Jones v. State, CR

Decision Date15 November 1982
Docket NumberNo. CR,CR
Citation277 Ark. 345,641 S.W.2d 717
PartiesRobert L. JONES, Appellant, v. STATE of Arkansas, Appellee. 82-58.
CourtArkansas Supreme Court

John H. Bradley, Deputy Public Defender, Blytheville, for appellant.

Steve Clark, Atty. Gen. by Theodore Holder, Asst. Atty. Gen., Little Rock, for appellee.

HOLT, Justice.

The appellant was convicted by a jury of aggravated robbery (Ark.Stat.Ann. § 41-2102 [Repl.1977] ) and sentenced to forty years' imprisonment. He raises five points on appeal.

Appellant testified and freely admitted his guilt before the jury. He argues that the trial court erred in limiting his testimony which was offered to mitigate the possible punishment. At an in camera hearing, the court had ruled that evidence concerning appellant's personal situation and circumstances in life was inadmissible as not being relevant. However, when the defendant took the witness stand, the court did allow him to testify that he was a factory worker and had been fired, divorced, the father of two children with whom he did not live, had served in the U.S. Marines and was a Vietnam veteran with an honorable discharge and four medals. The court did not permit the appellant to further testify, which was proffered, that he and his wife had separated two months before the alleged offense; it was during the Christmas holidays; he was having trouble seeing his children and had in-law problems; he had lost his home inasmuch as he could not make the payments and neither was he able to pay a lot of bills. However, the record reflects that the arresting officer, on cross-examination, testified that the appellant told him about his problems with his wife and in-laws and that he needed money.

The admissibility of this evidence depends upon whether it is relevant. Relevancy of evidence is within the trial court's discretion and we will not reverse absent a showing of abuse of discretion. Rule 401, Uniform Rules of Evidence, Ark.Stat.Ann. § 28-1001 (Repl.1979); Hamblin v. State, 268 Ark. 497, 597 S.W.2d 589 (1980); and Ford v. State, 276 Ark. 98, 633 S.W.2d 3 (1982). Matters of mitigation of punishment are relevant and appropriate, within the court's discretion, for a jury's consideration in arriving at punishment. In the circumstances, in view of the evidence that was permitted by the trial court bearing on appellant's personal situation, we cannot say that the court abused his discretionary authority in the restriction he placed upon the proffered evidence.

The appellant insists that the trial court erred in not allowing the defendant to explain his prior criminal convictions to the jury. The appellant took the stand to offer testimony as to his good character and for the purpose of mitigating his punishment. He readily admitted that he had been convicted of three previous criminal violations. With respect to a conviction of burglary and grand larceny, appellant's counsel asked: "Did you receive a five year suspended sentence?" The prosecutor's objection was sustained, and the jury was admonished to disregard the sentence but not the conviction. The trial court also sustained an objection that prevented the appellant from explaining a kidnapping charge to which the appellant had pleaded guilty in 1975. His testimony was proffered that he had forced a woman into his car but did not manhandle her, and he had pleaded guilty on the advice of the public defender, who told him it was not really kidnapping.

We have held that no reversible error was committed where the trial court permitted a state's witness to explain the circumstances of an admitted crime, which conviction was used by the defense to impeach his credibility as a witness. The reasoning is that since a conviction affects the witness' credibility, then it is not error to allow an explanation by the witness. Hopper v. State, 151 Ark. 299, 236 S.W. 595 (1922). See also Ballew v. State, 246 Ark. 1191, 441 S.W.2d 453 (1969). However, we also have held that no reversible error was committed where a defendant took the stand, was cross-examined with respect to a previous trial for homicide, and was restricted by the trial...

To continue reading

Request your trial
8 cases
  • Leaks v. State
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • December 2, 1999
    ...523 (1995); Goins v. State, 318 Ark. 689, 890 S.W.2d 602 (1995); Brown v. State, 316 Ark. 724, 875 S.W.2d 828 (1994); Jones v. State, 277 Ark. 345, 641 S.W.2d 717 (1982). We, therefore, hold that an objection to remarks made during closing argument is sufficient to preserve the argument for......
  • Rush v. State
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • April 15, 1996
    ...the effect that a defendant's explanation concerning a prior offense should not be used to retry the earlier case. See Jones v. State, 277 Ark. 345, 641 S.W.2d 717 (1982). That, of course, is the danger associated with the strategy followed by the State in the case before us. The net effect......
  • Biniores v. State
    • United States
    • Arkansas Court of Appeals
    • December 18, 1985
    ... ... Substantial evidence must do more than merely create a suspicion; it must be of sufficient force and character so as to force the mind beyond conjecture and compel a conclusion one way or the other with reasonable certainty. Harris, 284 Ark. at 252, 681 S.W.2d 334; Jones v. State, 11 Ark.App. 129, 668 S.W.2d 30 (1984) ...         Manslaughter is committed if, among other things, a person ... causes the death of another person under circumstances that would be murder, except that he causes the death under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for ... ...
  • Lee v. State, CR
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • January 17, 1989
    ...the defense to explore further what the character witness knew? It was a discretionary decision by the judge. In Jones v. State, 277 Ark. 345, 641 S.W.2d 717 (1982), we dealt with a defendant who wanted to explain the circumstances of a prior conviction. We made this When a witness, as here......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT