Appeal from The 23rd Judicial District Court,
Parish of Assumption, State of Louisiana Trial Court No.
13-CR-000015 The Honorable Jessie M. LeBlanc, Judge Presiding
Babin, District Attorney Thomas Daigle, Assistant District
Attorney Napoleonville, Louisiana Attorneys for State of
Shannon L. Battiste, Demi L. Vorise Port Allen, Louisiana
Attorneys for Defendant/Appellant Jordan Cheatham
BEFORE: WELCH, CRAIN, AND HOLDRIDGE, JJ.
to a plea agreement, the defendant, Jordan Cheatham, pled
guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
See La. R.S. 40:966A(1). Prior to sentencing, he
filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, which was denied.
He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment at hard labor,
with three years suspended, and three years of supervised
probation with conditions upon his release from
incarceration. The defendant appeals, arguing the trial court
erred in denying his motion to withdraw the guilty plea. We
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
factual basis for the guilty plea is set forth in the
Boykin form signed by the defendant. After being
stopped for a traffic violation, the defendant became visibly
nervous and refused to allow a sheriffs deputy to search the
vehicle. A drug detection dog was transported to the scene
and made positive alerts on the vehicle. During the ensuing
search, deputies found multiple bags of marijuana in the
vehicle, including a large bag with twelve smaller bags
inside, each containing about one ounce of marijuana; and a
bag in a shoe box wedged under the front passenger seat
containing approximately 5.9 grams of marijuana along with a
smaller bag containing approximately four grams of marijuana.
morning of the defendant's trial, he accepted the
state's offer of a plea deal, agreeing to plead guilty to
possession with intent to distribute marijuana in exchange
for a ten year sentencing cap and the state's agreement
not to pursue a habitual offender bill of information. The
defendant was Boykinized and pled guilty as charged.
Sentencing was deferred pending a presentence investigation
to sentencing, the defendant filed a motion to withdraw the
guilty plea, which stated no basis for the request and, for
that reason, was denied. The defendant then filed a second
motion to withdraw the guilty plea, wherein his counsel
I, SHANNON L. BATTISTE, the undersigned counsel,
erroneous[ly] misinformed my client of the law and procedures
regarding withdrawing pleas. Please see Exhibit A attached to
this motion for further explanation.
attached letter, counsel stated he erroneously informed the
defendant he could withdraw his guilty plea at any time
before sentencing. According to the letter, the
defendant's motivation for pleading guilty was his belief
he could withdraw the plea before sentencing.
hearing on the motion, defense counsel repeated the
representations in his letter and presented testimony from
the defendant. The defendant confirmed counsel told him
during plea discussions that he could withdraw the plea
before his next court date. When asked if that was the reason
he pled guilty, the defendant replied:
Yeah, that, along with it wasn't - I mean, it's gone
this far. I mean, and I'm still not found innocent. I
didn't think I was going [to] be found ...