FROM THE THIRTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF VERNON,
NO. 81423 HONORABLE C. ANTHONY EAVES, DISTRICT JUDGE
Annette Roach COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Joshua X.
Skinner COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
X. Griffin COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Joshua X. Griffin
composed of Marc T. Amy, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and David E.
E. CHATELAIN [*] JUDGE
State of Louisiana charged Defendant, Joshua X. Griffin, by
bill of indictment with the first degree murder of Jason
Perry (Perry), a violation of La.R.S. 14:30; conspiracy to
commit armed robbery, a violation of La.R.S. 14:26 and 14:64;
and armed robbery, a violation of La.R.S. 14:64. Thereafter,
the State filed a notice of intent to not seek the death
penalty. On August 15, 2015, a jury returned a verdict of
guilty on each charge. The trial court subsequently granted a
Motion in Arrest of Judgment and dismissed the armed robbery
September 25, 2015, the trial court sentenced Defendant to
life imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of
parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on the
conviction of first degree murder and three and one-half
years on the conviction of conspiracy to commit armed
robbery, to be served consecutively. Defendant now appeals,
raising four assignments of error through counsel and six
assignments pro se.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
9:00 p.m. on April 13, 2011, Andre Porter (Porter), Dontrez
Banks (Banks), and Defendant met at Paul's Truck Stop in
Leesville, Louisiana. Sometime around then, the three men
discussed going to Perry's residence north of Rosepine
initially for the purpose of stealing some marijuana. All
three men then proceeded down Highway 171 (Hwy 171) towards
Perry's residence in Porter's vehicle. At some point,
a text was sent from Banks's phone to Perry, presumably
inquiring about the purchase of marijuana.
quickly after they arrived at the residence, Perry approached
Porter's vehicle, and an altercation ensued between all
four men, which resulted in Perry's death from one of
seven stab and slicing wounds he sustained in the
altercation. Perry's cell phone, wallet, and marijuana
were taken from his pockets. Defendant, Porter, and Banks
then left and returned to Paul's Truck Stop, discarding
Perry's cell phone and driver's license on Hwy 171
along the way.
that evening, Arkie Prosise, a longtime friend of Perry,
arrived at Perry's residence around 10:00 p.m. When he
turned into the driveway, he saw Perry lying on the ground,
unresponsive, and he summoned help. Shortly thereafter, Chief
Dennis Parrott (Chief Parrott) of the Rosepine Police
Department arrived. After checking for a pulse, he called to
ensure an ambulance was en route and to alert the Vernon
Parish Sheriff's Office (VPSO) of a possible homicide.
that day, Perry had contacted Chief Parrott regarding
threatening text messages he had received from Defendant.
Chief Parrott had advised the victim to obtain the messages
and bring them to the station. When Detective Mike Martin
arrived on the scene, Chief Parrott told him about the text
messages, the printouts of which were recovered from the
victim's car at the scene. Also while at the scene, Chief
Parrott informed the lead detective, Ray Ortiz (Det. Ortiz),
that he was familiar with the victim from an incident that
occurred the prior night when he had responded to that same
location and taken a report of a busted window in the
victim's residence; Defendant was a person of interest in
before midnight, Perry's live-in girlfriend, Briana
Estrada (Estrada), who was also the mother of Defendant's
two children, arrived and spoke with Det. Ortiz regarding
threatening text messages she had received from Defendant
that she explained were directed at Perry. During her
interview at the scene, Estrada showed the detective her
phone, which contained the text messages. Det. Ortiz also
spoke with the victim's brother, Justin Perdue (Perdue),
who told Det. Ortiz about his belief that Defendant would
have been someone responsible for his brother's death as
he was aware of a confrontation between the two men and
threats Defendant made towards his brother.
