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. Butler

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

November 1, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
JOSEPH BUTLER III

         On Appeal from The 16th Judicial District Court, Parish of St. Mary, State of Louisiana Trial Court No. 2012-187826 The Honorable Paul J. deMahy, Judge Presiding

          M. Bofill Duhe District Attorney Walter J. Senette Jr. Assistant District Attorney Franklin, Louisiana Attorneys for Plaintiff/ Appellee, State of Louisiana

          Lieu T. Vo Clark Mandeville, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/ Appellant, Joseph Butler III

          Joseph Butler III Ferriday, Louisiana In Proper Person

          BEFORE: GUIDRY, PETTIGREW, AND CRAIN, JJ.

          CRAIN, J.

         The defendant, Joseph Butler III, was convicted of distribution of a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance (cocaine). He admitted to being a second-felony habitual offender and was sentenced to fifteen years of imprisonment at hard labor. We affirm the conviction, habitual offender adjudication, and sentence.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         During an undercover narcotics investigation, an individual, later identified as the defendant, sold crack cocaine on two occasions to Gabrielle Price Amador, an undercover narcotics officer with the Assumption Parish Sheriffs Office. The defendant was charged with distribution of a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance on June 22, 2011, (count one) and August 3, 2011 (count two). See La. R.S. 40-.967A. Following a jury trial, the defendant was found not guilty on count one and guilty on count two.

         The defendant was sentenced to imprisonment at hard labor for a term of seven years, with the first two years to be served without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. The state filed a habitual offender bill of information, and, after a hearing, the trial court adjudicated the defendant a third-felony habitual offender. However, pursuant to an offer by the state, the defendant admitted to being a second-felony habitual offender. The trial court vacated the sentence previously imposed and sentenced the defendant as a second-felony habitual offender to imprisonment at hard labor for a term of fifteen years. See La. R.S. 40:967B4(b) and 15:529.1A(1).[1] The defendant appeals, raising two counseled and two pro se assignments of error.

         DISCUSSION[2]

         In his two counseled and first pro se assignments of error, the defendant argues the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and the trial court erred in denying his motion for postverdict judgment of acquittal. Specifically, he complains that the only evidence presented by the state was the testimony of Detective Amador, whose identification of the defendant did not occur until weeks after the August transaction. He further contends that no marked police money was recovered.

         A 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 sufficiency of evidence, an appellate court must determine whether any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt based on the entirety of the evidence, both admissible and inadmissible, viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution. See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); State v. Oliphant, 13-2973 (La. 2/21/14), 133 So.3d 1255, 1258-59; see a/so La. Code Crim. Pro. art. 821B; State v. Mussall, 523 So.2d 1305, 1308-09 (La. 1988). When circumstantial evidence forms the basis for conviction, the evidence, "assuming every fact to be proved that the evidence tends to prove . . . must exclude every reasonable hypothesis of innocence." La. R.S. 15:438; Oliphant, 133 So.3d at 1258.

         The due process standard does not require the reviewing court to determine whether it believes the witnesses or whether it believes the evidence establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Mire, 14-2295 (La. 1/27/16), __So.3d__, (2016WL314814). Rather, appellate review is limited to determining whether facts established by direct evidence and inferred from the circumstances established by that evidence are sufficient for any rational trier of fact to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of every essential element of the crime. State v. Alexander, 14-1619 (La.App. 1 Cir. 9/18/15), 182 So.3d 126, 129-30, writ denied, 15-1912 (La. 1/25/16), 185 So.3d 748. The weight given evidence is not subject to appellate ...


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.