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State v. Joseph

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

May 6, 2015

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
CHRISTOPHER H. JOSEPH

APPEAL FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF CALCASIEU, NO. 22090-08. HONORABLE CLAYTON DAVIS, DISTRICT JUDGE.

John Foster DeRosier, District Attorney -- 14th Judicial District, Karen C. McLellan, Assistant District Attorney -- 14th Judicial District, Lake Charles, LA, COUNSEL FOR: Plaintiff/Appellee - State of Louisiana.

Carey J. Ellis, Jr., Louisiana Appellate Project, Rayville, LACOUNSEL FOR: Defendant/Appellant - Christopher H. Joseph.

Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Sylvia R. Cooks, and Elizabeth A. Pickett, Judges.

OPINION

Page 390

[14-1188 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] ULYSSES GENE THIBODEAUX, Chief Judge.

Defendant Christopher H. Joseph appeals his sentence of life imprisonment without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension for a second degree murder conviction. The trial court sentenced Defendant at a resentencing hearing at which he had no counsel. On appeal, Defendant contends that he was entitled to counsel at the hearing and that his sentence is excessive. The State agrees that Defendant was entitled to counsel but contends that Defendant's sentence is appropriate. Because we find that the trial court erred in resentencing Defendant in the absence of counsel or waiver by Defendant of his right to counsel, we vacate the sentence and remand the matter to the trial court for resentencing.

I.

ISSUES

We must determine:

(1) whether the trial court erred in resentencing Defendant without counsel present; and
(2) whether the trial court imposed an unconstitutionally excessive sentence on Defendant.

II.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY


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