Ortiz reported this information to Chief Detective Marvin
Hilton (Det. Hilton) at the scene. Det. Hilton then sent
officers to locate and detain Defendant. In the early morning
hours, Deputies Jason Horton (Deputy Horton) and John Adams
(Deputy Adams) arrived at the home of Defendant's
parents, located at 1107 Maple Grove Circle in Leesville,
Louisiana. Defendant's father, Carl Griffin, answered the
door and granted the officers permission to enter the
residence. He then led the officers to his son's bedroom
and opened the door. There, the officers found Defendant in
bed, apparently asleep and sweating profusely. Deputy Horton
then advised Defendant of his Miranda rights,
handcuffed him with his hands behind his back, and led him to
his police unit where the deputy placed Defendant in the back
seat. After calling Det. Hilton, Deputy Horton informed
Defendant a detective was on his way to speak with him. At
this time, Defendant told Deputy Horton that he believed his
blood sugar was low. Deputy Horton immediately removed
Defendant from the vehicle, uncuffed the Defendant, and
recuffed him with his hands in front, which allowed Defendant
to test his blood sugar levels. The monitor that one of his
family members brought from the residence gave a reading of
37. Defendant's mother then brought some candy and a
fruit drink, which Defendant consumed. Shortly thereafter,
Defendant stated he felt better. Det. Ortiz then met Deputy
Horton outside the Griffin home and instructed him to take
Defendant to the station.
the station, the detectives noticed Defendant had a cut on
the back of his right leg. Initially, Defendant refused to
talk to the detectives, but in an interview around 5:30 a.m.,
Defendant admitted to Det. Ortiz he fought with the victim
the night of the murder, but he denied stabbing or killing
Perry. During the interview, Defendant implicated a man he
referred to as "Cory." Detective Steven Moss and
another officer then took Defendant to find
"Cory's" home, but the search was fruitless as
Defendant eventually conceded he made up "Cory."
Defendant again asked to speak with detectives. The interview
was conducted on April 14, 2011, at 9:09 a.m. and ended at
9:25 a.m. Both the recording and the transcription of the
interview were introduced and admitted into evidence at
Defendant's trial. During the interview, Defendant stated
he knew the victim because he purchased marijuana from him
and because the victim dated his ex-girlfriend. Defendant
related that he and Porter, along with another friend, went
to the victim's home to purchase "weed" or
hydro-marijuana. When the three arrived at the victim's
home, they asked the victim if they could weigh the drugs.
According to Defendant, while the victim was standing outside
of Porter's car, Porter's friend hit the victim
through the window, and the three guys exited the car and
jumped on the victim. Defendant admitted that he hit the
victim with his fist multiple times, until the victim fell to
the ground, and that he kicked the victim. He indicated the
three perpetrators took everything out of the victim's
pockets but denied using any weapons. Defendant recalled,
when they left the victim's home, the victim was alive.
After leaving the scene, Defendant saw Porter throw the
victim's phone out of the car. Later, Defendant returned
to his home. When asked how he received the cut on his leg,
Defendant stated he believed he cut it on a tree.
was then formally arrested at 10:00 a.m. on April 14, 2011.
The information he provided further led to the apprehension
of Porter and Banks, who were both interviewed later that
Ortiz interviewed Porter on April 14, 2011, from 5:37 p.m. to
5:53 p.m. The transcription of the interview was introduced
into evidence at trial. During the interview, Porter recalled
Banks called him and requested that they meet at a truck
stop. When Porter arrived at the truck stop, Banks and
Defendant were already there. Defendant then asked Porter to
drive him to the victim's home in Rosepine. Once they
arrived at the victim's home, the victim walked toward
Porter's vehicle. Defendant then jumped out of the
vehicle and started to fight the victim. Banks also exited
the vehicle, but Porter stated that he could not see Banks
fighting the victim. Porter became uncomfortable and turned
the car around. He recalled Banks reentered the vehicle,
followed by Defendant, and Porter drove away. Porter did not
see the victim, but when they were driving away, he saw a
bloody knife in Defendant's hand. He described the knife
as a blade with brass knuckles on it. When he saw Defendant
with the victim's identification, phone, and wallet,
Porter told Defendant to get the victim's things out of
was interviewed by Det. Ortiz on April 14, 2011, at 7:58 p.m.
The interview ended at 8:07 p.m. Banks told the detective
that Porter picked him up from his home around 8:00 or 9:00
p.m. on April 13. They met Defendant at a truck stop. The
three men then traveled in a vehicle to the victim's
residence. While proceeding to the victim's home,
Defendant told the men he was planning to beat up the victim.
