Maxxi L. BROOKS, Appellant
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee
FROM THE CRAIGHEAD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT
[NO. 16JCR-17-616], HONORABLE PAMELA HONEYCUTT, JUDGE
Goodwin Jones, for appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Karen Virginia Wallace, Asst Atty
Gen., for appellee.
Following a jury trial, appellant Maxxi L. Brooks was
convicted in the Craighead County Circuit Court of committing
a fraudulent insurance act and attempted theft of property.
On appeal, she argues that the circuit court abused its
discretion in denying her motion for a continuance. We
Appellants jury trial was originally scheduled for August
2017. On defense motions for continuances, the trial was
rescheduled for December 2017, then April 2018, and then
August 2018. On August 20, 2018, the defense filed another
motion for a continuance arguing that a defense witness would
not be able to testify until after resolution of his charges
in federal court in November 2018. Appellants attorney also
argued that he needed more time to prepare for trial due to
obligations in another case set for trial at the same time.
The circuit court granted the motion and reset the trial for
December 17, 2018.
December 6, 2018, appellants attorney filed another motion
for a continuance arguing that the defense witness was not
willing to testify until after his sentencing in federal
court in February 2019. On December 13, 2018, appellant filed
a pro se motion for a continuance citing the unavailability
of her witness and requesting time to raise money to hire an
unnamed lawyer who she said was willing to take her case once
she could make a payment. A hearing on the motions was held
on December 17. The circuit court stated that it had already
continued the case for appellant to hire a lawyer and she had
not done so. Noting that the case had been pending for more
than a year, the court ruled that it was not going to
continue the case again for this reason.
the defense witness, appellants counsel argued that the
witness had informed him that he would not testify in
appellants trial before his sentencing in his federal case.
The State argued that the witnesss federal case was a drug
case that had nothing to do with appellants case, and there
was no reason why he could not testify before his sentencing.
The court agreed with the State and noted that the case had
been continued for this witness before with the assurance
that he would be available for this trial date. Accordingly,
the court denied the motions for a continuance, and
appellants jury trial was held the following
day. She was convicted on both counts and
sentenced to one year imprisonment.
appeal, appellant argues that the circuit court abused its
discretion in denying her motions for a continuance to secure
the witness and obtain new counsel. She argues that her
motions did not come at the last minute before trial, that
there was no showing by the State that a continuance would
hinder its case, and that denying the continuance did hinder
review a denial of a motion for continuance under an
abuse-of-discretion standard, and an appellant must
demonstrate that the circuit courts abuse of its discretion
resulted in prejudice amounting to a denial of justice.
Creed v. State, 372 Ark. 221, 273 S.W.3d 494 (2008).
Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure 27.3 provides that a
court shall grant a continuance "only upon a showing of
good cause and only for so long as is necessary, taking into
account not only the request or consent of the prosecuting
attorney or defense counsel, but also the public interest in
prompt disposition of the case."
deciding whether to grant a continuance to secure a ...