On Appeal from the 22nd Judicial District Court, In and for the Parish of Washington, State of Louisiana. No. 13-CR8-120927. Honorable Scott Gardner, Judge Presiding.
Walter Reed, District Attorney, Jay Adair, Assistant District Attorney, Franklinton, Louisiana and Kathryn Landry, Special Appeals Counsel, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Attorneys for Appellee, State of Louisiana.
Lieu T. Vo Clark, Louisiana Appellate Project, Mandeville, Louisiana, Attorney for Appellant, Michael A. Pounds.
BEFORE: GUIDRY, THERIOT, AND DRAKE, JJ.
[2014 1063 La.App. 1 Cir. 2] DRAKE, J.
The defendant, Michael A. Pounds, was charged by bill of information with five counts of attempted possession of a controlled dangerous substance by means of fraud (counts one through five), violations of La. R.S. 40:979 and La. R.S. 40:971(B)(1)(b),
and with six counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance by means of misrepresentation (counts six through eleven), violations of La. R.S. 40:971(B)(1)(b). The defendant initially entered a plea of not guilty on each count. Subsequently, the trial court denied the defendant's motion to suppress evidence. The defendant withdrew his original pleas and pled guilty as charged on all counts pursuant to State v. Crosby, 338 So.2d 584 (La. 1976). On counts one through five, the trial court imposed sentences of two and one-half years at hard labor, suspended the sentences, and imposed five years supervised probation with general and special conditions (the sentences on each count were ordered to be served concurrently). On counts six through eleven, the trial court imposed sentences of five years at hard labor, suspended the sentences, and imposed five years supervised probation with general and special conditions (the sentences imposed on counts six and seven were ordered to be served consecutively, and the remaining counts were ordered to be served concurrently). The defendant now appeals, assigning error to the trial court's ruling on the motion to suppress [2014 1063 La.App. 1 Cir. 3] evidence. For the following reasons, we hereby reverse the trial court's ruling denying the motion to suppress and remand for further proceedings allowing the defendant the opportunity to withdraw his guilty pleas.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
As indicated, the defendant pled guilty to the instant offenses; thus, there was no trial to fully develop the facts. In accordance with the testimony presented at the motion to suppress hearing, the following occurred. Senior Trooper Steven Linn of the Louisiana State Police Narcotics Division assisted in the investigation of the defendant and his wife, Danica Pounds, for obtaining prescriptions for controlled dangerous substances by means of fraud. The investigation began after Trooper Linn was forwarded an activity report of suspicion submitted by Dr. Bernard of the LSU Health Science Center referencing the defendant and Danica Pounds. As to the instant case, Dr. Bernard specifically indicated that the defendant herein received nineteen-hundred pills between January 1, 2012, and early October 2012. He further indicated that the defendant called in false prescriptions, specifically pretending to be Dr. Mark Mclnnis
while calling pharmacies for prescriptions. As a result of the
complaint, Trooper Linn requested and received a prescription
monitoring report from the Louisiana Pharmacy Board, detailing the defendant's
prescription patient history. According to Trooper Linn, the report affirmed and
verified Dr. Bernard's report.
The detailed information in the report included the subject's name, date of birth, addresses, types of medication received, the dosage and basis for the prescriptions, the doctor's names, and the pharmacy used. In order to verify this information, on November 2, 2012, Trooper Linn and Agent Christopher Sperandeo of the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) went to the pharmacies listed and obtained patient profiles from each pharmacy where prescriptions were filled, using DEA administrative inspection [2014 1063 La.App. 1 Cir. 4] forms that were signed by the registered pharmacists. The Bogalusa pharmacies included Wal-Mart. Walgreens, Rocky's Med Shoppe, CVS. and CP's Drug Store. After the forms were signed by each pharmacist consenting to the inspections, the pharmacies released scanned images of prescriptions that were filled.
Trooper Linn then requested records from the doctors listed on the prescriptions and received confirmation of prescriptions to the defendant for several substances including hydrocodone, carisoprodol, tramadol, zopidem tartrate, butalbital, acetaminophen, caffeine, lortab, xanax, celexa, diazepam, and ambien. Some of the listed items were controlled dangerous substances while others were not. Trooper Linn reviewed the prescriptions and determined that there were overlaps among the prescriptions provided by five physicians. The doctors were asked to execute forms indicating that they would not have prescribed the treatment if they had knowledge of the other prescriptions that were concealed. While the other doctors executed the forms releasing the requested information, one of the physicians ...