Banks stated that, when they arrived at the victim's
home, Defendant exited the vehicle, while he and Porter
stayed in the car. Banks estimated Defendant was out of the
vehicle two or three minutes. When Defendant got back to the
car, the three men left. Banks stated Defendant said he beat
up the victim, but Defendant did not mention he stabbed the
victim. After Banks returned home, Porter called at 1:00 a.m.
and told him Defendant had killed the victim.
subsequent interview, Banks amended his statement, recalling
that Defendant "started stabbing" the victim as
soon as he got "in range" and that, when Perry
"wasn't going down[, ]" Porter came from the
driver's side of his car and started punching Perry.
Porter then grabbed the victim's cell phone and money,
while Defendant "got the weed[.]" Both Porter and
Defendant then "hopped back in the car[, ]" and
they all "rolled off[.]"
conducted another interview of Defendant on April 15, 2011,
at 11:28 a.m., after Defendant had again requested to speak
to them. Detectives Noel Yates and Hilton were present for
the recorded and transcribed statement, which was introduced
into evidence as well. Defendant stated he, along with Banks
and Porter, planned to steal an ounce of hydro-marijuana from
the victim and admitted he was carrying a pair of brass
knuckles, which had a knife protruding from it. He recalled,
as the victim approached the car, Banks hit the victim, and
the three men exited the vehicle and jumped on top of the
victim. Defendant admitted he punched the victim with his
brass knuckles and unintentionally stabbed him with the
knife. Additionally, he recalled he accidentally cut Banks
during the fight, but he did not recall how he was cut on his
own leg. Defendant admitted he was the only one with a knife.
He further explained the only reason the group went to the
victim's home was to steal the hydro-marijuana and to
fight the victim; he did not intend to kill Perry, though.
During the fight, the group took the victim's phone.
After Defendant and his friends left the victim's home,
they threw the phone out the car window as they were
traveling. When Defendant returned to his home, he threw the
knife in a trashcan next to his house.
the three men gave conflicting statements to the police, they
all agreed Defendant was the one who stabbed Perry with the
brass knuckle blade during the robbery. The autopsy revealed
that, of the seven stabbing and slicing wounds inflicted,
only the stab wound to the victim's upper left chest was
lethal, puncturing the lung and aorta, which resulted in
police never recovered the murder weapon, although
Perry's cell phone and driver's license were found in
the median along Hwy 171. Officers obtained a search warrant
for the Griffin residence, but the search did not produce any
evidence directly linking Defendant to the crime, although
the pants he wore that evening were recovered from the
residence's washing machine.
2, 2011, a grand jury indicted Defendant with (1) first
degree murder, (2) criminal conspiracy to commit armed
robbery, and (3) armed robbery. At his arraignment on July 5,
2011, Defendant entered a not guilty plea to each charge. The
State charged both Banks and Porter with the same crimes.
to plea agreements, both Banks and Porter, on September 5,
2012, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and conspiracy to commit
simple robbery, with sentencing deferred pending their
testimony and cooperation at Defendant's trial. As the
factual basis for their pleas, the State contended:
[I]f tried the State could prove that there was an agreement
between [all three defendants] to travel to the Rosepine area
. . ., where the victim, Jason Perry, lived for the purpose
of committing a theft or robbery of Marijuana from Mr. Perry.
These three individuals, in fact, in [Porter]'s vehicle
that met at Paul's Truck Stop, they did, in fact, travel
to the Rosepine area to Mr. Perry's residence.
Immediately upon arrival at that residence, which was a
trailer, apparently from the information developed by law
enforcement and from statements from all three defendants, a
fight ensued involving all parties, at least as far as - -
certainly, as far as being a principal is concerned and as a
result of that the victim, Mr. Perry, died as a result of
that altercation. The parties then left and went back to
Paul's Truck Stop and eventually wound up at their three
respective residences that night.
