FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2011-04431,
DIVISION "L-6" Honorable Kern A. Reese, Judge
Darnell Lewis, #327412 David Wade Correctional Center, H-2/B
PRO SE PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT
Fink BERNARD L. CHARBONNET, JR., A PROFESSIONAL LAW
CORPORATION COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
composed of Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge Sandra Cabrina
Jenkins, Judge Regina Bartholomew Woods)
Rosemary Ledet Judge
a mandamus action seeking to obtain documents pursuant to the
Louisiana Public Records Law, La. R.S. 44:1, et
seq. Darnell Lewis-an inmate appearing pro
se-filed this mandamus action seeking various records
relating to his 1998 criminal convictions. Mr. Lewis named
three defendants-the Superintendent of Police of the New
Orleans Police Department (the "NOPD"); the Orleans
Parish District Attorney, Leon Cannizzaro (the
"ODA"); and the Criminal District Court's Clerk
of Court, Arthur Morrell ("Mr. Morrell")
(collectively the "Defendants"). From the trial
court's judgment dismissing this action, Mr. Lewis
appeals. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
1998, Mr. Lewis was convicted of armed robbery and attempted
second-degree murder. Thereafter, he was adjudicated a second
felony offender on the armed robbery conviction and sentenced
to serve 160 years at hard labor without benefit of parole,
probation, or suspension of sentence on the multiple bill. On
the attempted second-degree murder conviction, he was
sentenced to serve 50 years at hard labor without benefit of
parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. The sentences
were ordered to run concurrently with each other. On appeal,
Mr. Lewis' convictions and sentences were affirmed.
State v. Lewis, 99-2891 (La.App. 4 Cir. 10/4/00),
771 So.2d 330 (unpub.), writ denied,
01-0102 (La. 11/21/01), 802 So.2d 626. 
April 27, 2011, Mr. Lewis filed this mandamus action in
Orleans Parish Civil District Court. In his petition, Mr.
Lewis averred that he has made multiple requests for the
initial police report to the NOPD, in particular, and to the
Defendants, in general. He averred as follows:
Movant has requested the police report of what occurred on
the scene of the crime. Crime scene at 6733 Chef Hwy and Dale
Street, 5 September 1997, at times 2014 [8:14 p.m.] . . . .
Movant request[s] the police report to the Unit and Officer
who responde[d] and was present at the crime scene, at 6733
Chef Hwy and Dale Street at 2014.
Movant has request[ed] repeatedly for the report that was
taken and written by the officer(s) whom were present at the
crime scene. However, the Police Department has continually
responded as follows:
Police Department has sent reports to Movant that are not
[(i) Officer Neyrey's report stating he located himself
to the victim's home at 8:28 P.M.; and
(ii) Detective Patrolia's report stating he too went to
the victim's home later at 12:30 A.M.] . . .
Before Officer Neyrey['s] report at 8:28 at the
victim['s] home, a police unit and officer had
to go to the crime scene and meet with the victim and
witnesses, because the dispatch log indicate[s] that a unit
was at the crime scene at 2014. (emphasis in the original).
on the above averments, Mr. Lewis requested that the trial
court order the Defendants to produce the "on the scene
report of the incident" and that it order an evidentiary
the date of the filing of the petition-April 27, 2011-until
August 26, 2015-the date of correspondence from Mr.
Lewis-there was no activity in this mandamus
action. On August 25, 2015, correspondence from
Mr. Lewis-labeled "Application for Writ of
Mandamus"-was filed into the record. In his August 26,
2015 correspondence, Mr. Lewis referred to a July 23, 2015
public records request on the NOPD seeking, among other
things, the initial police report from the officer who
arrived on the scene at 8:14 p.m.
January 8, 2016, the trial court denied Mr. Lewis'
request in his original petition for an evidentiary hearing
on his writ of mandamus. In April 2016, a status conference
was held; Mr. Lewis was allowed to participate by phone. At
that conference, Mr. Lewis' sole request was for the
production of the initial police report. The trial court
directed the ODA to provide copies of all the police reports
prepared during the course of the investigation of Mr.
Lewis' criminal case. Mr. Lewis acknowledges that the ODA
complied with the trial court's directive. By
correspondence dated June 18, 2016, Mr. Lewis informed the
trial court that the NOPD did not want to give him the
initial police report and that all he was asking for in this
mandamus action was his "Initial Police Report, "
which would show him "what Officer or Officer(s)
interviewed and investigated the victim Gerald Scott, and
witness Ms. Dionne Scott, on the scene of the
22, 2016, the trial court set a second status conference.
This conference was held on August 4, 2016; and Mr. Lewis
again was allowed to participate by phone. The only defendant
that participated in this conference was the
On September 27, 2016, the trial court, referencing the
August 4, 2016 conference, rendered the following judgment:
This court previously ruled on Petitioner's motion,
held the subsequent conference on August 4, 2016 and
reiterated the following:
IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the
Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Mandamus is MOOT. The
Defendants have provided the complete record request to the
Petitioner, and therefore, his request has been satisfied.
This appeal followed.
gist of Mr. Lewis' contentions on appeal is that the
trial court erred in dismissing his mandamus
action. An appellate court reviews a trial
court's judgment denying a writ of mandamus under an
abuse of discretion standard. Hatcher v. Rouse,
16-0666, p. 3, n. 2 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/1/17), __ So.3d __, __,
2017 WL 431780 at *1 (quoting Constr. Diva, L.L.C. v. New
Orleans Aviation Bd., 16-0566, p. 13 (La.App. 4 Cir.
12/14/16), 206 So.3d 1029, 1037). Additionally, this Court
has noted the following:
"A writ of mandamus may be directed to a public officer
to compel the performance of a ministerial duty required by
law ... to compel the delivery of the papers and effects of
the office to his successor." La. C.C.P. art. 3863. A
writ of mandamus is "an extraordinary remedy, to be
applied where ordinary means fail to afford adequate
relief." Hoag v. State, 04-0857, p. 6
(La.12/01/04), 889 So.2d 1019, 1023. The remedy "must be
used sparingly ... to compel action that is clearly provided
by law." Hamp's Const., L.L.C. v. Hous. Auth. of
New Orleans, 10-0816, pp. 3-4 (La.App. 4 Cir. 12/01/10),
52 So.3d 970, 973, quoting Allen v. St. Tammany Parish
Police Jury, 96-0938, p. 4 (La.App. 1 Cir. 2/14/97), 690
So.2d 150, 153. "Mandamus will not lie in matters in
which discretion and evaluation of evidence must be
exercised." Hamp's, 10-0816, p. 4, 52 So.3d
at 973. "The remedy is not available to command the
performance of an act that contains any element of
discretion, however slight." Id.
A.M.E. Disaster Recovery Servs., Inc. v. City of New
Orleans, 10-1755 at p. 8 (La.App. 4 Cir. 8/24/11), 72
So.3d 454, 459; see also Humane Society of New Orleans v.
Landrieu, 13-1059, p. 3 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/26/14), 135
So.3d 1195, 1197 (quoting A.M.E. Disaster Recovery
Servs., supra); see also La. C.C.P.
art. 3861 (defining mandamus as "a writ directing a
public officer or a corporation or an officer ...