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State v. Shell

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

April 13, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
BLAKE ALLEN SHELL A/K/A BLAKE A. SHELL

         APPEAL FROM THE THIRTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF VERNON, NO. 88403 HONORABLE VERNON B. CLARK, DISTRICT JUDGE.

          Annette Fuller Roach Louisiana Appellate Project, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Blake Allen Shell

          Asa A. Skinner District Attorney Terry W. Lambright First Assistant District Attorney, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana.

          Court composed of Marc T. Amy, Billy Howard Ezell, and Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.

          MARC T. AMY JUDGE.

         The State charged the defendant with negligent homicide following an automobile accident that resulted in the death of the passenger. After the defendant entered a no-contest plea to the charge, the trial court sentenced the defendant to four years at hard labor. The trial court further imposed restitution costs to the victim's family. On appeal, the defendant asserts that the imposed sentence is excessive and that the trial court failed to establish a payment plan for the restitution costs. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         The State charged the defendant, Blake Allen Shell, with negligent homicide, a violation of La.R.S. 14:32, alleging by bill of information that, on or about February 20, 2015, defendant did kill Abigail Marlene Welch by criminal negligence, in violation of R.S. 14:32[1] (felony)." At the resulting plea hearing, at which the defendant entered a plea of no contest, the State entered the following factual background to the trial court:

[O]n February the 20th, 2015, that this defendant was operating a motor vehicle and through his criminal negligence, did leave the roadway, flip his vehicle and strike a tree causing his passenger, Abigail Welch, to be ejected from the vehicle. Uh, when troopers arrived on the scene, spoke with this defendant, smelled alcohol on his breath, this court is aware, that because of a death involved, his blood was drawn at the -- at the hospital where it was sent to the Louisiana Crime Lab where it was determined that his blood alcohol content was at .05. Also, his toxicology report showed that there were amphetamines in his blood -- in his urine. Uh, all of these events occurred in Vernon Parish, State of Louisiana.

         The trial court subsequently sentenced the defendant to four years at hard labor for the negligent homicide conviction. It also ordered the defendant to pay $13, 374.56 in restitution to the victim's family and to pay $150.00 to the Department of Public Safety for the completion of the pre-sentence investigation report. The trial court ordered that the sentence be served concurrently with a three-month sentence imposed for a conviction of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, a violation of La.R.S. 14:98.1.[2]

         After the trial court denied the defendant's motion to reconsider sentence, the defendant filed this appeal. He assigned the following as error:

1) The sentence imposed by the trial court is excessive, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and La. Const[.] Art. I, § 20, and is nothing more than the needless infliction of pain and suffering.
2) The trial court failed to determine a periodic payment plan consistent with the financial ability of Appellant, as permitted by La. Code Crim. P. art. 883.2(D) and as appropriate under the circumstances of this case.

         Errors Patent

         Our review of the record pursuant to La.Code Crim.P. art. 920 reveals no errors patent on the face of the record.

         Excessiveness ...


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