The Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday overturned the conviction of a felon who had been accused of illegally possessing a handgun when police arrived at a house to investigate a domestic disturbance in early 2017.
Allen Bradley, a 30-year-old from Little Rock, had his 20-year sentence for felon-in-possession of a firearm charge overturned by a three-judge appeals court panel, though he still has to serve the remainder of an earlier three-year sentence for forgery, according to prison records.
Bradley's attorney, Jimmy Morris Jr., said Wednesday that the appellate judges' ruling should make Bradley parole eligible once his sentence is corrected on remand to the circuit court.
Morris praised the ruling, saying, "I don't think the evidence showed Mr. Bradley maintained possession of a firearm."
According to trial testimony included in the court records, police were called to respond to a report of a domestic disturbance at a home in Little Rock, where a woman alleged that Bradley had struck her sister with a handgun. When police arrived, they arrested Bradley in the backyard of the home.
While searching the yard, police discovered a Glock handgun hidden inside a cardboard box that was located inside or around a metal shed, about 20 yards from where Bradley was arrested, according to police testimony.
Bradley denied that the gun was his, and police did not test it for fingerprints.
Police charged Bradley with felony aggravated assault after two women at the house alleged that he had hit them with the gun or with his fists. Bradley, who had previously been convicted of battery, aggravated assault and drug offenses, was also charged with illegally possessing a firearm.
At a bench trial, neither of the women showed up to testify, and Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen dismissed the assault and related charges, but sentenced Bradley to 20 years on the weapons charge.
Writing for the majority, Court of Appeals Judge Brandon Harrison found that Bradley's conviction was made in error.
"The State presented no forensic evidence, like a fingerprint analysis, to link Bradley to either the gun or the ammunition. No proof regarding to whom the gun was originally sold was provided either," Harrison wrote, saying that nothing beyond "speculation and conjecture" could link Bradley to the gun.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office fought to uphold Bradley's conviction. On Wednesday, Rutledge's spokesman said in a statement that the attorney general was disappointed in the decision and was in the process of reviewing her options.
According to online prison records, Bradley is incarcerated at the Cummins Unit in Grady.
Metro on 12/06/2018
Print Headline: Appeals court overturns gun conviction