D.P. Marshall Jr.
December 5, 2007
5 December 2007
JOHN ABRAHAM STEPHENS,
AN APPEAL FROM THE SEBASTIAN
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
THE HONORABLE JAMES ROBERT
STATE OF ARKANSAS,
MARSCHEWSKI, CIRCUIT JUDGE
In 1995, John Abraham Stephens pleaded nolo contendere to several drug
offenses. The circuit court sentenced him to fifteen years in prison, with twelve and
one half years of that sentence suspended. One condition of Stephens’s suspended
sentence was that he not violate any law. In 2006, the circuit court revoked his
suspended sentence based on his possession of methamphetamine and drug
paraphernalia. The court sentenced Stephens to eighteen months in prison. Stephens
appeals, arguing that a warrantless entry, a search, and a seizure of evidence from his
home violated his constitutional rights.
NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION
Stephens’s alleged drug possession occurred on 12 October 2006. A neighbor
called police about a domestic disturbance at Stephens’s home. The neighbor reported
that Stephens was standing over his wife with a crowbar. When the police arrived,
Mrs. Stephens was leaving in her automobile. The officers went to the door,
announced their presence, and received no response. One of the officers explained at
the revocation hearing that, because they saw playground equipment outside the
residence, they feared there might be other victims—especially children—inside. The
officers called out but no one responded from inside. They then entered the home
without a warrant and handcuffed Stephens, who they found sitting in the living room.
They found the crowbar under a couch cushion and saw illegal drugs and drug
paraphernalia on the mantle.
Mrs. Stephens was stopped by another officer, and she told him that she and her
husband were arguing over the contents of a safe, which was located in the bedroom
The officers contin