Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Peters

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

November 1, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
JOHN PETERS

         On Appeal from the Twenty-Second Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of Washington State of Louisiana No. 14 CR8 126847 The Honorable Richard Swartz, Jr. Judge Presiding

          Warren Montgomery District Attorney Ronnie Gracianette Assistant District Attorney Franklinton, LA Attorneys for Appellee State of Louisiana.

          Matthew Caplan Assistant District Attorney Covington, LA Lieu T. Vo Clark Louisiana Appellate Project Mandeville, LA Attorney for Defendant/ Appellant John Peters.

          BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, PENZATO, J.

          HOLDRIDGE, J.

         The defendant, John Peters, was charged by bill of information with three counts of attempted second degree murder, violations of Louisiana Revised Statutes 14:30.1 and 14-.27.[1] He entered a plea of not guilty, and following a jury trial, was found guilty as charged. He filed motions for new trial and postverdict judgment of acquittal, both of which were denied. The district court sentenced the defendant to fifteen years at hard labor without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence on each count, to run concurrently. He filed a motion to reconsider sentence, which was denied. The defendant now appeals, challenging the sentences imposed by the district court and the denial of his motion to reconsider. For the following reasons, we affirm the defendant's convictions and sentences.

         FACTS

         On August 26, 2014, at approximately 3:20 a.m., Washington Parish Sheriffs Office was dispatched to the Sportsman's Inn Motel in Bogalusa, Louisiana, in response to a shooting. Officers viewed security footage of the motel and made contact with the three victims, Larry Alderson, Brooke Ramsey, and L.R.[2], who were the occupants of Room 213. Their motel room had been shot at multiple times, and twenty-nine shell casings, including nine from a 9 millimeter weapon, were located on the scene. Officers subsequently learned that co-defendant James Spikes had presented to Our Lady of the Angels Hospital with a gunshot wound. Upon learning this information, officers reported to the home of Spikes where they encountered the defendant and co-defendant Ondre Bickham. The defendant was placed under arrest and gave a taped statement wherein he admitted that he was at the scene of the shooting and had a 9 millimeter handgun.

         EXCESSIVE SENTENCES

         In two related assignments of error, the defendant contends that the sentences imposed by the district court are excessive and that the district court erred in denying his motion to reconsider the sentences. Specifically, the defendant contends that because of his youth and lack of a criminal history, the sentences imposed by the district court are excessive.

         Article I, Section 20 of the Louisiana Constitution prohibits the imposition of excessive punishment. Although a sentence may be within statutory limits, it may violate a defendant's constitutional right against excessive punishment and is subject to appellate review. State v. Sepulvado, 367 So.2d 762, 767 (La. 1979). A sentence is constitutionally excessive if it is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense or is nothing more than a purposeless and needless infliction of pain and suffering. See State v. Hurst, 99-2868 (La.App. 1st Cir. 10/3/00), 797 So.2d 75, 83, writ denied, 2000-3053 (La. 10/5/01), 798 So.2d 962. A sentence is 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. Hogan, 480 So.2d 288, 291 (La. 1985). A district court is given wide discretion in the imposition of sentences within statutory limits, and the sentence imposed by it should not be set aside as excessive in the absence of manifest abuse of discretion. State v. Lobato, 603 So.2d 739, 751 (La. 1992).

         Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 894.1 sets forth the factors for the district court to consider when imposing sentence. While the entire checklist of Article 894.1 need not be recited, the record must reflect that the district court adequately considered the criteria. State v. Brown, 2002-2231 (La.App. 1st Cir. 5/9/03), 849 So.2d 566, 569.

         Whoever commits the crime of attempted second degree murder shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than ten nor more than fifty years, without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. See La. R.S. 14:27D(1)(a) & 14:30.IB. The district court sentenced the defendant to fifteen years imprisonment at hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on each count and ordered that the sentences run concurrently. In giving reasons for sentencing the defendant, the district court found that there was an undue risk that the defendant would commit another crime during a period of suspended sentence or probation, that the defendant was in need of commitment to an institution, and that any lesser sentences would deprecate the seriousness of the offenses. See La. Code Crim. P. art. 894.1 A. In considering the Article 894.IB factors, the district court found that the defendant created the risk of death or great bodily harm to more than one person, that the defendant used threats of violence in the commission of the offenses, and the offender used a dangerous weapon in the commission of the offenses. See La. Code Crim. P. art. 894.1B(5), (6), & (10). In mitigation, the court noted the defendant's age and the fact that he did not have any criminal history. See La. Code Crim. P. art. 894.1B(28) & (33).

         Considering the district court's stated reasons and the record as a whole, the sentences imposed are not grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offenses and, therefore, are not unconstitutionally excessive. Thus, the district court did not err or abuse its discretion in imposing the sentences or ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.