from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Caddo, Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 299710 Honorable Brady
D. O'Callaghan, Judge
E. HALEY Pro Se.
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Paula Corley Marx Counsel for
E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee.
MONIQUE YVETTE METOYER MEKISHA S. CREAL ERICA JEFFERSON
Assistant District Attorneys.
GARRETT, STONE, and BLEICH (Pro Tempore), JJ.
BLEICH, J. (Pro Tempore)
appeal arises out of the First Judicial District Court,
Parish of Caddo, State of Louisiana. The defendant, Peter E.
Haley, was convicted by a jury of one count of possession of
pornography involving juveniles in violation of La. R.S.
14:81.1. Haley was subsequently sentenced to eight years at
hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or
suspension of sentence, with credit for time served, to run
concurrent with any other sentences. Haley did not file a
motion to reconsider sentence and now appeals his
conviction. For the following reasons, Haley's
conviction and sentence are affirmed, and this matter is
remanded to the trial court for compliance with the sex
offender registration requirements.
August 24, 2011, William Tuggle, supervising agent at the
Louisiana Department of Corrections Division of Probation and
Parole, received a voicemail message from an anonymous male
caller indicating that Haley had been sending inappropriate
text messages of a sexual nature to the caller's mother.
The caller indicated that the matter was serious enough that
he and his mother were going to seek a restraining order
against Haley. Agent Tuggle informed Haley's parole
officer, John Dupree at the Caddo Parish Sherriff's
Office, of the voicemail. Haley was contacted through his
employer and asked to meet on the following morning. He
arrived at the probation office around 7:00 a.m. on August
25, 2011. Agent Tuggle testified that Haley was not under
investigation when he arrived but was called simply to
discuss the voicemail and determine if the complaint was well
Tuggle and Ofc. Dupree asked Haley about the text messages,
and, according to both, Haley admitted he was acquainted with
the woman and communicating with her via text messages.
However, Haley was evasive about the content of the text
messages and did not believe he had messaged anything
inappropriate. Agent Tuggle asked to see Haley's
cellphone, and Haley told him that it was in the visor of his
truck parked outside the building. Haley provided the keys to
his vehicle, and Ofc. Dupree went to retrieve the cellphone
while Agent Tuggle continued speaking with Haley. Officer
Dupree returned to the office with Haley's cellphone and
laptop computer. He then handed the cellphone to Agent Tuggle
and opened the laptop.
trial, Ofc. Dupree testified that the laptop was in plain
view inside Haley's vehicle and was retrieved by him
because laptops can also be used to send messages and text
communications. He further testified that Haley voluntarily
entered the passcode to allow access to the laptop. Officer
Dupree stated that he clicked on the "pictures"
icon, which revealed a "pornographic image that appeared
to be a juvenile engaged in a sex act." After seeing a
couple of these images, Ofc. Dupree arrested Haley, who was
advised of his Miranda rights and handcuffed.
According to Ofc. Dupree's testimony, the pictures on the
laptop were observed before any incriminating information was
located on the cellphone.
Haley's arrest, the U.S. Marshal's Service and
Bossier City Marshal's Office were contacted to assist in
the investigation. Sergeant Randal Thomas, a deputy marshal
at the Bossier City Marshal's Office Cyber Crimes Unit,
advised that a search warrant should be obtained to further
search the laptop. The warrant was secured based on the
affidavit of Agent Tuggle, which allowed for the dismantling
and copying of the laptop's hard drive. In addition,
later in the afternoon on August 25, 2011, a warrantless
search of Haley's residence was conducted to check for
other parole violations, and a box of CDs was seized. The CDs
were turned over to the Bossier City Marshal's Office
Child Internet Crimes Task Force, and found to contain
several images that resembled child pornography.
was charged by bill of information with one count of
pornography involving juveniles. Counsel from the Indigent
Defender Office was appointed to represent him, and Haley
entered a plea of not guilty that same day. Haley filed both
pro se and counseled motions to suppress evidence,
and both motions were denied. A supplemental counseled motion
to suppress was subsequently filed, and also denied following
a hearing. The subject of each of the motions was the
evidence obtained from Haley's cellphone and laptop.
Haley also filed a motion to exclude the testimony of
pediatrician Dr. Margaret Ann Springer, which was denied
following a Daubert hearing. Trial commenced on
March 16, 2016, and the following day, the jury found Haley
guilty as charged. Motions for new trial and for post-verdict
judgment of acquittal were denied. Haley was sentenced to
eight years at hard labor without benefit of parole,
probation, or suspension of sentence, with credit for time
served, to run concurrent with any other sentence. Haley
filed a motion to appeal and the Louisiana Appellate Project
was appointed as counsel. This appeal followed.
counseled appeal brief has been filed on Haley's behalf
by the Louisiana Appellate Project, but additionally Haley
has filed a supplemental pro se brief submitting
seven assignments of error for review.
of his assignments of error, Haley challenges the trial
court's denial of his motions to suppress the images
obtained from his cellphone and laptop. Haley argues that
the seizure of his laptop violated his Fourth Amendment
protections, because the officers' reasonable suspicion
of a possible probation violation concerned only text
messages on his cellphone. He submits that Ofc. Dupree's
clicking on the "picture's icon" and looking at
photographs on his laptop was outside the scope of any search
that would have confirmed the existence of inappropriate
sexual text messages on his cellphone. Accordingly, Haley
argues that the search of the laptop was illegal and, thus,
all evidence seized from that illegal search should have been
suppressed. We disagree.
appellate court reviews the trial court's ruling on a
motion to suppress under the manifest error standard in
regard to factual determinations, while applying a de
novo review to its findings of law. State v.
