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State v. Richard

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

April 5, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
KENNON RICHARD AKA KENNAN RICHARD

         APPEAL FROM THE THIRTY-THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ALLEN, NO. CR-2015-2058 HONORABLE ERROL DAVID DESHOTELS, JR., DISTRICT JUDGE

          Herbert Todd Nesom District Attorney - 33rd Judicial District Court Steven Sumbler Assistant District Attorney - 33rd Judicial District Court Joe Green Assistant District Attorney - 33rd Judicial District Court COUNSEL FOR: Plaintiff/Appellee - State of Louisiana

          Edward Kelly Bauman Louisiana Appellate Project COUNSEL FOR: Defendant/Appellant - Kennon Richard a/k/a Kennan Richard

          Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Marc T. Amy, and Phyllis M. Keaty, Judges.

          ULYSSES GENE THIBODEAUX CHIEF JUDGE

         Defendant Kennon Richard was a passenger in a vehicle driven by co-defendant Christopher James. The vehicle was stopped for a traffic violation and Mr. James was placed under arrest. While Mr. James was being placed in handcuffs, he tossed a plastic bag of cocaine onto the car seat, whereupon Mr. Richard grabbed the bag and attempted to hide it in the car. Kennon Richard was found guilty by a jury of obstruction of justice pursuant to La.R.S. 14:130.1. Mr. Richard timely appeals his conviction, his adjudication, and the trial court's ruling on his Batson challenges. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         I.

         ISSUES

         We must determine:

1. whether the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to find Kennon Richard guilty of obstruction of justice;
2. whether the trial court erred in denying defense counsel's Batson challenges;
3. whether the trial court erred in finding Kennon Richard to be a third felony offender; and
4. whether the trial court erred in denying Kennon Richard's Motion in Arrest of Judgment.

         II.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Kennon Richard was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Christopher James when it was stopped for a traffic violation. While being placed in handcuffs, Mr. James removed several items from his pocket, including a clear plastic bag of cocaine, which he threw onto the driver's seat. The arresting officer then observed Mr. Richard take the bag of cocaine and stuff it between the passenger seat and the center console. The bag remained in plain view at all times. Mr. Richard was also placed under arrest.

         Mr. Richard was charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute in violation of La.R.S. 40:967(A)(1), and obstruction of justice in violation of La.R.S. 14:130.1. A jury unanimously found Mr. Richard not guilty of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, but guilty of obstruction of justice. Mr. Richard was charged as a habitual offender, and the trial ...


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