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State v. Griffin

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

April 20, 2017




          Annette Roach COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Joshua X. Griffin

          Asa A. Skinner COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana

          Joshua X. Griffin COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Joshua X. Griffin

          Court composed of Marc T. Amy, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and David E. Chatelain, Judges.


         The 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 conviction.

         On 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.


         Around 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.

         Very 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.

         Later 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.

         Earlier 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 that incident.

         Sometime 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.

         Det. 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, [1] 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.

         Once at 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."

         Thereafter, 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.

         Defendant 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 day.

         Det. 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 his car.

         Banks 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.

         In a 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[.]"[2]

         Detectives 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.

         Although 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 massive hemorrhaging.

         The 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.

         On June 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.

         Pursuant 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.

         On 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.

         On that 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.

         Prior 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, 2015.

         Jury 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.

         On 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 denied.

         On 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.


         Defendant, 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 text messages.
(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 trial.

         Defendant 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 transcripts;
(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; and
(b) [c]ounsel's failure to object to the erroneous jury instruction was ineffective assistance of counsel[.]

         On 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 he:

(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.


         In 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.



         The trial court erred in failing to suppress the statements of Appellant as well as any evidence derived as a result of these statements.

         In this 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 suppression:

(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 interrogated.

         As 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."

         The 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 arrest.

         Accordingly, the trial court found "the exclusionary rule does not apply because police did have probable cause for the arrest."

         Regarding 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):[3]

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 kind.
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.

         On 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 502, 507.
. . . .
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.

         In 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.

         While 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.

         The law applicable to warrantless arrests in a private home has long provided:

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)).

         Our 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, explaining:

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 Griffin were?
A. Yes, sir, he stated he was in his bedroom inside of the residence.
Q. Did you ask permission to enter the residence of 1107 Maple Grove Circle from Mr. Carl Griffin?
A. Yes.
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.

         Deputy 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.

         As our 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).

         In 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 ...

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