March 6, 2013, the State filed its motion not to seek the
death penalty. Defendant subsequently filed a Motion to
Suppress Statements of the Defendant, Evidence Found on His
Person, and the Fruits of All Information Obtained as the
Result of the Unlawful Arrest of the Defendant on August 6,
2013. The trial court heard the motion on August 27, 2014,
and, after reviewing post-hearing memoranda, denied the
motion on October 8, 2014.
same date, the State and the defense met to discuss a
possible plea, with trial set for October 20, 2014. During
plea negotiations, the State and the defense agreed there
might be a plea that could be taken to manslaughter,
conditioned on the victim's family's approval, and
the defense moved, without objection from the State, to
continue the plea date and trial date. At that time, the
State and defense agreed that the trial court could fix a
court date for the taking of a possible plea. However, after
speaking with the victim's family the next day, October
9, 2014, and again on October 14, 2014, the State contacted
Defendant's attorney to inform him that, in two separate
conversations with the family, they had rejected any plea
agreement; therefore, the possible plea was not enforceable.
Defendant than filed a Motion and Order to Enforce Plea
Agreement, which was heard on October 22, 2014. After taking
the matter under advisement, the trial court granted the
motion, finding an agreement existed between the State and
Defendant upon which Defendant relied to his detriment. This
court granted the State's writ application and vacated
the trial court's ruling, finding in a two-to-one ruling
that the defense failed to prove there was a binding
agreement between the State and Defendant. State v.
Griffin, 14-1315 (La.App. 3 Cir. 2/11/15) (unpublished
opinion). The supreme court denied Defendant's writ
application. State v. Griffin, 15-540 (La. 4/17/15),
168 So.3d 405.
to trial, the State amended the indictment to include La.R.S.
14:30(A)(1) and (A)(6) on count one in direct response to
defense counsel's Motion for Bill of Particulars and
Defendant's pro se Motion to Quash, both filed on August
10, 2015. It was further clarified that, with regard to
(A)(1), the specific crimes at issue were only second degree
robbery, simple robbery, and armed robbery. Thereafter, the
trial court denied the motion to quash. Although the court
did not specifically state it was also denying the Bill of
Particulars, it is clear that the court determined the
amendment to the indictment sufficiently answered the Bill of
Particulars. The trial court likewise denied Defendant's
pro se Motion to Suppress, which was also filed on August 10,
selection began and concluded on August 10, 2015, with trial
commencing the next day. On August 15, 2015, the trial court
charged the jury, which retired to deliberate at 11:40 a.m. A
little over an hour later at 12:45 p.m., the jury returned
with an eleven guilty and one not guilty verdict to the
charge of first degree murder. For the remaining two
charges-conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed
robbery-the jury returned unanimous verdicts of guilty.
August 31, 2015, defense counsel filed a Motion in Arrest of
Judgment and a Motion for Judgment of Acquittal, along with
memoranda in support of both motions. The trial court denied
the motion for acquittal by Order dated September 1, 2015.
Defense counsel then filed a Motion for New Trial and a
Supplemental Motion in Arrest of Judgment, all of which the
trial court heard on September 23, 2015. After considering
each motion, the trial court granted the motion in arrest of
judgment, setting aside the guilty verdict for armed robbery,
with the State's agreement, on the grounds of double
jeopardy, as armed robbery was one of the underlying crimes
used to prove felony murder. The remaining motions were
September 25, 2015, the trial court sentenced the defendant
to life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole,
probation, or suspension of sentence for first degree murder
and three and one-half years at hard labor for conspiracy to
commit armed robbery, to be served consecutively. Defendant
filed a Motion for Appeal and Designation of Record on
September 29, 2015, which was granted on October 9, 2015.
through counsel, raises four assignments of error:
(1) The trial court erred in failing to suppress the
statements of Appellant as well as any evidence derived as a
result of these statements.
(2) Appellant requests this court re-examine this court's
pre-trial ruling reversing the trial court's grant of
Appellant's Motion to Enforce Plea Agreement.
