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State v. Handy

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

December 10, 2014

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
ALVIN HANDY

APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 502-880, SECTION " H" . Honorable Camille Buras, Judge.

Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr., District Attorney, Donna Andrieu, Assistanat District Attorney, Chief of Appeals, Christopher J. Ponoroff, Assistant District Attorney, Parish of Orleans, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE/STATE OF LOUISIANA.

Holli Herrle-Castillo, LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT, Marrero, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.

(Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Dennis R. Bagneris, Sr., Judge Max N. Tobias, Jr.).

OPINION

Page 786

[2014-1015 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] Max N. Tobias, Jr., Judge.

On 23 December 2010, the defendant, Alvin Handy (" Handy" ), and Michael Robinson (" Robinson" ) were charged by bill of information with one count of simple burglary, a violation of La. R.S. 14:62.[1] The bill of information alleges that on 11November 2010, Handy and Robinson committed " simple burglary of a structure located at 301 North Carrollton, belonging to Joan Berenson." In February of 2011, Handy and Robinson appeared for arraignment and entered into pleas of not guilty.[2]

Subsequently, both Handy and Robinson filed pre-trial motions to suppress evidence, to suppress statement, to suppress identification, and for a preliminary hearing. On 17 June 2011, the trial court found probable cause to substantiate the charges and denied the motions to suppress.[3]

On 24 January 2012, the trial court found Robinson incompetent to stand trial and continued the matter without date. Handy proceeded to trial (by jury) on 13

Page 787

February 2012, after which the jury unanimously found him guilty as charged.

[2014-1015 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] Sentencing was scheduled for 21 May 2012. On the date of the sentencing hearing, Handy filed a motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal, and the state filed a multiple offender bill charging Handy as a triple offender.[4] After the trial court denied Handy's motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal, he pled guilty to the triple offender bill and was sentenced to fifteen years at hard labor, to run concurrently with any other sentence, with credit for time served. On 12 June 2014, Handy filed a motion for appeal and designation of record.[5]

STATEMENT OF FACTS

The state called two witnesses to testify at trial: the investigating officer, Officer Christopher Johnson, and the victim, Joan Berenson (" Berenson" ). The defense did not call any witnesses.

Officer Christopher Johnson of the New Orleans Police Department Third District Task Force testified that on 11 November 2010, he was inside his parked vehicle when he observed a black male subject, identified in the record as Robinson, carry copper wiring from the back door of a former daiquiri shop on the corner of North Carrollton Avenue and Bienville Street.[6] Officer Johnson then [2014-1015 La.App. 4 Cir. 3] saw Robinson walk to a truck, tie some of the wire to it, and then strip the wire with a box cutter. He stated that he decided to investigate because the building was secured and boarded up, and no one should have been inside the property. Officer Johnson then approached Robinson, asked him to sit down, and began to question him. While Officer Johnson was speaking with Robinson, he also observed a second man, identified in open court as Handy, walking out of the rear door of the building, carrying iron tubing from the back of the toilet in one hand and some copper tubing in his other hand. He then stopped Handy and instructed him to sit next to Robinson. Officer Johnson testified that he asked the subjects if they were doing work in the property, and they replied that they were not.

Officer Johnson stated that he learned that the owner of the building was Berenson from a passerby and attempted to contact her, but was unsuccessful at the time. He then took photographs at the scene and completed field interview cards on each of the subjects. Officer Johnson identified the field interview cards and the photographs at trial, which were later offered into evidence. The photographs included: a picture of the truck parked outside the ...


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