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State v. Williams

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

December 17, 2014

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
CHADRICK WILLIAMS

APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 485-182, SECTION " C" . Honorable Benedict J. Willard, Judge.

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

Christopher A. Aberle, LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT, Mandeville, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, CHADRICK WILLIAMS.

(Court composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Rosemary Ledet). LOVE, J., DISSENTS AND ASSIGNS REASONS.

OPINION

[2014-0477 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] Rosemary Ledet, Judge.

This is a criminal appeal. The State of Louisiana appeals the district court's ruling granting the motion to quash filed by the defendant, Chadrick Williams. The sole issue the State raises on appeal is whether the trial court abused its discretion in granting the motion to quash. Answering that question in the affirmative, we reverse and remand.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

On January 22, 2009, Mr. Williams was arrested.[1] On the following day, he was released on his own recognizance after posting a $15,000 bond. On April 17, 2009, the State filed a bill of information charging Mr. Williams with one count of theft over five hundred dollars, a violation of La. R. S.14:67.[2] On May 11, 2009, [2014-0477 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] Mr.

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Williams failed to appear; and the district court reset his arraignment to June 3, 2009. On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear; and the district court granted him a continuance and sent notice to his attorney. On July 7, 2009, Mr. Williams failed to appear for arraignment; and the district court granted him a continuance. The court was supplied with Mr. Williams's address--SPC Chadrick Williams, 6537-2 Bragg Place, Fort Riley, Kansas 66442; the district court directed the clerk's office to send Mr. Williams' future notices to that address.

On July 27, 2009, Mr. Williams appeared, accompanied by counsel, for arraignment and pled not guilty. A restitution hearing was set for August 21, 2009. On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear for the restitution hearing; and his counsel waived his presence. On both September 17, 2009 and October 22, 2009, Mr. Williams failed to appear for pretrial hearings; on both dates, his counsel waived his presence. Various pretrial motions were filed--motions to suppress evidence and statements, for discovery and inspection, and for exculpatory material. The district court set a motions hearing and a trial for December 2, 2009. On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear and his appearance was waived on a defense motion. After granting a defense continuance, the district court reset the hearing for January 29, 2010. On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear. The district court granted a defense continuance and reset the hearing for February 11, 2010. On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear; and his counsel waived his presence. The hearing was reset to March 24, 2010.

[2014-0477 La.App. 4 Cir. 3] On March 24, 2010, Mr. Williams appeared, accompanied by counsel, for the hearing. The district court, however, continued the hearing because of a trial in progress; the hearing was reset for May 19, 2010. On May 13, 2010, defense counsel filed in the clerk's office a motion to continue; and on May 17, 2010, defense counsel appeared in court without Mr. Williams and filed in open court a motion to continue. The matter was continued to May 19, 2010. On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear. The hearing was continued pursuant to the defense motion; and it was reset for June 16, 2010.

On June 16, 2010, the hearing was continued on the defense motion; and defense counsel filed an oral motion to withdraw as counsel of record, which was granted. A hearing to determine counsel was set for July 9, 2010. On that date, Mr. Williams appeared in court without an attorney; he informed the court that he was in the military. The hearing on the motions was set for August 17, 2010. On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear; the district court noted that Mr. Williams was in the military and reset the matter for August 20, 2010.

On August 20, 2010, Mr. Williams failed to appear for the discovery hearing. The State filed an answer to Mr. Williams' discovery motions. The hearing on the discovery motions was reset for September 10, 2010. On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear; the district court deemed his motions waived and set the trial for October 28, 2010. When Mr. Williams failed to appear for trial, the district court issued an alias capias without bond and set a pretrial conference for November 30,

Page 1287

2010. On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear; and the district [2014-0477 La.App. 4 Cir. 4] court was advised that Mr. Williams was serving in the military. The pretrial conference was reset for December 10, 2010. On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear; and the district court was advised that Mr. Williams was " said to be in Iraq." The pretrial conference was reset for January 4, 2011.[3] On that date, Mr. Williams failed to appear for the pretrial conference; and it was noted that he was in the military. Thereafter, Mr. Williams failed to appear on the following dates for scheduled court appearances: February 4, 2011; March 15, 2011; March 22, 2011; April 11, 2011; June 3, 2011; July 22, 2011; and September 22, 2011.

On October 4, 2011, defense counsel, Sandra Allen-Borne, who had withdrawn from the case on June 16, 2010, re-enrolled and waived Mr. Williams' presence. Defense counsel orally moved for the court to recall the alias capias it previously had issued for Mr. Williams because he was serving in the military in Iraq and that he would be returning to the United States within thirty to forty-five days. The district court, wishing to spare Mr. Williams the indignity of being placed in handcuffs upon his return to the United States, agreed that he should not be burdened with such worries while serving in combat and recalled the alias capias. The State filed a writ application seeking review of the trial court's ruling recalling the capias in both this court and the Louisiana Supreme Court. Both courts denied the State's writ. State v. Williams, 11-1781 (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/09/12) ( unpub.), and State v. Williams, 12-1035 (La. 6/22/12), 91 So.3d 977.

[2014-0477 La.App. 4 Cir. 5] Thereafter, Mr. Williams failed to appear on the following dates for scheduled court appearances: October 14, 2011; [4] November 9, 2011 (Mr. Williams' appearance was waived); [5] December 1, 2011; January 13, 2012; March 21, 2012; [6] October 10, 2013 (unscheduled judicial activity); October 24, 2013; and October 29, 2013. On October 30, 2013, defense counsel provided the State with a current address for Mr. Williams.

On December 4, 2013, Mr. Williams appeared in court. On that date, Mr. Williams' counsel filed with the clerk a motion to quash under La. C.Cr.P. art. 535 B and La. C.Cr.P. art. 578 A(2). Mr. Williams ...


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