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State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

May 6, 2015

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
CHRISTOPHER J. BROWN

APPEAL FROM THE FIFTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF VERMILION, NO. 54782-K. HONORABLE EDWARD B. BROUSSARD, DISTRICT JUDGE.

Keith A. Stutes, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana.

J.N. Prather, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, Abbeville, LA, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana.

Edward J. Marquet, Louisiana Appellant Project, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Christopher J. Brown.

Court composed of John D. Saunders, Shannon J. Gremillion, and David Kent Savoie, Judges.

OPINION

Page 396

[14-1218 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] DAVID KENT SAVOIE, Judge.

MEMORANDUM

Defendant, Christopher J. Brown, was charged on December 22, 2011, with the attempted forcible rape of L.S.[1] in violation of La.R.S. 14:42.1 and 14:27. Defendant was arraigned and pled not guilty on January 19, 2012.

Page 397

On September 26, 2012, Defendant's attorney filed a Motion for Appointment of Sanity Commission, which the trial court granted. Both members of the commission testified that Defendant understood the nature of the charges and was competent to stand trial, and the court so found.

Trial commenced on February 11, 2014, and Defendant was found guilty of attempted forcible rape on February 12, 2014. On July 31, 2014, Defendant was sentenced to serve twenty years at hard labor, with ten years suspended subject to five years supervised probation with special conditions, and with the first year of Defendant's sentence to be served without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

On August 11, 2014, on the trial court's own motion, Defendant was resentenced to fifteen years at hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. Attempted forcible rape is a crime of violence, and is, therefore, not subject to a suspended sentence or probation. See La.Code Crim.P. art. 893(A) and La.R.S. 14:2(B)(10). The court resentenced Defendant to correct this error in the original sentence. Defendant then timely appealed his conviction and sentence. For the following reasons, Defendant's conviction and sentence are affirmed.

[14-1218 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] FACTS

The State began by calling as its first witness, the victim, L.S, who is a thirteen year-old girl. She testified that after school and algebra team practice, she went to the public library, dropped her things at a table, and went to use the restroom. She further testified that, as she went to wash her hands, a young man entered the restroom behind her. When she tried to tell him he was in the wrong restroom, he covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming, grabbed her, and pushed her to the floor.

She testified that, while she was on the ground, her attacker was bent over her attempting to cover her mouth. According to the victim, she then pushed his hand away and managed to kick him in the head, at which point she left the restroom as her attacker recovered.

L.S. stated that, after she exited the restroom, Mr. Edward Poche asked her what was wrong. She pointed to the restroom where her attacker had just exited and saw him attempting to leave through a side door. She stated that Mr. Poche stopped her attacker and that the librarians spoke with her and called the police. She then identified Defendant as the individual who attacked her at the library. On cross-examination, L.S. stated that Defendant did not rape her, have sex with her, or kiss her.

The State then called Mr. Edward Poche, who testified that he was at the library on the date of the attack in order to pick up a book to bring with him to work that night. He testified that while looking for a book, he heard a scream which he initially thought was simply children playing in the restroom. When the screams continued, he stopped his book search and approached the restrooms.

[14-1218 La.App. 3 Cir. 3] Mr. Poche testified that, as he was approaching the restrooms, he saw L.S. back out of the restroom and she looked like she was on the verge of tears. The Defendant then came out of the same restroom. Mr. Poche testified that L.S. approached him, started crying, and told him Defendant had attacked her.

Mr. Poche testified that Defendant was heading towards one of the exits and he yelled at him to stop. He testified that Defendant stopped, but did not want to ...


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