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State v. Dominick

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

May 17, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
GERALD J. DOMINICK

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 15-2445, DIVISION "C" HONORABLE JUNE B. DARENSBURG, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D. Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Anne M. Wallis Joshua K. Vanderhooft Douglas E. Rushton

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, GERALD J. DOMINICK Jane L. Beebe

          Panel composed of Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and Robert A. Chaisson

          ROBERT A. CHAISSON JUDGE

         Defendant, Gerald Dominick, appeals his conviction and sentence for failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements. For the reasons set forth herein, we affirm defendant's conviction and sentence and remand the matter for the correction of errors patent as noted herein.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 29, 2015, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed a bill of information charging defendant with a violation of La. R.S. 15:542, "in that he did fail to comply with mandates of his registration as a convicted sex offender, by failing to appear for his initial registration with the sheriff's office." At the April 30, 2015 arraignment, defendant pled not guilty.

         A sanity commission was thereafter appointed to determine defendant's competency to proceed to trial. Following a hearing on September 2, 2015, the trial court found defendant incompetent to proceed to trial and remanded him to a state mental health hospital. On March 9, 2016, the trial court conducted another competency hearing, at which time defendant was found competent to proceed to trial. Defendant thereafter withdrew his former plea of not guilty and entered a plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.[1]

         On April 21, 2016, the State amended the bill of information to charge defendant with failure to comply with the sex offender registration requirements, second offense, in violation of La. R.S. 15:542. Defendant thereafter entered a plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to the amended bill. The matter proceeded to trial before a twelve-person jury on June 21 and 22, 2016. After considering the evidence presented, the jury found defendant guilty as charged.

         On July 22, 2016, defense counsel filed a motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal and a motion for new trial, in which he raised claims relating to the sufficiency of the evidence. [2] On July 25, 2016, the trial court denied these motions and thereafter sentenced defendant to five years imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.[3] Defendant now appeals.

         FACTS

         On June 25, 1984, defendant pled guilty to forcible rape and was sentenced to seventeen years imprisonment at hard labor. Upon his release from prison for this offense, defendant failed to maintain his registration as a sex offender and was subsequently charged with a violation of La. R.S. 15:542. On April 5, 2011, defendant pled guilty to failing to register as a sex offender and was sentenced to two years imprisonment at hard labor. On January 4, 2013, defendant completed his sentence and was released from confinement at the Madison Parish Detention Center in Tallulah, Louisiana.

         On the date of his release, Robert Clements, a supervisor with the Louisiana Division of Probation and Parole, met with defendant at the correctional center, provided him with a certificate of release, and informed him of the registration and notification requirements for a convicted sex offender. During his trial testimony, Mr. Clements recalled explaining the laws regarding sex offender registration and notification requirements to defendant. He provided a form to defendant entitled "Louisiana Sex Offender Registration and Notification Requirements" reflecting these laws and read out loud the requirements to defendant, as he does for every sex offender being released. He described defendant as cooperative and compliant. While going over the forms with Mr. Clements, defendant initialed the provisions, thereby recognizing that the requirements of initial registration and initial notification were read and explained to him, including the condition that he had to report in person to the appropriate law enforcement agency within three days of his release and that failure to comply with the above requirements would result in a charge under La. R.S. 15:542.1.4. At the end of the requirements form, Mr. Clements printed defendant's name, his address as Marrero, LA 70072, [4] and the date. Defendant then signed his name, acknowledging that all applicable requirements of sex offender registration and notification had been explained to him and further acknowledging receipt of the form.

         Despite this notification of the registration requirements by Mr. Clements, defendant did not report to the sheriff's office to register. At trial, Lieutenant Luis Munguia, who is in charge of Jefferson Parish sex offender registration, testified that he became aware of defendant's non-compliance through an anonymous tip. After investigating the matter and verifying that defendant had failed to register as a sex offender, Lieutenant Munguia obtained a warrant for his arrest. On March 5, 2015, pursuant to the warrant, Detective Harley Smith of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office arrested defendant at the Discount Zone on the Westbank Expressway, where defendant was ...


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