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State v. Lattin

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

May 2, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA, Appellee
v.
ANNTERNETTE DENISE LATTIN, Appellant

         Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 342541 Honorable Ramona L. Emanuel, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT BY: Peggy J. Sullivan Counsel for Appellant

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          J. AARON CRAWFORD WILLIAM C. GASKINS TOMMY J. JOHNSON Assistant District Attorneys

          Before WILLIAMS, MOORE, and LOLLEY, JJ.

          WILLIAMS, J.

         The defendant, Annternette Denise Lattin, was charged by bill of information with home invasion, in violation of La. R.S. 14:62.8. Following a jury trial, she was found guilty of the responsive verdict of unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, a violation of La. R.S. 14:62.3. The trial court sentenced the defendant to serve one year in prison at hard labor. The sentence was suspended, and she was placed on supervised probation for a period of one year. Additionally, the court ordered the defendant to pay court costs or serve 30 days in the parish jail in lieu of payment. For the following reasons, we affirm the defendant's conviction. We vacate the defendant's sentence and remand this matter to the trial court with instructions.

         FACTS

         The defendant, Annternette Lattin, and James Leachman were involved in a relationship, which resulted in the birth of "Frank."[1] The defendant and Leachman ended their relationship soon after Frank was born.

         The events thereafter became a matter of dispute during the trial. It is undisputed that neither Leachman nor the defendant had a court order with regard to the custody of Frank. Leachman testified that the defendant relinquished custody of Frank to him when Frank was two months old and the child has lived with him since that time.[2] Conversely, the defendant testified that she has lived "back and forth" between Shreveport and Memphis, Tennessee, for most of her life. She maintained that despite her living arrangement, she never relinquished custody of Frank. She stated that she and Leachman entered into an informal custody agreement, whereby she would have physical custody of Frank during the school year, and Leachman would have physical custody of the child during the summer months. The defendant testified that Frank visited Leachman during the summer of "2013 or 2014"; thereafter, Leachman refused to return him to her custody.

         On November 26, 2014, the defendant and her sister, Kenya Houston, went to Leachman's apartment and asked to visit Frank. Leachman shared the apartment with his girlfriend, Miriam Victoria Ochoa, Frank, and the three-year-old daughter Leachman shared with Ochoa.

         When the defendant and Houston arrived at the apartment, Leachman answered the door and allowed Frank to visit with them on the "porch" of the apartment. Meanwhile, Ochoa took her daughter to a bedroom located in the rear of the apartment.

         Leachman testified as follows: when the defendant arrived, Frank appeared nervous and stated to him, "[D]on't leave me[;] just watch"; the defendant knelt down to hug Frank; he heard the defendant say, "I should just take him"; the defendant picked Frank up and attempted to "break and run with him"; he "grabbed" Frank to prevent the defendant from fleeing with him; Houston "jumped in" and a struggle ensued between Leachman, the defendant and Houston; he managed to pull Frank from the defendant's grasp; he pushed Frank into the apartment; the defendant called an unidentified man for assistance; before the man reached the front porch, he (Leachman) hurried inside the apartment and shut the door; the defendant, Houston and the unidentified man forcibly opened the door and entered the apartment; Frank retreated to a back bedroom where Ochoa and her daughter were located; an altercation ensued between him, the defendant, Houston and the unidentified man; the defendant, Houston and the unidentified man attempted to walk toward the back bedroom where Frank had gone; he attempted to block their path; the defendant, Houston and the man began "punching and scratching" him; the defendant, Houston and the man reached the back bedroom where Ochoa and the children were located; he "tried to fight them off"; the defendant, Houston and the man opened the bedroom door, grabbed Ochoa by her hair and "started yanking on her head" in an attempt to pull her out of the bedroom; "an all-out battle royal" ensued; "everybody" began to "tussle"; Ochoa fled the bedroom with her daughter; the defendant, Houston and the man attacked him as he held Frank; he managed to shield Frank from most of the blows; during the struggle, the defendant grabbled his testicles and pulled them; the defendant also grabbed Frank's neck and began "twisting it"; the defendant stopped twisting Frank's neck after he (Leachman) warned her that she could "break it"; the male accomplice told him "Just let [Frank] go, man. Just let him go"; he refused to let go of Frank; the altercation continued until police officers arrived;[3] by the time the police officers arrived, his apartment looked "like a tornado came through it"; he did not give the defendant, Houston or the man consent to enter the apartment; and he, Ochoa and Frank sustained several injuries during the incident.

