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State v. Meadows

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

April 12, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
PATRICIA A. MEADOWS

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 14-6850, DIVISION "A" HONORABLE RAYMOND S. STEIB, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D. Connick, Jr., Terry M. Boudreaux

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, PATRICIA A. MEADOWS Patricia Meadows Bruce G. Whittaker

          Panel composed of Jude G. Gravois, Robert A. Chaisson, and Robert M. Murphy

         JGG

         RAC

         RMM

          JUDE G. GRAVOIS JUDGE

         Defendant, Patricia A. Meadows, appeals her convictions and sentences for armed robbery (count one), attempted armed robbery (count two), and four counts of forgery (counts three, four, five, and six). She also appeals her adjudication as a second felony offender under La. R.S. 15:529.1 and her ensuing enhanced sentence on count two. For the following reasons, we affirm defendant's convictions and sentences on counts one and two, and finding errors patent, we vacate the indeterminate sentences imposed by the trial court on counts three, four, five, and six, and remand the matter to the trial court for resentencing on counts three, four, five, and six, and for imposition of an enhanced sentence on count two under La. R.S. 15:529.1. Further, we grant appellate counsel's motion to withdraw as counsel of record for defendant.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On February 4, 2015, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed a six-count bill of information charging defendant, Patricia A. Meadows, with armed robbery, a violation of La. R.S. 14:64 (count one); attempted armed robbery, a violation of La. R.S. 14:27 and 14:64 (count two); and forgery, a violation of La. R.S. 14:72 (counts three, four, five, and six). Defendant pled not guilty at her arraignment that same day.

         On August 27, 2015, defendant withdrew her pleas of not guilty, and after being advised of her Boykin [1] rights, pled guilty as charged to all six counts.[2] In accordance with the plea agreement, defendant was sentenced to twenty-five years imprisonment with the Department of Corrections on count one; 24.75 years (twenty-four years and nine months) imprisonment with the Department of Corrections on count two; and purportedly ten years imprisonment with the Department of Corrections on counts three, four, five, and six.[3] [4] All counts were ordered to be served concurrently with one another, and counts one and two were ordered to be served without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.[5]

         Also on August 27, 2015, the State filed a habitual offender bill of information on count two, alleging defendant to be a second felony offender.[6]Defendant stipulated to the habitual offender bill of information after being advised of her rights. Prior to accepting defendant's stipulation, the trial court advised defendant that she would be "sentenced to incarceration for 24.75 years with the Department of Corrections" on count two, pursuant to the habitual offender plea agreement, as a second felony offender under La. R.S. 15:529.1, without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.[7]

         On August 17, 2016, defendant filed an application for post-conviction relief. The trial court construed defendant's application for post-conviction relief as a request for an out-of-time appeal, and on August 22, 2016, granted defendant an out-of-time appeal. Defendant's appeal follows.

         FACTS

         Because defendant's convictions were the result of guilty pleas, the facts underlying the crimes of conviction are not fully developed in the record. Thus, the facts were gleaned from the factual basis for the offenses provided by the State at the guilty plea proceeding.

         The State submitted that if it had proceeded to trial, it would have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant, on November 22, 2014, while in the Parish of Jefferson, "violated Louisiana Revised Statute 14:64 in that she did rob the Smoothie King while armed with a dangerous weapon"-a knife. The State further asserted that it would have also proven beyond a reasonable doubt that on that same date, while in the Parish of Jefferson, defendant violated La. R.S. 14:27 and 14:64 "in that she did attempt to rob Planet Beach while armed with a dangerous weapon"-a knife. Lastly, the State maintained that it would have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant committed four counts of forgery, in violation of La. R.S. 14:72. Specifically, with respect to count three, the State argued it would have proven that between October 20, 2014 and October 21, 2014, while in the Parish of Jefferson, defendant violated La. R.S. 14:72[8] in that she did "issue, transfer, possess with the intent to defraud a forged writing known by Patricia Meadows to be forged." Furthermore, with respect to counts four, five, and six, the State argued that it would have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that between May 11, 2005 and June 14, 2014, defendant " violated Louisiana Revised Statute 14:72 three times while in the Parish of Jefferson in that she did issue, transfer, or possess with the intent to defraud a forged check for Tri-City Body Shop. Those check numbers were Check Number 5215, Check Number 5219, and Check Number 5216."

         ERRORS PATENT REVIEW

         Initially, upon our errors patent review, we have noticed errors patent on the face of the record concerning 1) the purported sentences defendant received on counts three, four, five, and six; and 2) the lack of imposition of an enhanced sentence on count two under La. R.S. 15:529.1.

         First, the record is unclear as to whether defendant received separate, individual sentences on counts three, four, five, and six, respectively. The transcript reflects that the trial court stated: "On Counts 3 through 6, you're sentenced as follows: You're sentenced to 10 years with the Department of Corrections. We order that you receive credit for time served while awaiting trial in this matter. This sentence runs concurrent with all other counts filed herein Thus, it is unclear as to whether defendant was sentenced to 10 years on each of the four counts of forgery, or 10 years total on all four counts. Defendant's convictions of four counts of forgery require the imposition of four separate sentences. See State v. Soco, 94-1099 (La.App. 1 Cir. 6/23/95), 657 So.2d 603. Further, it is well settled that a defendant can appeal from a final judgment of conviction only where sentence has actually been imposed. La. C.Cr.P. art. 912(C)(1); State v. Chapman, 471 So.2d 716 (La. 1985) (per curiam). Thus, based on the transcript, we find defendant's sentences on counts three, four, five, and six to be indeterminate. Defendant's appeal of her convictions and sentences on counts three, four, five, and six is thus not properly before this Court at the present time.

         Second, the record reflects that the trial court failed to actually impose an enhanced sentence on count two under La. R.S. 15:529.1. The transcript indicates that after defendant was advised of her habitual offender rights, the following discussion took place:

THE COURT: Oh, okay. And you had left out the amount of the sentence. Is it 25 years that she's agreeing to or y'all agreed to the 24.75?
THE STATE: 24.75, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay. And that you will be sentenced to incarceration for 24.75 years with the Department of Corrections, that this entire sentence is without benefits of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. Have you been coerced or forced into entering this plea?
DEFENDANT: No, sir.
THE COURT: Are you satisfied with the representation by your counsel?
DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: I'm entirely satisfied that the defendant understands the consequences of her plea, she's made a knowing, intelligent, free, and voluntary act of pleading guilty, there's a factual basis for the plea. I inform the defendant that she has 30 days from this date to appeal this conviction and two years after the judgment of ...

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