from the Third Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Lincoln, Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 67, 831 Honorable
Cynthia Tregle Woodard, Judge
F.K. BELTON Counsel for Appellant
W. HOUCK LEWIS A. JONES Counsel for Appellee By: James G.
WILLIAMS, DREW, and GARRETT, JJ.
Freeman Logue was charged by information with third offense
possession of marijuana. La. R.S. 40:966(E). The trial court
quashed the bill, applying retroactively a 2015 amendment to
Subsection (E)(1). The state appeals, arguing that this
retroactive application was error. We reverse and remand.
September 11, 2015, Logue was issued a summons for possession
of marijuana. He was billed with possession of
marijuana-third offense, a felony. The bill listed two
defendant moved to quash the bill of information, alleging
that "changes in the law, embodied in House Bill 149,
which amended [La. R.S. 40:966(E)], do not indicate that the
defendant committed the offense alleged."
hearing held on April 5, 2016, the defense counsel argued:
[W]e believe that based on the intent of the legislature in
changing the law that Mr. Logue should indeed only be billed
as a second offender at most.
. . . . Based on the 1994 charge and the great span of time
between that and then the - the two more recent charges,
it's our belief that Mr. Logue should be charged only as
a second offense which, under the new law is a misdemeanor
and as such we should ask that his . . . Bill of Information
The state responded that the statute did not apply to the
trial court took the matter under advisement. On May 17,
2017, the court provided written reasons for quashing the
bill on four grounds:
• There is no clear legislative intent extant as to
whether the amendments were intended to apply prospectively
• Statutory changes can be either substantive,
procedural or interpretive;
• State v. Boniface, 369 So.2d 115 (La. 1979),
provides guidance here;and
• Finding the amendment to be procedural, retroactive
application is required.
state applied for supervisory review. We granted to docket as
first assignment of error, the state urges that the court
erred, as a matter of law, by granting defendant's motion
to quash based upon an improper and unnecessary analysis of
the retroactivity of laws rather than properly applying the
amended portions of La. R.S. 40:966(E)(1) to those offenses
clearly defined by the words of the statute. The state
• a plain reading of La. R.S. 40:966(E)(1)(a)(i)-(ii)
refers to "certain offenses, " namely possession of
marijuana on a first conviction, referencing a specified
punishment for a specified offense;
• La. R.S. 40:966(E)(1)(a)(iii) thus applies only to one
• since the plain language of the statute is
unambiguous, the trial court erred in even discussing the
second prong of ...