On July 8, 2005, Sullivan presented to Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) with her then twenty-three-month-old daughter. The child was unresponsive and suffered from severe brain injury. Sullivan gave the hospital a history that the child had fallen from a bunk bed, which was about five feet high, and sustained the injury. According to Sullivan, the child cried for a while but otherwise seemed fine. Sullivan stated that at some point the child became unresponsive so she decided to bring the child to the hospital. X-rays of the child’s head showed that she suffered extensive brain injury that could not have been caused by a fall from a bunk bed. The child’s injury resembled injuries found in “shaken” babies. Sullivan was arrested on July 10, 2005, in connection with the child’s injury. She was initially charged with first-degree battery by information filed on August 26, 2005. Sullivan was eventually charged by information with the charges she now appeals. Sullivan’s jury trial took place June 22-23, 2010. She was found guilty of the charges against her and sentenced to the Arkansas Department of Correction for eighteen years. She was required to register as a sex offender due to the nature of her conviction. This appeal follows.
For her first point, Sullivan argues that the court erred in denying her motion for directed verdict because the evidence was insufficient to support her convictions. An argument contesting the denial of a directed verdict is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence and, as such, must be addressed before discussion of trial error. The test for determining the sufficiency of the evidence is whether the verdict is supported by substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial. Evidence is substantial if it is of sufficient force and character to compel reasonable minds to reach a conclusion and pass beyond suspicion and conjecture. On appeal, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, considering only that evidence that supports the verdict.
Judge(s): Waymond M. Brown
Jurisdiction: Arkansas Court of Appeals
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Court of Appeals Judge(s)|