FROM THE 22nd JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT WASHINGTON
PARISH, LOUISIANA DOCKET NUMBER 128, 964 HONORABLE MARTIN E.
L. Montgomery District Attorney and Matthew Caplan Assistant
District Attorney Covington, Louisiana Attorneys for State
Gwendolyn K. Brown Frederick Kroenke Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Attorneys for Defendant James J. Spikes, Jr.
J. Spikes, Jr. Collinston, Louisiana Pro Se.
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, CJ., McDONALD, and CHUTZ, JJ.
defendant, James J. Spikes, Jr., was charged by bill of
information with possession of contraband in a state
correctional institution, a violation of LSA-R.S. 14:402. He
pled not guilty and, after a jury trial, was found guilty as
charged. The trial court sentenced the defendant to four
years imprisonment at hard labor. The State filed a habitual
offender bill of information based on the defendant's
prior convictions for illegal use of a weapon and possession
of cocaine. After a hearing, the trial court adjudicated the
defendant to be a third-felony habitual offender. The trial
court vacated the previously imposed four-year sentence and
resentenced the defendant to eight years imprisonment at hard
labor without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence.
The defendant objected to the sentence as excessive. The
defendant now appeals, designating one counseled assignment
of error and one pro se assignment of error. We affirm the
conviction, habitual offender adjudication, and sentence.
August 19, 2015, the defendant was an inmate housed at the
Washington Parish Jail. On that date, corrections officers
conducted a cell block "shake down, " wherein the
cells were searched for contraband. During the searches, the
inmates sat around tables in the day room. The defendant was
sitting on one side of a table and another inmate was sitting
across from him but with his back to the table. The other
inmate leaned back and pushed a blanket over the surface of
the table toward the defendant. The defendant then reached
into his pocket, withdrew a cell phone, and placed it under
the blanket. A corrections officer observed these actions and
retrieved the cell phone. The incident was captured by a
surveillance camera. The State then filed the instant charge
against the defendant.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
counseled assignment of error, the defendant argues that his
eight-year sentence as a habitual offender is
unconstitutionally excessive. Specifically, he contends the
trial court should have departed from the mandatory minimum
Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and
Louisiana Constitution Article I, §20 prohibit the
imposition of cruel or excessive punishment. Although a
sentence falls within statutory limits, it may be excessive.
State v. Sepulvado, 367 So.2d 762, 767 (La. 1979). A
sentence is considered constitutionally excessive if it is
grossly disproportionate to the seriousness of the offense or
is nothing more than a purposeless and needless infliction of
pain and suffering. A sentence is considered grossly
disproportionate if, when the crime and punishment are
considered in light of the harm done to society, it shocks
the sense of justice. State v. Andrews, 94-0842
(La.App. 1 Cir. 5/5/95), 655 So.2d 448, 454. The trial court
has great discretion in imposing a sentence within the
statutory limits, and such a sentence should not be set aside
as excessive in the absence of a manifest abuse of
discretion. See State v. Holts, 525 So.2d 1241, 1245
(La.App. 1 Cir. 1988). Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure
article 894.1 sets forth the factors the trial court must
consider when imposing sentence. While the trial court need
not recite LSA-C.Cr.P. art. 894.1's entire checklist, the
record must reflect the trial court adequately considered the
criteria. State v. Brown, 02-2231 (La.App. 1 Cir.
5/9/03), 849 So.2d 566, 569.
goal of LSA-C.Cr.P. art. 894.1 is the trial court's
articulation of the factual basis for the sentence, not rigid
or mechanical compliance with its provisions. Where the
record clearly shows an adequate factual basis for the
sentence imposed, remand is unnecessary even where the trial
court has not fully complied with LSA-C.Cr.P. art. 894.1.
State v. Lanclos, 419 So.2d 475, 478 (La. 1982). The
trial court should review the defendant's personal
history, his prior criminal record, the seriousness of the
offense, the likelihood that he will commit another crime,
and his potential for rehabilitation through correctional
services other than confinement. See State v.
Jones, 398 So.2d 1049, 1051-52 (La. 1981). On
appellate review of a sentence, the relevant question is
whether the trial court abused its broad sentencing
discretion, not whether another sentence might have been more
appropriate. State v. Thomas, 98-1144 (La. 10/9/98),
719 So.2d 49, 50 (per curiam).
State v. Dorthey,623 So.2d 1276, 1280-81 (La.
1993), the Louisiana Supreme Court opined that if a trial
court were to find that the punishment mandated by the
Habitual Offender Law, LSA-R.S. 15:529.1, makes no
"measurable contribution to acceptable goals of
punishment" or that the sentence amounted to nothing
more than "the purposeful imposition of pain and
suffering" and is "grossly out of proportion to the
severity of the crime, " the court has the option,
indeed the duty, to reduce such sentence to one that would
not be constitutionally excessive. In State v.
Johnson, 97-1906 (La. 3/4/98), 709 So.2d 672, 676-77,
the Louisiana ...