from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 318, 107 Honorable John
Mosely, Jr., Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Carey J. Ellis, III Counsel
E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee.
McGUINESS ERICA N. JEFFERSON AMANDA SULLIVAN Assistant
WILLIAMS, DREW & PITMAN, JJ.
William Allen Fontenot pled guilty to hit-and-run driving
resulting in a death. The trial court sentenced him to nine
years at hard labor. Defendant appealed. This court vacated
his sentence for noncompliance with La.C.Cr.P. art. 894.1 and
remanded for resentencing. The trial court again sentenced
Defendant to nine years at hard labor and to 30 days in
parish jail in lieu of paying court costs. Defendant appeals,
arguing that the sentence is excessive. For the following
reasons, we amend Defendant's sentence to vacate the
portion ordering jail time in default of payment of court
costs and affirm his sentence as amended.
November 13, 2013, the state filed a bill of information
charging Defendant with hit-and-run driving in that, on
September 13, 2013, he operated a motor vehicle involved in
or causing an accident, when a death was a direct result of
the accident. The state alleged that Defendant knew or should
have known that death or serious bodily injury had occurred
and that he intentionally failed to stop his vehicle at the
scene of the accident, to give his identity and to render
reasonable aid. On January 15, 2014, Defendant pled guilty to
the charge, and the state agreed that it would not file a
bill charging him as a habitual offender. On February 10,
2015, the trial court sentenced Defendant to nine years at
hard labor and to 30 days in lieu of paying court costs and
stated that the sentences were to run concurrently. Defendant
appealed, arguing that the sentence was excessive.
appeal, this court determined that the trial court failed to
consider any mitigating and/or contributory factors when
determining Defendant's sentence and, therefore, did not
comply with La.C.Cr.P. art. 894.1. State v.
Fontenot, 49, 835 (La.App. 2d Cir. 5/27/15), 166 So.3d
1215. Accordingly, this court vacated Defendant's
sentence, ordered the trial court to conduct a presentence
investigation ("PSI") and remanded for
6, 2015, the trial court ordered a PSI report.
November 9, 2015, the state filed a supplemental response to
Defendant's motion for discovery. The state included an
email to the trial court from a friend of the victim; a lab
report from AIT Laboratories; and a letter to the trial court
from Lt. Michael Wayne Gray of the Caddo Parish Sheriff's
Office. On December 8, 2015, Defendant filed a motion in
limine and argued that the lab report and the letter from Lt.
Gray should not be entered as evidence into the record or
considered in sentencing.
sentencing hearing was held on December 8, 2015. Counsel for
the state and Defendant provided arguments regarding the
motion in limine. Although the trial court did not make a
formal ruling on the motion in limine, it noted that
it did not consider the documents Defendant sought to
exclude. The trial court noted that it reviewed the PSI
report. It considered the factors listed in La.C.Cr.P. art.
894.1 and found that Defendant was in need of correctional
treatment and a custodial environment and that a lesser
sentence would deprecate the seriousness of the offense. It
also noted that Defendant tested positive for THC at the time
of the accident and that two other vehicles were able to
maneuver around the victim. It considered Defendant's
criminal history and the seriousness of the offense. As a
mitigating factor, it stated that the victim was sitting on a
dark road and texting or consuming a beer. It sentenced
Defendant to nine years at hard labor, to be served
concurrently with any other sentence, and also to 30 days in
the parish jail in lieu of court costs, to be served
concurrently with the nine-year sentence. It further stated
that Defendant was to receive credit for time served.
January 6, 2016, Defendant filed a motion to reconsider
sentence and argued that the sentence imposed is ...