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State v. Gaubert

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 16, 2014

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
TRAVIS GAUBERT

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 13-3040, DIVISIONS" HONORABLE STEPHEN D. ENRIGHT, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

PAUL D. CONNICK, JR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Parish of Jefferson TERRY M. BOUDREAUX ANDREA F. LONG JODY J. FORTUNATO ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE

JUAN C. LABADIE ATTORNEY AT LAW COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT

Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Marc E. Johnson, and Hans J. Liljeberg

MARC E. JOHNSON JUDGE

Defendant, Travis Gaubert, appeals his conviction and sentence for possession with intent to distribute marijuana from the 24th Judicial District Court, Division "N". For the following reasons, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Because Defendant pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana, the following facts are taken from the evidence submitted during the pre-trial hearings.

The City of Westwego Police Department received complaints that narcotics were being sold at 366 Avenue A in Westwego, Louisiana. As a result of the complaints, Detective Edward Saddler of the Special Investigations Unit performed surveillance of the residence. After arranging a controlled purchase of illegal drugs at the residence, Det. Saddler applied for a search and seizure warrant on March 11, 2013.

According to the search and seizure warrant application affidavit, Det. Saddler received information from a confidential informant ("CI") that Defendant resided at the 366 Avenue A residence. Det. Saddler then met with a CI at a predetermined location to engage in a controlled purchase of narcotics. Det. Saddler conducted a pat down of the CI and searched his vehicle for any money or illegal narcotics in the CI's possession. After ensuring the CI had no money or drugs, Det. Saddler gave the CI $50.00 of official Westwego Police Department funds for the purpose of attempting to purchase marijuana from the 366 Avenue A address.

The CI informed Det. Saddler that he would be using an "unwitting"—a third-person unofficially involved in the controlled buy—to complete the drug transaction. As the CI went to pick up the unwitting for the transaction, another detective, Detective Boudreaux, [1] followed the CI, while Det. Saddler continued his surveillance of the residence. During his surveillance, Det. Saddler observed three vehicles arrive at the residence, and the occupants of the vehicles entered the house for two to three minutes then left. Det. Saddler subsequently observed the CI and the unwitting arrive at the residence. The unwitting entered the house for two minutes then left with the CI. Det. Boudreaux followed the CI to a pre-determined location, where Det. Boudreaux recovered a green leafy substance from the CI. The substance field-tested positive for marijuana.

On the same date the search and seizure warrant application was filed, the criminal commissioner granted a warrant for 366 Avenue A. While executing the warrant, one scale, two grinders, one round tine, 169 grams of marijuana, and $185.00 were retrieved. Defendant was arrested on the scene.

On June 13, 2013, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office filed a bill of information charging Defendant with one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, a violation of La. R.S. 40:966.A. At the arraignment, Defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge, and the case was scheduled to proceed to trial.

On November 13, 2013, prior to the start of the trial, Defendant made oral motions to suppress evidence and to suppress any inculpatory statements he made, both of which were denied. Immediately after the denial of his motions, Defendant changed his plea to guilty pursuant to State v. Crosby.[2] On that same date, Defendant was sentenced to five years at hard labor with credit for time served. The trial court then suspended Defendant's sentence and placed him on active probation for a period of three years. On November 21, ...


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