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State v. Halley

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

February 8, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
KENNETH HALLEY

         APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 517-259, SECTION "I" Honorable Karen K. Herman, Judge

         AFFIRMED

          Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr. District Attorney Kyle Daly Assistant District Attorney COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE/STATE OF LOUISIANA.

          Sherry Watters LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.

          Court composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Madeleine M. Landrieu, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano.

          Madeleine M. Landrieu Judge.

         On December 9, 2015, a jury returned a verdict finding Kenneth Halley and John Chambers each guilty of the April 5, 2005 second degree murder of Joseph Lucien. Although jointly tried, each defendant has filed a separate appeal.[1] After the disposition of post-trial motions filed by Mr. Halley and after the expiration of all legal delays, Mr. Halley was sentenced to life imprisonment without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. It is from this conviction and sentence that Mr. Halley now appeals.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         In his sole assignment of error, Mr. Halley claims his right to cross-examination under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment was violated when the trial court allowed into evidence a statement made by Mr. Halley's co-defendant, Mr. Chambers, which implicated Mr. Halley in this shooting. Mr. Chambers did not testify at trial. The statement was admitted through the testimony of another witness, A.M.[2] For the reasons that follow, we find this assignment of error to be without merit.

          STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         On the morning of April 5, 2005, Detective Ernest Rome of the New Orleans Police Department responded to a report of a homicide on the 2300 block of Alabo Street. When he arrived on the scene, Det. Rome observed the victim, with apparent gunshot wounds, lying in an alley next to a house. EMS arrived a short time later, and medical personnel pronounced the victim dead at the scene. The victim was later identified as Joseph Lucien.

         Detective Rome and other responding officers cordoned off the crime scene and canvassed the area for witnesses and evidence useful to the investigation. No witnesses were forthcoming. Later that day, two witnesses - R.R. and E.M. - arrived at the police station and met with Det. Rome. As a result of the statements given by R.R. and E.M. and an identification made by them, Det. Rome obtained arrest warrants for both Kenneth Halley and John Chambers.[3] The defendants were arrested the day after the shooting, but no charges were filed at that time because pertinent witnesses refused to testify.

         According to the trial testimony of an Assistant District Attorney, his office reviewed the case again in 2013. After further investigation, the case was presented to a grand jury, which returned an indictment against both Mr. Halley and Mr. Chambers in August of 2013. The case proceeded to trial in December of 2015.

         DISCUSSION

         Before addressing the assignment of error raised by Mr. Halley, we first note an ...


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