An Arkansas state appeals court has affirmed the ruling of a trial court, finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction of a man for scalping tickets at a college football game.
Shortly before the kickoff of the November 24, 2006 Arkansas-LSU football game, Walter King was arrested by the Little Rock Police Department Vice Squad near War Memorial Stadium. After the arrest, he was charged with two counts of ticket scalping. King was tried in a bench trial in Pulaski County Circuit Court on appeal of his conviction in Little Rock District Court.
The court recapped the testimony from the hearing before the circuit court as follows: “Officer Hall testified that he was working undercover at the game and was targeting ticket scalpers. He was given information that King was possibly engaged in ticket scalping. Officer Hall approached King, who was standing west of the stadium near Markham Street. King had a map of the stadium in his left hand and was holding up tickets in his right hand. Officer Hall asked King the price of the tickets, and King responded that the tickets were not for sale. King said that he was selling the map for $500 and that the tickets came with the purchase of the map. Officer Hall testified that he took the tickets from King, inspected them, saw that the face value of each ticket was $35, and handed them back to King. Officer Hall agreed to purchase the tickets and ‘gave a nod’ to officers who were standing nearby. The officers approached King and took the tickets from him. Officer Hall testified that the map was a seating chart of the stadium that had been printed on November 22, 2006 from the Internet. On cross-examination, Officer Hall testified that he personally did not take the map and tickets from King, and he did not see the other officers take the items. Rather, when the other officers approached King, Officer Hall simply ‘walked off.’”
The fact that Hall was not the one to take possession of the tickets seemed to be one of the lynchpins for the appeal. After taking King to the command post, one of the detectives stored the tickets and the map at the northwest sub-station property room. At that point of the case, the State introduced Exhibits one, two, and three, which consisted of the two football tickets and the map of the stadium.
King objected to the introduction of the tickets based on an improper identification and chain of custody. In response to King’s objection to the chain of custody, the detective that stored the evidence testified further that the tickets and map were put into an envelope marked with the incident number. King again objected based on chain of custody; however, the trial court overruled the objection.
The fact that the detective identified the two tickets at trial and testified that the tickets introduced into evidence were the actual tickets confiscated from King on November 24 seemed to solidify the case against King, according to the court.
“Furthermore, the envelope in which the tickets were placed was marked with an incident number matching that of the information report,” it wrote. “We cannot say that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing the introduction of the evidence.”
Walter Anthony King v. State of Arkansas; Ct. App. Ark, Div. 2; No. CACR08-569, 2008 Ark. App. LEXIS 794; 11/19/08