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Flowers v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

January 15, 2020

ANDRE LEONARD FLOWERS, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 26CR-17-601. HONORABLE MARCIA R. HEARNSBERGER, JUDGE.

         COUNSEL:

          King Law Group PLLC, by: Natalie S. King, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Brad Newman, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

           WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge. GRUBER, C.J., and KLAPPENBACH, J., agree.

          OPINION

Page 489

         WAYMOND M. BROWN, Judge

          A Garland County Circuit Court jury found appellant Andre Flowers guilty of aggravated residential burglary and battery in the first degree. He was sentenced as a habitual offender to a total of ninety years' imprisonment and fined $15,000. Appellant's counsel has filed a motion to withdraw and a no-merit brief pursuant to Anders v. California [1] and Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 4-3(k) ,[2] stating that there are no meritorious grounds to support an appeal. The clerk of this court provided appellant with a copy of counsel's brief and motion and notified appellant of his right to file pro se points for reversal. Appellant has filed pro se points for reversal, and the State has filed a response. We affirm appellant's convictions and grant counsel's motion to withdraw.

          A request to be relieved as counsel on the ground that the appeal is wholly without merit shall be accompanied by a brief including an abstract and addendum.[3] The brief shall contain an argument section that consists of a list of all rulings adverse to the defendant made by the trial court with an explanation as to why each adverse ruling is not a meritorious ground for reversal.[4] It is imperative that counsel follow the appropriate procedure when filing a motion to withdraw as counsel.[5] In

Page 490

furtherance of the goal of protecting constitutional rights, it is both the duty of counsel and of this court to perform a full examination of the proceedings as a whole to decide if an appeal would be wholly frivolous.[6]

          The main unfavorable ruling against appellant is the court's denial of his directed-verdict motions. This court treats a motion for a directed verdict as a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence.[7] The test for determining sufficiency of the evidence is whether the verdict is supported by substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial; substantial evidence is evidence forceful enough to compel a conclusion one way or the other beyond suspicion or conjecture.[8] Evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the State; only evidence that supports a verdict is considered. [9]

          Appellant was found guilty of aggravated residential burglary. He was tried under the theory of accomplice liability— when two or more person assist one another in the commission of a crime, each is an accomplice and criminally liable for the conduct of both. Arkansas makes no distinction between the criminal liability of a principal and an accomplice.[10] Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-39-204[11] provides:

(a) A person commits aggravated residential burglary if he or she commits residential burglary as defined in ยง 5-39-201 of a residential occupiable structure ...

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