also stated that appellant acted appropriately under her mistaken belief that someone was chasing her.

         On cross-examination, Dr. Wood stated that she reviewed the probable-cause affidavit because that was all she received from the State. She said that she met with appellant for an hour and a half during the examinations and that appellant claimed no drug use the three days prior to the incident and claimed to have slept since last using. She testified that it was important to know that when someone uses meth, "once you can sleep, that's the crash. If you're able to sleep, the meth has worn off." She reiterated that she did not perform a drug test on appellant. She also stated that no drug test was performed subsequent to appellant's arrest, and there was no reference to drug use in the affidavit. She testified that the only evidence she had of whether appellant was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crime was appellant's version of events. She stated that appellant did not exhibit the signs of a meth user when she evaluated appellant. She said that during her evaluation of appellant, she saw active symptoms of delusions, and it was her opinion that appellant was not intoxicated at that time. Therefore, she concluded that appellant's delusions were not solely caused by drug use. She also said that appellant was not actively intoxicated at the time of the incident. However, she stated that if appellant had admitted to Glidewell she was on meth at the time of the incident, "that would influence [her] opinion."

         On redirect, Dr. Wood stated that whether appellant used meth three or four days before the incident would not "have influenced [her] opinion as to whether [appellant] was under the influence of ...

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