Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 14F0241. Honorable Benjamin Jones, Judge.
DISTRICT COURT'S RULING GRANTING MOTION TO QUASH REVERSED; REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS TO REINSTATE BILL OF INFORMATION.
JERRY L. JONES, District Attorney, ELLEN R. EADE, Assistant District Attorney, Counsel for Appellant.
M. RANDALL DONALD, Counsel for Appellee.
Before WILLIAMS, CARAWAY and LOLLEY, JJ.
[49,683 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] WILLIAMS, J.
The defendant, Charles Elgin Stanley, was charged by bill of information with failure to pay his child support obligation, a violation of LSA-R.S. 14:75. Subsequently, the defendant filed a motion to quash the bill of information. The trial court granted the motion to quash, finding that the time to initiate prosecution had prescribed. The State of Louisiana appeals, urging that the trial court erred in granting the defendant's motion to quash. For the following reasons, we reverse and remand.
In August 1994, the defendant was ordered to pay $1,498.00 per month in child support for his five children. Defendant did not make any payments for approximately three years and eventually, he paid a total of $11,197.76. In January 2007, four months following defendant's last payment, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest in an attempt to collect child support. One year later, the State of Louisiana, Support Enforcement, Department of
Children and Family Services (" Support Enforcement" ), submitted defendant's name to the federal tax refund offset program and the passport denial program. Subsequently, Support Enforcement forwarded defendant's name to the state tax refund offset program, to credit bureaus and to the lottery division for interception of winnings. In September 2013, defendant owed $157,234.24 in child support arrears. All of defendant's children are currently over the age of 18, with the last child having turned 18 on June 10, 2008.
By bill of information dated May 20, 2014, the defendant was charged with the failure to pay child support for at least one year and with more than [49,683 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] $15,000 owed. Defendant filed a motion to quash the bill of information, alleging that the prosecution was untimely because his youngest child had attained the age of 18 more than four years prior to the filing of the bill of information. The state filed an amended bill to cite the applicable felony paragraph, LSA-R.S. 14:75(C)(5). The defendant supplemented his motion to quash to assert that the felony charge did not apply to him because that provision did not take effect until after his youngest child had turned 18 years old.
After a hearing, the trial court granted defendant's motion to quash. In his oral ruling, the trial judge stated in pertinent part:
The ongoing child support obligation for even the youngest child terminated more than four years before the bill of information was filed. The original bill of information. The federal law relied upon in the state's memorandum does provide that this is an ongoing crime and that under that law, federal law, federal decision of law this case would not have prescribed. Here, the ongoing obligation terminated, no longer was accruing, more than four years before the original bill was filed in this case. So what is involved then is arrearages and the question is whether or not were there existing arrearages even though the ongoing obligation is no longer ...