         During his direct testimony, Leachman identified photographs taken on the night of the incident. The photographs were admitted into evidence and shown to the jury.[4] On cross-examination, Leachman admitted that although Frank lived with him, he did not have a court order granting him full custody of the child. He testified that he filed a petition for sole custody of the child after the incident in question; the petition was pending at the time of trial.

         Miriam Ochoa testified as follows: she and Leachman were in their apartment when they heard a knock at the door; when she saw that the defendant was at the door, she took her daughter into the bedroom; soon thereafter, she heard "a lot of yelling and screaming"; she left the bedroom and walked toward the front door; she saw the defendant "and two other people" trying to force their way through the door; Leachman tried to push Frank inside the apartment; she attempted to "hold the door" to prevent the defendant and the others from entering the apartment; the defendant and the others forced their way inside the apartment; she "grabbed the two kids and ran to the bedroom"; the bedroom door did not have a lock, so she attempted to hold the door to prevent the defendant and the others from entering the bedroom; "someone" reached inside a crack in the bedroom door, grabbed her by her hair and began pulling her hair; the group gained entry into the bedroom and the altercation between Leachman, the defendant, Houston and the man continued; she took her daughter and escaped from the apartment; she "started calling the police"; the apartment manager had already called the police department; and when the police officer arrived, she directed him to the apartment.

         Corporal Phillip Tucker was on patrol that night for the Shreveport Police Department. Cpl. Tucker testified as follows: on November 26, 2014, he was dispatched to Leachman's apartment in response to a 911 call; he arrived at the apartment complex and observed Ochoa flagging down his patrol car; he went inside the apartment and saw Houston standing in the hallway leading to the bedroom, the defendant sitting on the bedroom floor and Leachman sitting on the edge of the bed; the unidentified man was not in the apartment when he arrived; he observed that Leachman and the defendant appeared to be "physically exhausted" and "appeared to have been in a physical altercation"; he followed police protocol by separating the individuals and interviewing them separately; when he completed his questioning, he took photographs of the apartment, Leachman, Ochoa and Frank; and he arrested the defendant and Houston.

         The defendant testified as follows: she and Leachman shared custody of Frank until she moved to Memphis;[5] neither she nor Leachman had "legal custody" of Frank; she and Leachman agreed that Frank would live with her during the school year and with Leachman during the summer months; in 2013 or 2014, Leachman refused to return Frank to her custody and she was unable to locate them for a period of time because Leachman had changed his address and telephone number;[6] she did not learn the whereabouts of Leachman and Frank until "the day before" the incident in question; on November 26, 2014, she went to Leachman's apartment to pick up Frank; she and Leachman had agreed that Frank would spend Thanksgiving with her; Houston and her minor children accompanied her to the apartment; the children remained in the car during the incident; after talking to Frank for a while, she picked him up and "proceeded to walk away"; Leachman refused to allow Frank to leave with her; she and Leachman had a "tug-of-war" over Frank; she did not go to Leachman's apartment for the purpose of using force or violence against anyone; when she arrived at the apartment, Leachman answered the door and allowed her to see Frank "in the breezeway part by the door" of his apartment; Frank told her that he missed her and asked her when would he see his grandmother and cousins; Frank was happy to see her; she attempted to walk away with Frank because she "was just needing to walk off with him"; when she attempted to walk away, Leachman "grabbed [her] by [her] neck"; he pulled her back towards the apartment to prevent her from getting into the car with Frank; Ochoa and Houston began "tussling with each other"; both she and Leachman were pulling Frank in different directions; she did not pull Frank's neck and she does not know how he sustained an injury to his head; she did not pull Leachman's testicles; she did not pull Ochoa's hair; she sustained some scratches and her dress "was ripped off" during the altercation; she traveled from Memphis to Shreveport to "locate and get [her] baby"; her brother came to the apartment to pick up Houston's children after they were arrested;[7] she does not recall seeing the unidentified man described by Leachman and Ochoa; and she entered Leachman's apartment "by force" because he pulled her into the apartment during the struggle.

         After hearing the testimony and reviewing the evidence, the jury found the defendant guilty of the responsive verdict of unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, in violation of La. R.S. 14:62.3. The defendant was sentenced to serve one year in prison at hard labor. The trial court stated that the defendant's sentence would be suspended; thereafter, he stated that the sentence would be "deferred." The defendant was placed on supervised probation for a period of ...


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