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State v. Prince

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit

December 10, 2014

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
DANIEL BRANDON PRINCE

APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF ACADIA, NO. CR 78,921. HONORABLE JOHN D. TRAHAN, DISTRICT JUDGE.

Michael Harson, District Attorney, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana.

Roger P. Hamilton, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana.

Annette Fuller Roach, Louisiana Appellate Project, Lake Charles, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Daniel Brandon Prince.

Court composed of Marc T. Amy, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Billy Howard Ezell, Judges.

OPINION

Page 133

[14-740 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] AMY, Judge.

The State charged the defendant with introducing contraband into a penal institution after the defendant opened a package addressed to him that contained marijuana, among other prohibited items. After an initial mistrial due to a deadlocked jury, a second jury convicted the defendant of attempted introduction of contraband into a penal institution. The trial court thereafter denied the defendant's motion for new trial and imposed a five-year, hard labor sentence. Following habitual offender proceedings, that sentence was subsequently vacated and a twenty-five-year sentence imposed. The defendant appeals. For the following reasons, we reverse the defendant's conviction, enter a judgment of acquittal, reverse the habitual offender adjudication, and vacate and set aside the corresponding sentence.

Factual and Procedural Background

The State alleged that the defendant, Daniel B. Prince, was a detainee at the Acadia Parish Jail when officials received information that he would be receiving a package containing contraband. When the package arrived, with an envelope addressed to the defendant attached to it, a canine alerted to the package. Thereafter, the defendant was called into a room to open the package in front of officials. According to the State, the package was found to contain various items, including a substance identified as marijuana.

The State thereafter filed a bill of information charging the defendant with four counts of unlawful introduction of contraband into a penal institution, violations of La.R.S. 14:402. The charges related to contraband alleged to be marijuana, rolling

Page 134

paper, sexual pictures, and tobacco. However, the trial court subsequently granted a motion to quash, dismissing the latter three charges.

[14-740 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] In July 2012, the remaining charge of unlawful introduction of contraband into a penal institution, marijuana, proceeded to trial before a jury. However, the trial resulted in a mistrial after the first jury became deadlocked. In a subsequent trial, the jury convicted the defendant of ...


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