Appeal from the 22nd Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana Trial Court No.
567470 The Honorable William J. Burris, Judge Presiding
L. Montgomery District Attorney Matthew Caplan Assistant
District Attorney Covington, Louisiana Attorneys for Appellee
State of Louisiana.
F. Gremillion Rachel Y azbeck New Orleans, Louisiana
Attorneys for Defendant/ Appellant Marlone Rashen Brumfield.
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, AND PENZATO, JJ.
Marlone R. Brumfield, was charged by amended bill of
information with aggravated obstruction of a highway, a
violation of La. R.S. 14:96 (count one); possession of a
schedule II controlled dangerous substance-cocaine, a
violation of La. R.S. 4O:967(C) (count two); and
third-offense possession of marijuana, a violation of La.
R.S. 4O:966(E)(3) (count three). He pled not guilty. Prior to
trial, the state severed count three. Following a jury trial,
defendant was found guilty as charged on counts one and two.
Thereafter, he filed motions for new trial and postverdict
judgment of acquittal, both of which the trial court denied.
The state filed a habitual offender bill of information,
alleging defendant to be a fourth-felony offender with
respect to both convictions. Defendant denied the contents of
the habitual offender bill and, after a hearing, the trial
court adjudicated him to be a fourth-felony habitual offender
on each count. On count one, the trial court sentenced
defendant as a fourth-felony habitual offender to life
imprisonment at hard labor, without probation or suspension
of sentence. On count two, the trial court sentenced
defendant as a fourth-felony habitual offender to twenty
years at hard labor, without probation or suspension of
sentence, concurrent with the sentence on count one.
Defendant filed a motion to reconsider these sentences, which
the trial court denied. Defendant now appeals, alleging three
assignments of error. For the following reasons, we affirm
the convictions, habitual offender adjudications, and
sentence on count two; we amend the sentence on count one and
affirm that sentence as amended.
evening of August 26, 2015, officers with the St. Tammany
Parish Sheriffs Office narcotics division utilized a
"cooperating individual" (CI) to set up a
controlled purchase of liquid promethazine and codeine.
Defendant was the target of the investigation, and the sale
was to occur in the parking lot of a Wendy's fast food
restaurant on La. Hwy. 21 in Covington.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriffs detectives parked in the area of
the Wendy's in unmarked vehicles. Detectives Scott
Thomas, Jason Prieto, and Roger Gottardi conducted
surveillance from their vehicles located in adjacent parking
lots. Detectives Bart Ownby and Jay Quinn sat inside a single
vehicle in the Wendy's parking lot, intending to make
contact with defendant. The CI and two unidentified
detectives were located at the police station, where the CI
maintained contact with defendant.
arrived at the Wendy's in a white truck, and drove slowly
around the parking lot. He then entered the Wendy's
drive-thru line, but exited it before reaching the window. At
some point while he was in the parking lot or the drive-thru
line, defendant sent a text message to the CI, asking who the
"white guy" was. The information regarding this
text message was radioed to the detectives in the area.
Shortly after sending the text message, defendant exited the
Wendy's parking lot and began to drive down Stirling
defendant exited the Wendy's parking lot, the detectives
decided to effect a traffic stop of the vehicle. In an
attempt to do so, the detectives began to maneuver their
unmarked vehicles around defendant's truck to try to box
it in and prevent him from fleeing. At that time, they had
not activated their emergency lights or sirens. Once
defendant was boxed in on three sides (front, back, and
left), the detectives activated their emergency lights. In
response, defendant applied the truck's brakes, causing
the police vehicles to the left and front to continue onward
without him. He cut from the right lane of traffic, turned
through the left lane, jumped the median on La. Hwy. 21, and
began to travel at a high rate of speed in the opposite
direction, disregarding traffic signals. Defendant eventually
entered I-12 and traveled eastbound at speeds in excess of
100 miles per hour. In doing so, he maneuvered his vehicle
around several tractor-trailers and other passenger vehicles.
In one particular incident, defendant cut in front of a
tractor-trailer, causing it to slam on its brakes and the
pursuing officers to drive on the interstate's shoulder
to prevent a collision. As defendant continued to evade
officers on I-12, he turned off his vehicle's headlights
despite the darkness and time of day (approximately 9:45
p.m.). Defendant exited the interstate at U.S. Hwy. 190 in
Covington and continued to drive at a high rate of speed,
disregarding traffic signals, and driving on the shoulder and
median. He reached the Claiborne Hill area, where he
sideswiped a church van that was traveling in the middle
lane. He then turned onto Boston Street (U.S. Hwy. 190
Business) and then onto Lee Lane. He entered the Boston
Commons parking lot, where the vehicle ultimately struck the
handicapped ramp of an area business. Defendant exited the
crashed vehicle and began to flee on foot, but he was soon
being apprehended, defendant was informed of his
Miranda rights and Deputy T.J. Schlesinger
initiated an outer clothing pat down. Deputy Schlesinger felt
what appeared to be a cigarette box on defendant's lower
body. He received permission from defendant to remove the
box, which was located inside defendant's underwear.
Deputy Schlesinger opened the box with the defendant's
permission and observed a substance that later tested
positive as containing cocaine. Deputy Schlesinger also found
a small quantity of marijuana in defendant's back pocket.
A search of the vehicle driven by defendant revealed two
bottles of red liquid. Chemical analysis of the liquid in
these bottles indicated that the substance was
diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Defendant did not testify at
OF THE EVIDENCE
issues are raised on appeal as to both sufficiency of the
evidence and other trial errors, the appellate court should
first review the sufficiency of the evidence. State v.
Hearold, 603 So.2d 731, 734 (La. 1992). In his second
assignment of error, defendant contends that the evidence
presented at trial was insufficient to support his conviction
for possession of cocaine. In particular, he argues that the
state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he
knowingly or intentionally possessed the cocaine. Defendant
does not challenge his conviction for aggravated obstruction
of a highway.
conviction based on insufficient evidence cannot stand, as it
violates due process. See U.S. Const, amend. XIV; La. Const,
art. I, § 2. In reviewing claims challenging the
sufficiency of the evidence, this court must consider
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 beyond a
reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia,443 U.S. 307,
319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). See
also La. Code Crim. P. art. 821(B); State v.
Ordodi, 2006-0207 (La. 11/29/06), 946 So.2d 654, 660;
State v. Mussall,523 So.2d 1305, 1308-09 (La.
1988). The Jackson standard of review, incorporated
in La. Code of Crim. Proc. art. 821, is an objective standard
for testing the overall evidence, both direct and
circumstantial, for reasonable doubt. When analyzing