APPLICATION FOR WRITS DIRECTED TO CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT
ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 521-564, SECTION " G" .
Honorable Byron C. Williams, Judge.
Cannizzaro, Jr., District Attorney, Kyle Daly, Assistant
District Attorney, Parish of Orleans, New Orleans, LA,
COUNSEL FOR RESPONDENT/STATE OF LOUISIANA.
E. Regan, Jr., Regan & Sandhu, P.L.C., New Orleans, LA,
COUNSEL FOR APPLICANT/DEFENDANT.
composed of Judge Max N. Tobias, Jr., Judge Roland L.
Belsome, Judge Paul A. Bonin). BELSOME, J., DISSENTS WITH
[2015-0455 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] PAUL A. BONIN, J.
Le pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge of killing
Brittany Thomas and the charge of the attempted second degree
murder of an unknown male. During the pretrial discovery
process, the prosecution furnished Mr. Le with a redacted
supplemental report of the police investigation. In that
report, the prosecution had deleted the names and contact
information of some, but not all, of the witnesses to the
gunfire exchange that resulted in Ms. Thomas's death and
the attempted murder of the unknown male.
this limited disclosure, Mr. Le filed a motion under Article
729.7 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure seeking to
be furnished with the deleted information or an unredacted
copy of the police report. Initially, the predecessor trial
judge denied Mr. Le's motion to conduct an ex
parte hearing and instead ordered that the prosecution
disclose to Mr. Le all material evidence under Brady v.
Maryland. See 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215
(1963). Mr. Le timely sought our supervisory review. We
granted Mr. Le's writ and remanded the matter for the
trial judge to [2015-0455 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] conduct an ex
parte hearing in compliance with Article 729.79(A).
See State v. Le, 15-0014, p. 8 (La.App. 4
Cir. 4/2/15), 165 So.3d 242, 2015 WL 1510724, *4.
ex parte hearing was conducted, recorded, and
maintained under seal. And, on April 17, 2015, the trial
judge maintained the redactions, thereby denying Mr. Le's
motion for the disclosure of the witnesses' names and
contact information. The trial judge found that the
prosecution had made a sufficient prima facie
showing that the " disclosure of witnesses'
information will more [than] likely result in some form of
direct or indirect contact of these witnesses by parties
other than the defendant's counsel which could result in
intimidation, threats, or physical harm." Mr. Le again
invokes our supervisory jurisdiction to review this ruling.
See La. C.Cr.P. art. 912.1(C)(1); La. Const. art. V,
Following oral argument, we grant Mr. Le's application
for a writ of supervisory review. We have reviewed the trial
judge's discovery ruling under a highly deferential
abuse-of-discretion standard and find no erroneous
application of law. We accordingly deny the relief sought by
Mr. Le and affirm the trial judge's ruling.
explain our decision in greater detail in the following
La.App. 4 Cir. 3] I
of the pretrial status of this matter, there has not been a
full development of the facts surrounding the incident in
question. We understand, however, based upon the parties'
submissions in the trial court and to this Court, that the
events which gave rise to the pending criminal charges
occurred in the predawn hours of June 29, 2014 at the corner
of Bourbon Street and Orleans Avenue in the French Quarter.
Mr. Le arrived in the French Quarter armed and joined a
group of friends, who were previously engaged in activity
involving narcotics, at that intersection. The submitted
video recordings then show that crowds were in the area and
that panic ensued as gunfire was exchanged. According to the
redacted police report, in addition to Ms. Thomas, nine other
persons were wounded by bullets.
evidence suggests that at least two different types of
firearms were discharged during the confrontation. The police
have identified Mr. Le as one of the shooters, and Mr. Le
does not dispute that he fired a weapon. The identity of
another person, who is clearly visible in the submitted video
firing a weapon, has never been determined and, according to
the district attorney, is the unknown male victim identified
in the indictment. We also understand that Mr. Le intends to
justify his use of the weapon as acting either in
self-defense or in the defense of others.
La.App. 4 Cir. 4] II
Part we review Articles 718 and 729.7 of the Louisiana Code
of Criminal Procedure and examine operative terms essential
for determining the merits of Mr. Le's application.
718 and 729.7 are both contained in Chapter 5 of Title XXIV
of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure, which controls
pretrial discovery. Article 718 is contained in Part A of
Chapter 5 relative to discovery by the defendant, while
Article 729.7 is contained in Part C relative to the
regulation of that discovery. See Le,
15-0014, pp. 4-5, 165 So.3d at 245, 2015 WL 1510724, *3.
718 was amended and Article 729.7 was codified in connection
with a recent comprehensive revision of Chapter
Five. See 2013 La. Acts, no. 250.
the revision, both articles became effective for cases filed
after December 31, 2013. See ibid. See also
Le, 15-0014, p. 5, 165 So.3d at 245, 2015 WL
1510724, * 3. [2015-0455 La.App. 4 Cir. 5] This comprehensive
legislation originated in the Louisiana House of
Representatives as House Bill no. 371. See Louisiana
State Legislature, 2013 Regular Session, House Bill no. 371,
(last visited May 26, 2015). And testimony before the House
Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice on May 1,
2013 indicates that this revision was the result of a
collaborative process between the Louisiana Association of
Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Louisiana District
Attorney's Association, and the Louisiana Law Institute.
amending Article 718, the legislature for the first
time authorized a defendant, during
pretrial discovery, to inspect and copy " law
enforcement reports created and known to the prosecutor made
in connection with that particular case...." La. C.Cr.P.
art. 718. The broadened discovery rights granted in this
revision, including those in Article 718, were at the ...