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State v. Fontenot

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

January 11, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
WILLIAM ALLEN FONTENOT Appellant

         Appealed 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 for Appellant.

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee.

          HOLLY McGUINESS ERICA N. JEFFERSON AMANDA SULLIVAN Assistant District Attorneys.

          Before WILLIAMS, DREW & PITMAN, JJ.

          PITMAN, J.

         Defendant 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.

         FACTS

         On 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.

         On 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 resentencing. Id.

         On July 6, 2015, the trial court ordered a PSI report.

         On 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.

         A 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.

         On January 6, 2016, Defendant filed a motion to reconsider sentence and argued that the sentence imposed is ...


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