(3) The trial court erred in allowing the opinion testimony
of Detective Steven Ray Moss with regard to the nature of
(4)The prosecutor permitted the false testimony of two
co-defendants, Andre Porter and Dontrez Banks, to be
introduced at the trial of this case, in violation of
Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264, 79 S.Ct. 1173, 3
L.Ed.2d 1217 (1959), thereby depriving Appellant of a fair
also raises five assignments of error pro se:
(1)The trial court's instructions to the jurors on the
definition of first degree murder was a constructive
amendment of the indictment;
(2) There was insufficient evidence to convict petitioner of
murder during the distribution of illegal drugs;
(3) Appellant was denied his right to a complete defense when
the trial court sustained the state's objection to
appellant's trial counsel's cross examination of the
state's witness[es] as to their admissions of guilt
during guilty plea trials;
(4) Appellant has been denied his right to appeal where the
court refuses to provide appellant with copies of voir dire
(5) Appellant suffered ineffective assistance of trial
counsel under two separate theorys [sic] . . . .:
(a) trial counsel's failure to seek a mistrial or
maintain an objection to the court proceeding to trial with a
petiti [sic] jury tainted by predisposed comments of
appellant's guilt was ineffective assistance of counsel;
(b) [c]ounsel's failure to object to the erroneous jury
instruction was ineffective assistance of counsel[.]
November 14, 2016, this court, after hearing oral arguments,
ordered the record supplemented with the voir dire
transcript. Additional briefing notices were issued following
receipt of the supplemental record. While Defendant and the
State submitted supplemental briefs to this court,
Defendant's appellate counsel chose not to do so. In his
supplemental brief to this court, Defendant further asserts
his trial counsel rendered him ineffective assistance when
(1) failed to object to the entire voir dire proceedings; (2)
failed to seek a mistrial after hearing a prospective juror
taint the entire jury pool with prejudicial opinions of
guilt; (3) failed to request individual questioning of
prospective jurors during voir; and (4) failed to object to
the systematic exclusion of all of the blacks from his jury.
accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, we have reviewed
this appeal for errors patent on the face of the record.
Having found none, we turn now to a discussion of each
assignment of error, beginning with the four assignments
raised by appellate counsel.
OF ERROR NO. 1:
trial court erred in failing to suppress the statements of
Appellant as well as any evidence derived as a result of
first assignment of error, defense counsel argues the trial
court erred in failing to suppress Defendant's statements
as well as any evidence derived as a result of these
statements. During the suppression hearing held prior to
trial, the defense set forth the following grounds for
(1)Defendant was arrested in his home without an arrest
warrant and without exigent circumstances or other exceptions
to the warrant requirement;
(2) Defendant was subjected to unlawful interrogation while
being unlawfully held; and
(3) Defendant was suffering symptoms and effects of severely
low blood sugar at the time he was unlawfully held and
previously noted, the trial court denied Defendant's
motion to suppress. In its written ruling, the trial court
first addressed the constitutionality of the arrest, starting
with a discussion concerning the time at which Defendant was
arrested. While the State contended Defendant was merely
detained until his formal arrest at 10:00 a.m. on the morning
after the crime, the trial court agreed with the defense
that, based on the totality of circumstances, Defendant was
arrested when he was first detained by Deputy Horton and
taken to the station because "a reasonable person in the
Defendant's place would not have felt that he was free to
stay home." The trial court based its ruling on the
holdings in Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 111
S.Ct. 2382 (1991) and Kaupp v. Texas, 538 U.S. 626,
123 S.Ct. 1843 (2003), in which the Supreme Court found that
an arrest occurs when a reasonable person would not feel free
to decline the officer's requests or otherwise terminate
the encounter given the totality of the circumstances. It
further remarked upon the striking similarities between the
circumstances in Kaupp, wherein a seventeen-year-old
was awakened at 3 a.m. and escorted to the police station
shoeless and in handcuffs, and the circumstances in this case
where "Defendant was awakened at 1 a.m. and escorted to
the police station in handcuffs." In neither
circumstance, the trial court reasoned, would a reasonable
person "know that the handcuffs were merely for the
protection of the officers and that it cannot be seriously
suggested that under the circumstances a reasonable person
would feel free when questioning started [if] he wanted to go
home and go back to bed."
trial court then addressed the legality of the warrantless
arrest, finding there were no exigent circumstances that
might justify the arrest because the police "had no
reason to believe that the Defendant was a flight risk or
might destroy evidence[, ]" citing Payton v. New
York, 445 U.S. 573, 100 S.Ct. 1371 (1980). Looking next
for probable cause, which, when present, serves as an
exemption to the exclusionary rule that would "bar the
State's use of a statement made by the defendant outside
of his home, even though the statement is taken after an
arrest made in the home in violation of Payton[,
]" the trial court reasoned:
Probable cause exists if, at the time of the arrest, the
officer has within his knowledge trustworthy facts and
circumstances sufficient to warrant a reasonably prudent
person to believe that the suspect has committed a crime.
Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89 (1964). Probable cause is
based on the totality of the circumstances. Illinois v.
Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 230 (1983).
Officers knew that a murder had been committed and had the
body. Officers also knew that Rosepine police had responded
to an incident the night before involving broken windows in
the victim's home where the Defendant was the main person
of interest. Officers knew the victim had been living with
and dating the Defendant's ex-girlfriend who was the
mother of the Defendant's children. The victim's
brother told officers about the "beef" between the
victim and the Defendant, and that the Defendant had
threatened the victim before.
As stated in the affidavit for a search warrant, the
Defendant's former girlfriend told police that the
Defendant repeatedly made threats towards her and the men she
dated. She also showed police text messages on her phone from
the Defendant. The text messages read: "imma bitch but
who ran well see tonight at his house"; "leave my
lonely like you did last time want to run huh its war";
"I aint never been fake imma bring it back again lol
watch how the ambassador get down when u f[***] your own kids
money over bitch you can get knocked off too"; and
"wanna test me i know where u be dude." The message
"i know where u be dude, " combined with
information from the girlfriend, makes it clear that at least
some of the threatening messages were directed at the victim.
The message "bitch you can get knocked off
too" (emphasis added) indicates that the
Defendant's threats were directed beyond just his
ex-girlfriend and could include murder.
Given the totality of the circumstances a reasonably prudent
person could believe that the Defendant had committed the
crime. There was probable cause for the Defendant's
the trial court found "the exclusionary rule does not
apply because police did have probable cause for the
defense counsel's second grounds for exclusion, based on
the involuntariness of the confession given Defendant's
low blood sugar and corresponding inability to comprehend the
consequences of his confession, the trial court found
(alteration in original):
Voluntariness is assessed by looking at the totality of the
circumstances, including the suspect's age, education,
and mental and physical condition, along with setting,
duration, and manner of interrogation. Spano v. New
York, 360 U.S. 315 (1959).
Just because a defendant is suffering from a medical
condition does not mean that he cannot give a voluntary
statement. State v. Hahn, 526 So.2d 260 (La.App. 2
Cir. 1988), writ denied, 532 So.2d 150 (La. 1988).
[W]hen a defendant contends that his mental capacity was
impaired because of his physical condition at the time of his
interrogation, the jurisprudence has consistently held that
the confession will be admissible unless the defendant
establishes that he was impaired to such a degree as to
negate his comprehension and to render him unconscious of the
consequences of what he was saying.
State v. Guidry, 94-678, p. 5 (La.App. 3 Cir.
12/7/94), 647 So.2d 502, 506 (citing State v.
Narcisse, 426 So.2d 118 (La. 1983), cert.
denied, 464 U.S. 865 (1983)).
In this case, the State offered the testimony of three police
officers and documents which defendant signed to support the
voluntariness of the statement. All of the police officers
testified that defendant gave his statement freely and
voluntarily, without force, coercion, or inducements of any
The Defendant's blood sugar was tested and found to be 37
around the time of his arrest. He was given candy and some
kind of drink and his symptoms alleviated. Because he was not
tested again, it is uncertain what his blood sugar level was
throughout interrogation. However, the defense's own
medical expert testified that, based on the officers'
testimonies and other evidence, the Defendant's blood
sugar was at least "high enough to give him normal brain
function" and would have been "steadily
rising" throughout the interrogation. Based on the
evidence, the Defendant was capable of comprehension and was
conscious of the consequences of what he was saying.
It is hereby ordered that the Defendant's Motion to
Suppress is DENIED.
appeal, we review the entire record to determine the
correctness of a trial court's ruling on a motion to
suppress, affording great weight to a trial court's
denial, which will not be set aside "unless a
preponderance of the evidence clearly favors
suppression." State v. Snelling, 09-1313, p. 2
(La.App. 3 Cir. 5/5/10), 36 So.3d 1060, 1064, writ
denied, 10-1301 (La. 12/17/10), 51 So.3d 16. As this
court has further explained:
"In determining the legal correctness of the trial
court's ruling on a defendant's motion to suppress, a
reviewing court is not limited to evidence adduced at the
hearing on that motion; it may also consider all pertinent
evidence given at the trial of the case." State v.
