NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION
ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS
D.P. MARSHALL JR., Judge
12 September 2007
PAUL LAMONT WARDLOW, AN APPEAL FROM THE
APPELLANT FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, THE HONORABLE CHARLES
APPELLEE EDWARD CLAWSON, JR., JUDGE
After stopping Paul Wardlow for driving a Kia Sportage with expired tags,
police discovered that he had warrants out for his arrest. The police arrested him and
performed an inventory search of the vehicle. During the search, the officers found
a .22 caliber rifle in plain view behind the driver’s seat. A jury later convicted
Wardlow of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-103
Wardlow first challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his
conviction. He argues that, although he was the only person in the vehicle, neither
it nor the rifle belonged to him. He also argues that he could not see the gun while
he was driving.
To convict Wardlow, the State had to prove that he constructively possessed
the rifle by exercising care, control, and management over it. Polk v. State, 348 Ark.
446, 452, 73 S.W.3d 609, 613–14 (2002). A police officer testified that the gun was
in plain view behind the driver’s seat and within easy reach from where Wardlow was
sitting in this small vehicle. Another officer testified that Wardlow told him that he
(Wardlow) saw the rifle in the SUV, but did not remove the .22 because it did not
belong to him. Viewing the record in the light most favorabl