Simmons v. State

Citation498 S.W.2d 870,255 Ark. 82
Decision Date17 September 1973
Docket NumberNo. CR,CR
PartiesNoah SIMMONS, Appellant, v. STATE of Arkansas, Appellee. 73--94.
CourtSupreme Court of Arkansas

Harold L. Hall, Public Defender, Little Rock, for appellant.

Jim Guy Tucker, Atty. Gen., by Philip M. Wilson, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

JONES, Justice.

Noah Simmons was convicted of grand larceny and sentenced to 21 years in the penitentiary with 11 years suspended. On appeal to this court, he contends that the evidence was only circumstantial and was insufficient to sustain his conviction. The appellant relies on a rule announced in a number of our decisions that:

'Where circumstantial evidence alone is relied upon to establish the guilt of one charged with crime, such evidence must exclude every other reasonable hypothesis than that of the guilt of the accused.' Logi v. State, 153 Ark. 317, 240 S.W. 400.

See also Duckworth v. State, 83 Ark. 192, 103 S.W. 601; Ayers v. State, 247 Ark. 174, 444 S.W.2d 695; Jones v. State, 246 Ark. 1057, 441 S.W.2d 458.

The appellant contends that the facts and circumstances shown must be absolutely inconsistent with any other rational theory and cites Walker v. State, 174 Ark. 1180, 298 S.W. 20. In Reed v. State, 97 Ark. 156, 133 S.W. 604, we said:

'But mere circumstances of suspicion are not sufficient upon which to base the conviction for a crime, which must be established by substantial evidence to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt.'

In Parker v. State, 252 Ark. 1242, 482 S.W.2d 822, we said:

'On appeal, in criminal cases, as in others, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the appellee, and the judgment affirmed if there is any substantial evidence to support the jury's verdict. Murphy v. State, 248 Ark. 794, 454 S.W.2d 302; Stanley v. State, 248 Ark. 787, 454 S.W.2d 72. A conviction may be had on circumstantial evidence alone if there was substantial evidence to go to the jury because the law makes no distinction between direct evidence of a fact and evidence of circumstances from which the existence of the fact may be inferred. Lancaster v. State, 204 Ark. 176, 161 S.W.2d 201. In light of the foregoing rules we state the evidence which we find sufficient to make a jury question.'

This court, in criminal cases on appeal, views a jury verdict, or a decision of the trial judge sitting as a jury, in the light most favorable to the appellee. We only determine whether there was substantial evidence to support the verdict and, if there is, we must affirm. McCray v. State, 254 Ark. ---, 494 S.W.2d 708; Crow v. State, 248 Ark. 1051, 455 S.W.2d 89. We do not attempt to weigh the evidence, for that is the function of the jury, or the trial judge sitting as a jury, who is in a position to evaluate the testimony of witnesses as they testify from the witness stand.

Now turning to the facts in the case at bar, Simmons was convicted of taking money from a cash register at a Penney store. Lela Smith, a customer in the Penney store, testified that she was standing near the cash register involved and heard the bell on the cash register ring. She said she looked immediately toward the cash register; saw Simmons standing sidewise beside the register, and saw some money in his hand as he left the cash register. She said that one of the clerks called for Simmons to halt, but that he continued to leave the store and walked out the door. She described Simmons as wearing a yellow, or gold, colored shirt, having an 'Afro' hair style, and walking with a limp. This witness also testified that Simmons later came to her house; admitted to her that he had committed the crime and requested her not to testify against him in court as his attorney had advised that her testimony would likely convict him. On cross-examination this witness testified that she did not actually see Simmons take anything out of the cash register and that she did not see what he did with the money he had in his hand, but she did see him leave the store.

Georgia Hixon testified that she was employed at the Penney store and was busily engaged at the back of the store when she heard the bell on a cash register ring. She said she immediately looked toward the cash register and saw Simmons standing by it. She said as Simmons left the cash register, she walked toward him and told him to stop but that he just walked out of the store. She said that Simmons had on a yellow, or gold, colored shirt and walked with a limp, and that she saw no one else in the store dressed in that manner or limp when they walked.

Charles Smith testified that he was employed at the Penney store on the day in question; that Mrs. Hixon called over to him and advised him that somebody had tapped the cash register till, and that it was a young man in a yellow shirt. He said he immediately went outside and overtook Simmons. He said Simmons was the only person he saw who had on a yellow, or gold, shirt. He said he told Simmons what Mrs. Hixon had said and that Simmons told him another young man had gotten the money; that he, Simmons, saw the other man going out the door and that he had on a yellow shirt. He testified that Simmons told him the other individual who had taken the money from the cash register threw it behind the watch counter. On cross-examination Mr. Smith said that the only reason he stopped Simmons was that he was the only one on the street who had on a yellow...

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11 cases
  • Hankins v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • 18 Noviembre 1981
    ...386, 476 P.2d 841 (1970); Arkansas, Murray v. State, 249 Ark. 887, 462 S.W.2d 438 (1971); (But see concurring opinion in Simmons v. State, 255 Ark. 82, 498 S.W.2d 870); Colorado, People v. Bennett, 183 Colo. 125, 515 P.2d 466 (1970); Delaware, Henry v. State, 298 A.2d 327 (1972); Hawaii, St......
  • Williams v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • 2 Junio 1975
    ...a fact may be inferred. Lancaster v. State, 204 Ark. 176, 161 S.W.2d 201; Parker v. State, 252 Ark. 1242, 482 S.W.2d 822; Simmons v. State, 255 Ark. 82, 498 S.W.2d 870. The argument made by appellant here has been rejected by this court many times. Possession of property recently stolen fro......
  • Neal v. State, CR
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • 22 Diciembre 1975
    ....... . .' The jury is the trier of the facts and it is solely within its function and province to resolve the conflicting evidence. Simmons v. State, 255 Ark. 82, 498 S.W.2d 870 (1973); and Clark v. State, 246 Ark. 1151, 442 S.W.2d 225 (1969). In the case at bar the state's evidence was amply sufficient to justify the jury's finding that no mitigating circumstances existed.         Appellant next contends that the court erred ......
  • In the Interest of Cg v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 18 Febrero 2011
    ...We have no compunction, however, in joining other courts which have applied these concepts in trials to the court. Simmons v. State, 255 Ark. 82, 498 S.W.2d 870 (1973); People v. Johnson, 276 Cal.App.2d 232, 80 Cal.Rptr. 683 (1969). The function of the finder of fact in cases tried to a cou......
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