Monroe, 49, 365 (La.App. 2 Cir. 11/19/14), 152 So.3d
1011, 1015. The appellate court must look at the totality of
the evidence presented at the hearing on the motion to
suppress, and should not overturn a trial court's ruling
unless the trial court's conclusions are not supported by
the evidence, there exists an internal inconsistency in the
testimony of the witnesses, or there was a palpable or
obvious abuse of discretion. Id.
individual on probation does not have the same freedom from
governmental intrusion into his affairs as does the ordinary
citizen. United States v. Knights, 534 U.S. 112, 122
S.Ct. 587, 151 L.Ed.2d 497 (2001); State v. Malone,
403 So.2d 1234 (La. 1981). While a warrantless search is
generally unreasonable, a person on parole or probation has a
reduced expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment of
the U.S. Constitution and under La. Const. art. I, § 5.
State v. Angel, 44, 924 (La.App. 2 Cir. 01/27/10),
31 So.3d 547. This reduced expectation of privacy allows
reasonable warrantless searches of their person and residence
by their probation or parole officer. State v.
Malone, supra. That reduced expectation of
privacy evolves from a probationer's conviction and
agreement to allow a probation officer to investigate his
activities in order to confirm compliance with the provisions
of his probation. State v. Angel, supra;
State v. Drane, 36, 230 (La.App. 2 Cir. 09/18/02),
828 So.2d 107, 111, writ denied, 2002-2619 (La.
03/28/03), 840 So.2d 566. This is to further the purposes of
probation, rehabilitation of the convicted individual and
protection of society and is a standard condition of
probation that the probationer allow the probation officer to
visit his home at the option of the officer. State v.
Malone, supra; State v. Vailes, 564
So.2d 778 (La.App. 2 Cir. 1990).
the decision to search must be based on something more than a
mere hunch, probable cause is not required, and only a
reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring is
necessary for a probation officer to conduct the warrantless
search. State v. Malone, supra; State v.
Odom, 34, 054 (La.App. 2 Cir. 11/01/00), 772 So.2d 281.
However, a probationer is not subject to the unrestrained
power of the authorities. State v. Angel, supra.
Even though warrantless searches by a probation or parole
officer are allowed, a search to which a probationer is
subjected may not serve as a subterfuge for a police
investigation, but instead, must be conducted when the
probation officer believes such a search is necessary in the
performance of his duties and must be reasonable in light of
the total atmosphere in which it takes place. Id.,
citing State v. Vailes, supra.
Louisiana Supreme Court adopted the factors from Bell v.
Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 60 L.Ed.2d 447,
481 (1979), to determine if a warrantless search of a
probationer's home violated the probationer's
constitutional rights. The factors include: (1) the scope of
the particular intrusion; (2) the manner in which it was
conducted; (3) the justification for initiating it; and, (4)
the place in which it was conducted. State v.
Malone, supra at 1239.
"electronic textual communication" means a textual
communication made through the use of a computer online
service, internet service, or any other means of electronic
communication. La. R.S. 14:81.3(D); State v. Green,
49, 741 (La.App. 2 Cir. 04/15/15), 164 So.3d 331; see
State v. Smith, 2015-1359 (La.App. 4 Cir. 04/20/16), 192
So.3d 836 (where communication with victim was reported as
"text messages, " but actually occurred over an
unidentified social media platform, rather than mobile text
to the instant issue is the parole agreement signed by Haley
in Utah, wherein he agreed to obey all state, federal and
municipal laws. He further agreed that he would "permit
officers of adult probation and parole to search my person,
residence, vehicle, or any other property under my control
without a warrant at any time, day or night, upon reasonable
suspicion." The record reveals that in 2005 Haley
completed the necessary paperwork to transfer his supervised
parole to Louisiana, and the transfer was approved; thus
Haley came under the supervision of the Louisiana Department
of Corrections. Haley then signed a Louisiana probation and
parole agreement in which he waived his right to the same
Fourth Amendment protections afforded other citizens and
expressly waived his right to object to warrantless searches
of his person, residence and belongings while under
supervision. Accordingly, the issue herein is simply whether
there was a reasonable suspicion that Haley was violating his
parole such that the search and seizure of his cellphone and
laptop was proper.
evidence presented at the hearings on the motions to suppress
established that the officers had reasonable suspicion that
Haley may have violated the terms of his probation by sending
inappropriate text messages of a sexual nature making the
search and seizure of his cellphone and laptop proper.
