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State v. Hill

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

January 28, 2015

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
ERIC HILL

Page 896

ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 11-4603, DIVISION " E" . HONORABLE JOHN J. MOLAISON, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING.

PAUL D. CONNICK, JR., DISTRICT ATTORNEY, Twenty-Fourth Judicial District, Parish of Jefferson, TERRY M. BOUDREAUX, ANDREA F. LONG, JEROME G. SMITH, III, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, Gretna, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE.

JANE L. BEEBE, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Louisiana Appellate Project, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.

Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Jude G. Gravois, and Hans J. Liljeberg.

OPINION

Page 897

JUDE G. GRAVOIS, Judge.

[14-748 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] Defendant, Eric Hill, appeals his conviction and sentence for possession of cocaine in excess of 28 to 200 grams, in violation of La. R.S. 40:967(F), which resulted from a guilty plea entered under the provisions of State v. Crosby, 338 So.2d 584 (La. 1976).[1] For the reasons that follow, we affirm defendant's conviction and sentence and remand the matter for correction of the commitment.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The procedural history of this case was set forth in this Court's opinion in defendant's first appeal, State v. Hill, 13-447 (La.App. 5 Cir. 12/12/13), 131 So.3d 354, 355, to-wit:

On September 14, 2011, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed a bill of information charging defendant, Eric Hill, with possession of " [c]ocaine in excess of 28 to 200 grams," in violation of LSA-R.S. 40:967(F). He pled not guilty at arraignment. Thereafter, defendant filed various pre-trial motions, including motions to suppress the evidence and statement. A suppression hearing was held on February 1, 2012, and the trial court denied defendant's motions to suppress the evidence and statement.
[14-748 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] On February 19, 2013, defendant withdrew his not guilty plea and entered a guilty plea pursuant to the provisions of State v. Crosby, supra, which allows a defendant to plead guilty while reserving the right to appeal a pre-trial ruling. Defendant was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment at hard labor with the first five years of the sentence to be served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. On this same date, the State filed a multiple offender bill of information alleging that defendant was a second felony offender. After defendant stipulated to the allegations

Page 898

in the multiple bill,[2] his original sentence was vacated, and he was resentenced as a second felony offender to the same sentence of 15 years imprisonment at hard labor, with the first five years of the sentence to be served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

(Internal footnote added.)

In defendant's first appeal, he assigned as error the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress the evidence. However, this Court vacated and set aside defendant's conviction on other grounds. Hill, 131 So.3d at 355. Instead, this Court found that it was " unclear that defendant intended to plead guilty to possession of 28 to 200 grams of cocaine, as opposed to possession with intent to distribute cocaine." Accordingly, this Court set aside defendant's guilty plea, vacated his conviction and sentence, and remanded the matter to the trial court for further proceedings. Hill, 131 So.3d at 356-57. Further, this Court stated that it would not address the merits of defendant's appeal at that stage of the proceedings.

On April 7, 2014, defendant withdrew his plea of not guilty and pled guilty, again under Crosby, to possession of between 28 and 200 grams of cocaine. After waiving sentencing delays, defendant was immediately resentenced to 15 years imprisonment at hard labor, with the first five years to be served without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. The trial court ...


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