Jason B. Rogers v. State of Arkansas

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CACR 03-485

OCTOBER 27, 2004


[NO. CR-2001-391




Terry Crabtree, Judge

This is a revocation case. On June 14, 2001, appellant Jason B. Rogers pled guilty to committing the offense of robbery, and he was placed on probation for ten years. Among the conditions of his probation were the requirements that he pay fines and costs, that he lead a law-abiding life, that he not use or possess alcohol or illegal controlled substances, that he submit to drug testing, and that he report to his probation officer.

On February 21, 2002, the State filed a petition to revoke alleging numerous probation violations. After a hearing, the trial court revoked appellant's probation based on findings that appellant had inexcusably failed to pay fines and costs, that he had tested positive for drugs on two occasions, that he had been convicted of DWI, that he had failed to report to his probation officer, and that he had participated in a homicide. Upon revocation, the trial court sentenced appellant to twenty years in prison.

Appellant raises three arguments on appeal.1 He contends that the trial court erred by imposing the twenty-year maximum sentence and by considering the statement of his co-defendant in finding that he had committed the offense of murder. He also argues that his right against double jeopardy was violated. We affirm.

Appellant's initial argument is that the trial court erred in imposing the maximum sentence of twenty years.2 He contends that, in setting the sentence, it was not proper for the court to consider the events that had transpired since he was placed on probation. This argument was not raised below, and thus we agree with the State that this issue is not preserved for appeal. Only illegal sentences, meaning those that are illegal on their face, can be challenged for the first time on appeal, and a sentence such as the one here, that falls within the range permitted by statute, is not illegal on its face. See Ewings v. State, ___ Ark. App. ___, ___ S.W.3d ___ (March 24, 2004). We do not consider arguments challenging the sentence imposed if the appellant failed to voice an objection at the hearing. See Ladwig v. State, 328 Ark. 241, 943 S.W.2d 571 (1997). We also point out that appellant cited no authority whatsoever in support of this argument. An argument that is unsupported by convincing argument or citation to relevant authority need not be addressed on appeal. Fields v. State, 81 Ark. App. 351, 101 S.W.3d 849 (2003). This failure alone would have been sufficient to affirm on this issue. Martin v. State, ___ Ark. ___, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Oct. 2, 2003).

Appellant next argues that the trial court erred in finding that he violated the good-conduct condition of his probation based on the statement his co-defendant gave to the police, which was admitted into evidence, that implicated him in a murder. He contends that the co-defendant's statement was fundamentally unreliable and thus does not provide sufficient evidence to support the revocation. This argument is moot because any ruling by us on this issue would not afford any relief to the appellant.

In order to revoke appellant's probation, the State need only have proved that he committed one violation of the conditions of his probation. Rudd v. State, 76 Ark. App. 121, 61 S.W.3d 885(2001). The revocation of appellant's probation was based on a number of violations. In addition to finding that appellant had failed to lead a law-abiding life by participating in a murder, the court also found that appellant had violated other conditions of his probation by inexcusably failing to pay his fines and court costs, by testing positive for drug usage, by being convicted of DWI, and by failing to report to his probation officer. Appellant has not challenged the trial court's findings with regard to these violations, and each one of them, standing alone, provides a sufficient basis for revocation. Thus, even if appellant's argument concerning this one violation had merit, we would still not reverse in light of appellant's failure to attack the independent grounds which exist that also justify the decision to revoke. See Pugh v. State, 351 Ark. 5, 89 S.W.2d 909 (2002). An issue is moot when any judgment rendered would have no practical legal effect upon an existing legal controversy. Anderson v. State, 352 Ark. 36, 98 S.W.3d 403 (2003). We do not decide moot issues. Walley v. State, 353 Ark. 586, 112 S.W.3d 349 (2003). Since appellant's argument would provide no ground for reversal, it is moot, and we do not address it.

Appellant's last argument is that his right against double jeopardy was violated. He argues that he faced multiple punishments for the same offense because the trial court considered evidence of his participation in a murder in revoking his probation as well as in setting his sentence.3 This argument was not made below either, and arguments may not be raised for the first time on appeal. Walker v. State, 353 Ark. 12, 110 S.W.3d 752 (2003).


Stroud, C.J., and Pittman, J., agree.

1 This is the second time this appeal has been before us. On April 28, 2004, we ordered rebriefing for appellant's counsel to cure abstracting deficiencies.

2 Robbery is a class B felony. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-12-102(b) (Repl. 1997). It carries a sentence of not less than five nor more than twenty years in prison. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-401(3) (Repl. 1997).

3 In making this argument, appellant states that he was acquitted of this murder in a trial held after the revocation hearing. Obviously, this is a fact that is not contained in the record, and we do not consider matters outside of the record on appeal. Miles v. State, 350 Ark. 243, 85 S.W.3d 907 (2002).