Guidry, 94-678, p. 6 (La.App. 3 Cir. 12/7/94); 647 So.2d
. . . .
A determination of the weight of evidence presented is a
question of fact. The resolution of a matter where
conflicting testimony exists requires a determination of
credibility of the witness and is a matter of weight of the
evidence and not sufficiency. Tibbs v. Florida, 457
U.S. 31, 102 S.Ct. 2211, 72 L.Ed.2d 652 (1982). Such a
determination rests solely with the trier of fact who may
accept or reject, in whole or in part, the testimony of any
witness. State v. Nolan, 503 So.2d 1186 (La.App. 3
Cir.), writ denied, 507 So.2d 226 (La.1987).
A fact finder's discretion will be impinged upon only to
the extent necessary to guarantee the fundamental protection
of due process of law. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S.
307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). Where rational
triers of fact could disagree as to the interpretation of the
evidence, the rational trier's view of all evidence most
favorable to the prosecution must be adopted on review. Only
irrational decisions to convict by the trier of fact will be
overturned. See State v. Mussall, 523 So.2d 1305
(La.1988). Determination of credibility will not be disturbed
on appeal in the absence of manifest error. State v.
Sanders, 542 So.2d 1134 (La.App. 3 Cir.1989).
State v. Green, 96-208, pp. 3, 8 (La.App. 3 Cir.
11/6/96), 683 So.2d 1292, 1294, 1297, writ denied,
96-2892 (La. 6/13/97), 695 So.2d 963.
brief to this court, defense counsel contends Defendant was
arrested in his home without an arrest warrant and without
exigent circumstances or other exceptions to the warrant
requirement. Counsel further argues the State failed to prove
an exception to "legitimize this warrantless arrest[,
]" contending none of the State's witnesses
articulated exigent circumstances to justify entering
Defendant's parents' home.
conceding there was an arrest, the State in opposition
contends that, though the trial court did not err in finding
probable cause, it did err in finding no exigent
circumstances. The State further asserts Defendant's
father gave his consent for the officers to enter his home.
applicable to warrantless arrests in a private home has long
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
protects "[t]he right of the people to be secure in
their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures." U.S. Const. amend.
IV. Similarly, the Louisiana Constitution provides that
"[e]very person shall be secure in his person, property,
communications, houses, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches, seizures, or invasions of
privacy." La. Const. art. 1, § 5. Warrantless
entries into the home for arrest or seizure are invalid in
the absence of exigent circumstances. Payton v. New
York, 445 U.S. 573, 100 S.Ct. 1371, 63 L.Ed.2d 639
(1980). The Fourth Amendment has drawn a firm line at the
entrance to the home, and a police officer therefore needs
both probable cause to arrest or search and exigent
circumstances to justify a non-consensual warrantless
intrusion into a private premises. State v. Talbert,
449 So.2d 446 (La.1984); State v. Hathaway, 411
So.2d 1074 (La.1982). Probable cause to arrest without a
warrant exists when the facts and circumstances known to the
arresting officer are sufficient to justify a man of ordinary
caution in believing that the person to be arrested has
committed or was committing a crime. Beck v. Ohio,
379 U.S. 89, 85 S.Ct. 223, 13 L.Ed.2d 142 (1964); La.C.Cr.P.
art. 213; State v. Raheem, 464 So.2d 293 (La.1985).
