FROM THE MILLER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 46CR-18-152]
HONORABLE BRENT HALTOM, JUDGE
Phillip A. McGough, P.A., by: Phillip A. McGough, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Kent G. Holt, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
W. GRUBER, CHIEF JUDGE
Miller County Circuit Court jury found appellant Misty Martin
guilty of possession of crack cocaine and possession of drug
paraphernalia. She was sentenced as a habitual offender to
consecutive prison terms of nine years for possession of
crack and three years for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Her sole point on appeal is that the evidence was
insufficient to support her conviction for possession of drug
paraphernalia. We hold that substantial evidence supports the
jury's verdict, and we affirm.
reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we
determine whether the verdict is supported by substantial
evidence, direct or circumstantial. Malone v. State,
364 Ark. 256, 261, 217 S.W.3d 810, 813 (2005). Substantial
evidence is evidence forceful enough to compel a conclusion
one way or the other beyond suspicion or conjecture.
Id. We view the evidence in the light most favorable
to the verdict and consider only evidence supporting the
Peyton Harris of the Texarkana, Arkansas, Police Department
testified that on February 13, 2018, he was patrolling the
Rondo Cemetery due to reports of vandalism and narcotics in
the area when he approached a parked car. The driver, Doyle
Furqueron, got out of the car and started walking toward the
tombstones; appellant was sitting in the passenger seat.
Officer Harris approached Doyle and asked what he and his
passenger were doing. Doyle replied that they were visiting
family. Officer Harris then asked Doyle if there was anything
illegal in the car. Doyle said no and gave Harris permission
to search the car.
Harris testified that he discovered a baggie containing a
"white rock substance" he believed to be crack
cocaine in the passenger-door armrest and a crack pipe under
the edge of the passenger seat that appeared to contain an
unsmoked white residue. Both Doyle and appellant denied that
either of the items belonged to them. Appellant was charged
and taken into custody.
Lester Colley, a detective with the Bi-State Narcotics Task
Force, testified that he interviewed appellant the next day,
and she told him that the crack cocaine found in the car
belonged to her. She denied that the crack pipe was hers. She
also told him that she was "fixing to smoke" the
crack cocaine. Appellant testified at trial, admitting that
she owned the crack cocaine found in the car but denying that
she was the owner of the crack pipe. She said that she had
not known the pipe was in the car when she got in.
Possession may be established by proof of actual possession
or constructive possession. Martin v. State, 2019
Ark.App. 19, at 5, 567 S.W.3d 558, 561. Because appellant did
not physically possess the crack pipe when it was discovered,
the State was required to prove that she constructively
possessed the pipe. To prove constructive possession, the
State must establish that the defendant exercised "care,
control, and management over the contraband."
McKenzie v. State, 362 Ark. 257, 263, 208 S.W.3d
173, 175 (2005). While constructive possession may be implied
when the contraband is in the joint control of the accused
and another, joint occupancy of a car, standing alone, is not
sufficient to establish possession. Malone, 364 Ark.
at 261, 217 S.W.3d at 813. There must be some other factor
linking the accused to the contraband. Id. Other
factors to be considered in cases involving vehicles occupied
by more than one person are (1) whether the contraband is in
plain view; (2) whether the contraband is found with the
accused's personal effects; (3) whether it is found on
the same side of the car seat as the accused was sitting or
in near proximity to it; (4) whether the accused is the owner
of the automobile, or exercises dominion and control over it;
and (5) whether the accused acted suspiciously before or
during the arrest. Lockheart-Singleton v. State,
2018 Ark.App. 307, at 5. There is no requirement that all, or
even a majority, of the linking factors be present to
constitute constructive possession of the contraband.
appellant admitted that the crack found in the passenger-side
armrest was hers. Officer Harris discovered the crack pipe
under the front edge of the seat appellant had been sitting
in immediately before the search. Appellant initially denied
that either the crack or the crack pipe belonged to her. She
admitted the day after the search that the crack belonged to
her and said she had been "fixing to smoke" it when
asked her intentions about the crack. Although appellant
denied that the pipe belonged to her, the resolution of
conflicts in testimony and assessment of the credibility of
witnesses is for the jury. Harris v. State, 72
Ark.App. 227, 232, 35 S.W.3d 819, 823 (2000). It was not
required to believe any witness's testimony, especially
appellant's, since she was the person most interested in
the outcome of the case. Id. We hold that
substantial evidence supports the jury's verdict.
Whiteaker and ...