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State v. Le

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

April 2, 2015

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
TRUNG LE

ON APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI DIRECTED TO CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 521-564, SECTION " G" . Honorable Byron C. Williams, Judge.

Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr., District Attorney, Scott G. Vincent, Assistant District Attorney, Parish of Orleans, New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR STATE OF LOUISIANA.

Martin Edward Regan, Jr., Adam Beckman, Juan Bernal, Regan & Sandhu, P.L.C., New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT TRUNG LE.

Court composed of Judge Max N. Tobias, Jr., Judge Paul A. Bonin, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins.

OPINION

Page 243

[2015-0014 La. 1] We granted a writ of certiorari in this case; stayed the scheduled trial; ordered the clerk of the trial court to furnish this court with the record; directed counsel for the parties to submit further briefing, if warranted; [1] and docketed the matter for oral argument, to consider the applicability of article 729.7 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure to a written request by the defendant/relator, Trung Le, for an unredacted copy of the police reports in this matter. Mr. Le was charged by an indictment on 22 August 2014 with the unlawful killing (second degree murder) of Brittany Thomas and the attempted second degree murder of an unknown male. Mr. Le has entered pleas of not guilty to both charges.[2]

The trial court ordered both parties to turn over discovery to each other. On 11 September 2014, the state provided the defense with its inventory of discovery. Mr. Le filed motions (a) to suppress evidence, (b) for statements, (c) for identification, (d) for a preliminary hearing, and (e) for production of the police incident report of 15 September 2014. At the continued hearing on the setting of a [2015-0014 La. 2] bond held on 19 September 2014, Mr. Le's bond was set at $250,000.00. On 2 October 2014, the state again furnished the defense with its inventory of discovery. On 10 October 2014, the trial court ordered the state to provide the defense with all discoverable/exculpatory evidence; the state advised that written answers to discovery would be provided.

The defense objected in writing to redacted police reports provided by the state and again requested the production of same. At a hearing on 14 November 2014, the trial court found the state's response to be " good and sufficient." On 19 November 2014, the defense again filed a motion for the unredacted police reports and a motion to stipulate to the statements of the state's witnesses. The defendant's trial was continued until 23 February 2015 over the defense's objection on 21 November 2014. Mr. Le filed a motion for speedy trial and to reduce his bond on 21 November 2014.

On 1 December 2014, Mr. Le again filed another motion for the unredacted police reports and for reduction of his bond. At the bond reduction hearing on 8 December 2014, Mr. Le was identified by Robert Benvenuti as the perpetrator. A bond reduction

Page 244

was denied and the state was again ordered to turn over any exculpatory evidence. From the refusal of the state to turn over the unredacted police reports, Mr. Le sought the instant review.

The redacted police report furnished Mr. Le asserts that at about 2:45 a.m. on 29 June 2014, multiple gunshots were fired in the 700 block of Bourbon Street in New Orleans from 40-caliber and 9-millimeter handguns. The motive appeared [2015-0014 La. 3] to be an argument over an illegal drug transaction. The perpetrators are listed as the defendant and an unknown " black" male. Multiple individuals were struck by the bullets; ten suffered wounds and one of them died.

I.

Effective 1 January 2014 and applicable to cases filed after 31 December 2013, La. C.Cr.P. art. 729.7 (2013 La. Acts, No. 250) became the ...


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