State v. Brisban, 00-3437, pp. 4-5 (La. 2/26/02),
809 So.2d 923, 927 (alterations in original). Though
generally both federal and state constitutional guarantees
prohibit police from making warrantless entries into private
homes, an exception to the warrant requirement is recognized
"where voluntary consent has been obtained, either from
the property owner or from a third party who possesses common
authority over the premises." State v. Simmons,
08-269, p. 12 (La.App. 5 Cir. 10/28/08), 996 So.2d 1177,
1184, writ denied, 09-15 (La. 9/25/09), 18 So.3d 81
(citing Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177, 110
S.Ct. 2793 (1990)). "Consent may be given by one having
'common authority' over the premises sought to be
searched. Common authority is based on 'mutual use of the
property by persons generally having joint access or control
for most purposes.'" State v. Edwards,
97-1797, p. 11 (La. 7/2/99), 750 So.2d 893, 901, cert.
denied, 528 U.S. 1026, 120 S.Ct. 542 (1999) (quoting
U.S. v. Matlock, 415 U.S. 164, 94 S.Ct. 988 (1974)).
review of the entire record clearly reveals Defendant's
father consented to the warrantless entry into his home. At
the hearing on the motion to suppress, Deputy Horton
testified that Carl Griffin opened the door of the residence,
Q. And what, if anything, was the conversation you had
between yourself and Carl Griffin?
A. I advised Mr. Griffin of myself and Deputy Adams were with
the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office and that we was [sic]
trying to locate Joshua Griffin.
Q. And did you ask if he knew where - - whereabouts of Joshua
A. Yes, sir, he stated he was in his bedroom inside of the
Q. Did you ask permission to enter the residence of 1107
Maple Grove Circle from Mr. Carl Griffin?
Q. And what, if anything, did he say?
A. He said that we could.
Q. And what, if anything, did you do next?
A. Mr. Griffin then escorted myself and Deputy Adams to a
bedroom that had a closed door, he then opened the bedroom
door and we walked in.
Q. And did you find Joshua Griffin in that bedroom?
A. Yes, sir, he was laying [sic] in bed.
Adams, who accompanied Deputy Horton to the Griffin residence
and assisted in Defendant's arrest, also testified they
"were invited into the residence." Therefore, the
next question we must resolve is whether the officers had
probable cause to arrest Defendant.
supreme court has expounded, "[p]robable cause to arrest
exists when the facts and circumstances within an
officer's knowledge, and of which he has reasonable and
trustworthy information, are sufficient to justify a man of
average caution in the belief that the accused has committed
an offense." State v. Scales, 93-2003, p. 6
(La. 5/22/95), 655 So.2d 1326, 1331, cert. denied,
516 U.S. 1050, 116 S.Ct. 716 (1996) (citing State v.
Elliot, 407 So.2d 659 (La.1981); State v.
Wilson, 467 So.2d 503 (La.), cert. denied, 474
U.S. 911, 106 S.Ct. 281 (1985)). The court has further
cautioned that probable cause is not absolute cause, and a
court, in determining its existence, "must examine facts
and circumstances within the arresting officer's
knowledge in light of the experience of reasonable people,
not legal technicians." Id. (citing State
v. Billiot, 370 So.2d 539 (La.), cert. denied,
444 U.S. 935, 100 S.Ct. 284 (1979)). This determination,
however, "[']does not rest on the officer's
subjective beliefs or attitudes but turns on a completely
objective evaluation of all of [the] circumstances
known to the officer at the time of his challenged
action.[']" State v. Slaydon, 05-794, p. 6
(La.App. 3 Cir. 2/1/06), 921 So.2d 1199, 1204 (alteration in
original) (quoting State v. Anthony, 98-406 (La.
4/11/00), 776 So.2d 376).
State v. Freeman, 503 So.2d 753 (La.App. 3 Cir.
1987), which the State cited, the defendant challenged the
denial of his motion to suppress evidence, on appeal, for
lack of probable cause to arrest. This court found probable
cause for the arrest explaining, in pertinent part:
At the time of the defendant's arrest, the arresting
officer knew the following facts: The victim had been shot in
the head with a shotgun; the culprit probably stole the
victim's car; the perpetrator was probably wearing shoes
with serrated soles; the shoeprints of the serrated soled
shoes lead from the Fontenot residence to the victim's
house; soon after the estimated time of death, a black male
wearing a tan cap was seen speeding in the victim's car;
defendant is black; defendant had just admitted to owning
shoes with what appeared to be identical sole serrations as
those seen at the murder scene; similar serrated-sole
shoeprints were seen around the Fontenot residence; a tan cap
fitting the earlier description had just been located in the
house where defendant resided; the officer knew the defendant
had previously lied when initially asked about the ownership
of the shoes. It appears that with the ...