Janie Baker v. State of Arkansas

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May 4, 2005





John Mauzy Pittman, Chief Judge

The appellant in this criminal case was charged with aggravated robbery of Fair Park Grocery and misdemeanor theft of property; by separate information, she was additionally charged with robbery of an Americash office and theft of property. After a jury trial, she was convicted of aggravated robbery and misdemeanor theft of property, and was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. The trial judge found appellant guilty of the other robbery and theft of property on the basis of the evidence presented at the jury trial, and sentenced her to ten years' imprisonment to be served concurrently with the term of imprisonment imposed as a result of the jury trial. On appeal, appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support her convictions of aggravated robbery, robbery, and theft of property. We find no error, and we affirm.

When the sufficiency of the evidence is challenged on appeal, the test is whether there is substantial evidence to support the verdict; substantial evidence is evidence that is of sufficient force and character that it will, with reasonable certainty, compel a conclusion one way or another. Britt v. State, 83 Ark. App. 117, 118 S.W.3d 140 (2003). In determining whether the evidence is substantial, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, considering only the evidence that supports the verdict. Id.

A person commits robbery if, with the purpose of committing a felony or misdemeanor theft, he employs or threatens to immediately employ physical force upon another. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-12-102(a) (Repl. 1997). Aggravated robbery is committed when a person commits the offense of robbery and is armed with a deadly weapon or represents by word or conduct that he is so armed. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-12-103(a)(1) (Repl. 1997). Here, there was evidence that appellant entered the Fair Park Grocery and told the proprietor "I'm robbing you." Appellant was not armed but stated that "two black guys" outside were armed with a gun, that they wanted to rob the proprietor, that they were "going to bring their gun," and that the proprietor should give appellant the money because "they [are] coming in." The proprietor gave her the money because he was frightened and did not know what to do.

Appellant argues that the evidence is insufficient to prove aggravated robbery because there is no evidence that she herself employed any force or threatened to personally harm the victims. This argument is unavailing. Appellant admitted that she made the demands for money and further stated that there were in fact men ready to employ violence, but she contended that she was coerced. However, the factfinders were not required to credit her testimony regarding coercion and reasonably could have found that she acted as a willing accomplice for men waiting outside the establishments that were robbed. The situation is akin to that presented in Crutchfield v. State, 306 Ark. 97, 812 S.W.2d 459 (1991), where our supreme court said:

Appellant also contends that there was no evidence introduced to show that he was armed with a weapon. We reject this contention since the evidence established that appellant's companion was armed with a pistol and beat Barnes in the head with it. Although appellant never actually possessed the gun, he was liable as an accomplice because he assisted and actively participated in the crime.

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-403(a)(2) (1987) provides:

A person is an accomplice of another person in the commission of an offense if, with the purpose of promoting or facilitating the commission of an offense, he:

. . .

(2) Aids, agrees to aid, or attempts to aid the other person in planning or committing it.

When two persons assist one another in the commission of a crime, each is an accomplice and criminally liable for the conduct of both. A participant cannot disclaim responsibility because he did not personally take part in every act that went to make up the crime as a whole. Parker v. State, 265 Ark. 315, 325, 578 S.W.2d 206, 212 (1979).

Crutchfield v. State, 306 Ark. at 100, 812 S.W.2d at 460-61.

Appellant also argues that there is insufficient evidence to support her convictions of theft of property and robbery of the Americash office. We cannot address this argument because it is made for the first time on appeal. In order to preserve the issue of evidentiary sufficiency for appeal, appellant was required to move for dismissal at the close of the evidence and to specifically state the respect in which the evidence was deficient; failure to do so constitutes a waiver of any question pertaining to the sufficiency of the evidence. Ark. R. Crim. P. 33.1(b) and (c); see McClina v. State, 354 Ark. 384, 123 S.W.3d 883 (2003). No such motion was made with respect to these offenses.


Robbins and Neal, JJ., agree.