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Turner v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

November 13, 2019

Anastasia TURNER, Appellant
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

Page 159


          Robert M. "Robby" Golden, for appellant.

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


         ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Judge

          The Benton County Circuit Court revoked Anastasia Turner’s probation. She appeals the revocation order and argues that the evidence was insufficient. We affirm.

          In May 2016, Turner entered into a plea agreement wherein the State dismissed case number 2010-1232-2(B) and accepted Turner’s guilty plea in case number 2015-1702-2 for residential burglary and second-degree assault. The circuit court adopted the agreement. Turner was sentenced to seven years’ supervised probation and ordered to pay $1,695 in fines, fees, and costs payable at the rate of $50 a month, plus a $5 collection fee each month. She was to have no contact with Maggie Porch and was ordered to complete 365 days in a community-corrections center with credit for nineteen days served. The sentencing order was filed June 7, 2016, and amended June 9 and 20.

          The State filed a petition to revoke Turner’s probation on May 15, 2018, alleging that she had violated the conditions of her probation because she (1) failed to report as directed on September 1, 2017, and January 29, 2018; (2) associated with convicted felons on September 14, 2017; (3) failed to report her change of address; (4) failed to pay supervision fees, having a balance of $150; and (5) failed to pay fines, fees, and restitution as ordered.

Page 160

          At the September 11, 2018 revocation hearing, Matthew Jenkins, an employee with Arkansas Community Correction, testified on behalf of Officer Ruendi Sierra, Turner’s supervisor who was unavailable to testify. Jenkins said that Officer Sierra’s notes reflect that Turner had reported for eight months, but she did not report for the four months "when she absconded." There were no drug tests, communications, or information about where she was or what she was doing between September 1, 2017, and January 29, 2018. He said that she had associated with known felons on September 14, 2017. He said that Officer Sierra had noted many times he had told Turner not to "hang out with a certain individual." He said that Officer Sierra had multiple visits when "she was at the [the felon’s] residence." He said that one rule of probation is that the probationer must not associate with felons. He also said that Officer Sierra had told Turner that she could not live at an address with other felons, and she did not provide any new address. He said that Turner owed $220 in supervision fees. The State introduced an exhibit reflecting that Turner owed $3,480 in court costs and fees, and it was admitted without objection.

          The State rested, the defense rested, and the State offered no witnesses in rebuttal. The State then argued that Turner previously had been on probation, that she had numerous arrests, and that she had appeared in the same circuit court the day before on a new charge for drug paraphernalia. The State asserted that because of her failure to report and her association with other felons, she should not continue on probation.

          Instead of making an argument to the circuit court at that time, defense counsel called Turner to the stand. She testified that the felon with whom she had been associating was Ryan Garza, her former fiancé, who was on parole. Turner said that she did not report to her probation supervisor at the end of 2017. She said that she got "into drugs" and that when she was arrested, she asked for help from her probation officer and was put on a waiting list to get assessed. Turner said that she had been living with Ryan Garza but had moved back to her mother’s house and that she thought Officer Sierra knew where she was. She said that there had not been a home visit for her at Ryan Garza’s house— the visit was for him. She explained that her charges for residential burglary and assault were from an incident when she had found a former boyfriend in bed with another woman— she had not intended to rob him; she broke in because she was mad, and she got into a fight. She said that if she were put back on probation, she would have a job and plenty of support from her family and friends. On cross-examination, Turner said that she had not reported during her probation because she "felt scared and got lost in [her] addiction."

          In its closing argument, the State asked that Turner be sentenced to the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) with judicial transfer to a community-corrections facility for a term of six years, with fourteen years suspended. Turner’s defense counsel argued that she needed some help with her drug addiction.

         The circuit court found that Turner had willfully failed to comply with her probation terms. She was sentenced to six years in the ADC with judicial transfer to a community-corrections facility, an additional fourteen years’ suspended imposition of sentence, and was ordered ...

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