Mark McArthur v. State of Arkansas

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APRIL 28, 2004





Karen R. Baker, Judge

A Mississippi County jury convicted appellant, Mark McArthur, of possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and sentenced him to fines totaling $10,000 and ten years in prison. On appeal, he asserts that the trial court erred when it refused to grant appellant's motion for a directed verdict, specifically, as the methamphetamine found in the home and in the vehicle were not in the actual or constructive possession or control of appellant. We find no error and affirm.

On January 3, 2002, the Osceola Police Department executed a search warrant of a house located at 601 West Ford St. in Osceola. Pursuant to the warrant, they were searching for narcotics when they discovered appellant hiding in the crawl space of the attic. Appellant was the house's sole occupant at the time of the search. After escorting him down from the attic, the police took him into the living room of the house to pat him down. During the pat down, they noticed a large bulge in his right front pocket. Inside the pocket, they found $1,159.00, a baggie containing some white powder, and a small piece of aluminum foil. The white powder was subsequently determined to be .49 grams of methamphetamine, and the aluminum foil contained .008 grams of methamphetamine residue on it.

Prior to finding appellant hiding in the attic with the contraband and a large sum of cash on him, the police entered the house and noticed a strong smell of ether, which they associated with the manufacturing of methamphetamine. As they began their search, they found what was described as "a packaging center" located on a table at the foot of a bed in one of the bedrooms. On the table, police found digital scales, a hand-held butane torch, a light bulb with brown burned residue inside it, baggies, a box of Reynolds wrap, a glass pipe with brown/black residue which tested positive for methamphetamine, pieces of burned aluminum foil, a small red ashtray that had rolled cigarettes that had been burned inside, and a little clip for holding cigarettes. On the same table, the police found two pieces of mail in appellant's name - a telephone bill and a pay stub that listed the same address of the house being searched as the mailing address. In the same bedroom, they found two pictures showing appellant and the owner of the house together in the bedroom where the drugs and paraphernalia were found displayed on a shelf to the left of the table. On the same shelf, an engraved display of their two names together was also found. All of this corroborated information from police surveillance that appellant had been living at the residence. On the shelf with the pictures, the police found a scanner that was tuned to the frequency used by the Osceola Police Department.

Underneath the mattress of the bed, located immediately adjacent to the table where the packaging center was found, the police found a black pouch containing three baggies. Two of the baggies contained a brown powder and the third contained a white powder. These three baggies proved to contain over sixteen grams of methamphetamine, according to the State Crime Lab. A small vial typical of those often used for packaging methamphetamine, a hollowed out pen body, and disposable alcohol pads were also found beneath the mattress, along with the pouch of methamphetamine. Roughly ten feet from the end of the bed, another bag was found that contained syringes. Testimony indicated that all of the items found in the bedroom were associated with the use of manufacturing of methamphetamine. Other items were also found in and around the residence.

Appellant's brief sets forth the relevant law concerning possession of contraband; however, he presents no argument. Appellant makes no attempt to apply the law to the facts of this case to support his challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Appellate courts will not review bare allegations of trial court error that are unsupported by convincing argument. See McFarland v. State, 337 Ark. 386, 989 S.W.2d 899 (1999).

On the facts of this case, and given appellant's lack of convincing argument, we find no merit to appellant's claim that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction, and accordingly affirm.

Hart and Vaught, JJ., agree.