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
Bofill Duhe District Attorney Walter J. Senette Jr. Assistant
District Attorney Franklin, Louisiana Attorneys for
Plaintiff/ Appellee, State of Louisiana
T. Vo Clark Mandeville, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/
Appellant, Joseph Butler III
Butler III Ferriday, Louisiana In Proper Person
BEFORE: GUIDRY, PETTIGREW, AND CRAIN, JJ.
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
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
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.
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). The defendant appeals, raising two
counseled and two pro se assignments of error.
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
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.
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 ...