FROM THE THIRTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF VERNON,
NO. 88668 HONORABLE VERNON BRUCE CLARK, DISTRICT JUDGE
C. Marx Louisiana Appellate Project COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Megan E. Morales
Skinner District Attorney, 30th Judicial District Court Terry
W. Lambright First Assistant District Attorney COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
composed of Shannon J. Gremillion, John E. Conery, and David
E. Chatelain, Judges.
E. CHATELAIN, [*] JUDGE
defendant, Megan E. Morales, appeals her sentence for
identity theft, a violation of La.R.S. 14:67.16. For the
following reasons, we affirm the decision of the trial court
as amended and remand the case to the trial court with
December 1, 2015, the defendant was charged by a bill of
information for identity theft for the use of Jacueline Clark
Wilson's  (Wilson) personal information for a
Verizon cell phone account valued at $3, 739. The defendant
entered a guilty plea on September 13, 2016, and a
presentence investigation report was ordered.
November 16, 2016, the trial court sentenced the defendant to
five years at hard labor and fined $1, 500 plus court costs.
On November 22, 2016, the defendant filed a motion to
reconsider sentence which the trial court denied the next day
because "no specific facts [were] alleged and [it] gave
reasons on record." The defendant timely appealed.
accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are
reviewed for errors patent on the face of the record. After
reviewing the record, we find that there are three errors
patent concerning the defendant's sentence.
the trial court ordered the defendant to pay a fine and court
costs, or in default of payment, to serve an additional
twelve months in the parish jail. Court-appointed counsel
represented the defendant in the proceedings in the trial
court, and the Louisiana Appellate Project represented the
defendant on appeal. This has been found to be presumptive
evidence of indigence. State v. Holloway, 10-74
(La.App. 3 Cir. 10/6/10), 47 So.3d 56.
State v. Major, 03-249, pp. 2-3 (La.App. 3 Cir.
3/2/05) 898 So.2d 548, 550-51 (alteration in original), this
It is well-settled that "[a]n indigent person may not be
incarcerated because he is unable to pay a fine which is part
of his sentence. Bearden v. Georgia, 461 U.S. 660,
103 S.Ct. 2064, 76 L.Ed.2d 221 (1983)." State v.
Zabaleta, 96-2449, p. 1 (La.3/7/97), 689 So.2d 1369. The
need for incarceration raises an issue when fines or costs
are not paid, because La.Code Crim.P. art. 884 requires that,
when a trial court imposes a fine or costs, it must also
impose a specified term of imprisonment in the event
Defendant defaults on payment of the fine or costs. Because
an indigent person may not be incarcerated for failure to pay
a fine, the supreme court has vacated "the portion of .
. . [a] sentence which provides for a jail term in the event
of default of payment of a fine . . . ."
Zabaleta, 689 So.2d 1369.
we vacate the portion of the defendant's sentence which
required her to serve twelve months in the parish jail in
default of payment of the fine and court costs.
because the trial court imposed the fine and court costs as
part of the defendant's principal sentence, and not as a
condition of probation, they are payable immediately. La.Code
Crim.P. art. 888. Therefore, we amend the defendant's
sentence deleting the provision allowing for a payment plan
for the $1, 500 fine and court costs imposed and instruct the
trial court to make an entry in the minutes reflecting these
amendments. State v. Bradley, 11-445 (La.App. 3 Cir.
11/2/11) (unpublished opinion).
the trial court properly set forth a payment plan for the
restitution and fees imposed as conditions of probation, but
failed to do so for the $150 to be paid to the Department of
Corrections for the preparation of the presentence
investigation report. "When the fines and costs are
imposed as a condition of probation, but the trial court is
silent as to the mode of payment or the trial court attempts
to establish a payment plan, this court has required a
specific payment plan be established." State v.
Wagner, 07-127, p. 7 (La.App. 3 Cir. 11/5/08), 996 So.2d
we remand this case to the trial court for the establishment
of a payment plan for the $150 to be paid to the Department
of Corrections imposed as a condition of probation, noting
that either the trial court or the Department of Probation
and Parole, with approval of the trial court, may determine
defendant challenges her sentence as excessive, and she
combines the interrelated assignments of error which are as
I. The sentencing judge failed to individualize this sentence
to this offender and offense; the sentencing judge failed to
articulate for the record sufficient reasons to justify the
sentence and further failed to ...