Notably, the two parole agreements previously signed by Haley
clearly state that he specifically agreed to searches of his
person, residence, and belongings "for the purpose of
ensuring compliance with the conditions of [his]
parole." At the time of the search, Haley voluntarily
provided his car keys and assisted Ofc. Dupree in accessing
his laptop, thus further consenting to the search. Haley
maintains that the forensic analysis of his laptop indicated
that no password was needed to gain access. Additionally, the
state stipulated that no password was required. A close
reading of the testimony makes clear that when the login
screen appeared, Ofc. Dupree handed the laptop to Haley, who
voluntarily did what was necessary to allow access-thereby
consenting to the search of his laptop. However, his consent
is not the only consideration since reasonable suspicion was
already established, and Haley, as a parolee, had a lower
expectation of privacy.
Haley left his cellphone and laptop in plain view inside his
vehicle. Both the cellphone and laptop could have been
utilized to send inappropriate electronic communications, as
the term "text messages" encompasses many different
types of textual electronic communications and is not limited
to mobile text messaging. The trial court heard arguments
twice on this motion and both times concluded that the
officers were justified in conducting the search by
reasonable manner and within a reasonable scope. Based on
this record and the jurisprudence explaining the reduced
expectation of privacy of probationers and parolees, the
trial court was clearly within its discretion in denying the
motion to suppress, and in finding that the officers had
reasonable suspicion to search both the cellphone and laptop.
This assignment of error is without merit.
of the Evidence
second and fifth assignments of error, Haley submits that the
evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to prove he
committed the offense of possession of pornography involving
juveniles. Haley also urges that due to the program
malfunctions during Sgt. Thomas's analysis of the
laptop's hard drive and cellphone the evidence recovered
from the laptop is unfit to support a criminal conviction.
Finally, Haley argues that the offensive photos found on his
phone were "loaded" onto his phone on August 25,
2011, around 1:01 p.m., while his phone was in the
standard of appellate review for a sufficiency of the
evidence claim is whether, after viewing the evidence in the
light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier
of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime
proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560
(1979); State v. Tate, 2001-1658 (La. 05/20/03), 851
So.2d 921, cert. denied, 541 U.S. 905, 124 S.Ct.
1604, 158 L.Ed.2d 248 (2004); State v. Carter, 42,
894 (La.App. 2 Cir. 01/09/08), 974 So.2d 181, writ
denied, 2008-0499 (La. 11/14/08), 996 So.2d 1086. This
standard, now legislatively embodied in La.C.Cr.P. art. 821,
does not provide the appellate court with a vehicle to
substitute its own appreciation of the evidence for that of
the fact finder. State v. Pigford, 2005-0477 (La.
02/22/06), 922 So.2d 517; State v. Dotie, 43, 819
(La.App. 2 Cir. 01/14/09), 1 So.3d 833, writ denied,
2009-0310 (La. 11/06/09), 21 So.3d 297. The appellate court
does not assess the credibility of witnesses or reweigh
evidence. State v. Smith, 1994-3116 (La. 10/16/95),
661 So.2d 442. A reviewing court accords great deference to a
jury's decision to accept or reject the testimony of a
witness in whole or in part. State v. Eason, 43, 788
(La.App. 2 Cir. 02/25/09), 3 So.3d 685, writ denied,
2009-0725 (La. 12/11/09), 23 So.3d 913.
appellate court reviewing the sufficiency of evidence in such
cases must resolve any conflict in the direct evidence by
viewing that evidence in the light most favorable to the
prosecution. When the direct evidence is thus viewed, the
facts established by the direct evidence and inferred from
the circumstances established by that evidence must be
sufficient for a rational trier of fact to conclude beyond a
reasonable doubt that defendant was guilty of every essential
element of the crime. State v. Sutton, 436 So.2d 471
(La. 1983); State v. Speed, 43, 786 (La.App. 2 Cir.
01/14/09), 2 So.3d 582, writ denied, 2009-0372 (La.
11/06/09), 21 So.3d 299.
there is conflicting testimony concerning factual matters,
the resolution of which depends upon a determination of the
credibility of the witnesses, the matter is one of the weight
of the evidence, not its sufficiency. State v.
Allen, 36, 180 (La.App. 2 Cir. 09/18/02), 828 So.2d 622,
writs denied, 2002-2595 (La. 03/28/03), 840 So.2d
566 and 2002-2997 (La. 06/27/03), 847 So.2d 1255, cert.
denied, 540 U.S. 1185, 124 S.Ct. 1404, 158 L.Ed.2d 90
(2004). In the absence of internal contradiction or
irreconcilable conflict with physical evidence, one
witness's testimony, if believed by the trier of fact, is
sufficient support for a requisite factual conclusion.
State v. Baker, 49, 175 (La.App. 2 Cir. 08/27/14),
148 So.3d 217. Such testimony alone is sufficient ...