BY LEANN DILBECK –
Last week, Chief Judge Robert J. Gladwin of the Arkansas Court of Appeals upheld a conviction and sentencing of a Polk County jury in the case of Joe King, II. King was convicted April 18, 2013 in Polk County Circuit Court of felony possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia [ACA 5-64-443(c)] and felony possession of a Schedule II controlled substance – methamphetamine – with the purpose to deliver [ACA 5-64-420(a)(2)] and sentenced to 20 years on each count to be served consecutively for a total of 40 years.
King argued in his appeal that the circuit court erred by denying his motions for 1.) a psychological evaluation, 2.) the suppression of evidence, and 3.) directed verdict with respect to possession of methamphetamine with the purpose to deliver of which the Court of Appeals denied his appeal.
Regarding King’s claims of failure to sufficiently establish intent to deliver, the appeal stated, “these factors cannot be absolute evidence to prove purpose of delivery and that the jury’s findings regarding his intent in this case were based on speculation.” Gladwin’s opinion cited sworn testimony given by Deputy Ronnie Richardson and Officer Jeff Fields of evidence discovered on King’s person and in his residence in 2012. Gladwin concluded that the prosecution successfully presented evidence at trial to support the statutory factors required to prove intent to deliver: “1.) Appellant (King) possessed the means to weigh, separate, and package the methamphetamine; 2.) the methamphetamine was separated and packaged in a manner to facilitate delivery; 3.) appellant (King) was holding a rifle when police arrived at his home; and 4.) appellant (King) also possessed four other controlled substances, including marijuana and pills found by the officers.”
King also cited a suicide attempt prior to trial as grounds for a psychological evaluation but Gladwin cited dialogue between King’s trial attorney, Randy Rainwater, and the presiding Circuit Judge J.W. Looney. King agreed to suffering from depression and Looney ruled that “depression in and of itself doesn’t relate to the competency to stand trial,” of which, Gladwin concluded. “Here, appellant, did not file any notice with circuit court regarding his mental state or how it might affect his trial, nor did he provide the court with any insight into why a mental evaluation was needed. Accordingly, we hold that the circuit court’s decision to deny appellant’s request for a psychological evaluation was not clearly erroneous.”
King also argued in his appeal Looney’s denial of Rainwater’s motion to suppress evidence. King argued that officers kept him on a small porch in front of his single-wide trailer after greeting officers while holding a rifle. His gun was taken away from him, and the officers would not allow him to go back into his house. He claims that he was under an “effective arrest” at the time of questioning and that he should have been read his Miranda rights at that time.
In Gladwin’s issued opinion, he cited Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure that states: “an officer present in any place may, in the performance of his duties, stop and detain any person who he reasonably suspects is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a felony or a misdemeanor involving danger of forcible injury to persons or of appropriation of or damage to property, if such action is reasonably necessary either to obtain or verify the identification of the person or to determine the lawfulness of his conduct.”
Gladwin went on to say that, “because the appellant met the officers on his front porch with a rifle, Officer Fields reasonably detained and frisked him to ensure the officers’ safety. The contraband was discovered when, after the valid frisk, appellant voluntarily pulled the contraband out of his pocket and showed it to Fields.” Therefore, the Court of Appeals upholds the circuit courts ruling to deny the motion to suppress evidence.
King will continue to remain in the Department of Corrections.
At the time of King’s conviction, Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner said, “I believe jurors sent a very clear and bold statement in this case that they do not want drug dealers in their community.”