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. Sims

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

November 15, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
JOHNATHAN P. SIMS

         APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 525-300, SECTION "H" Honorable Camille Buras, Judge

          Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr. DISTRICT ATTORNEY, ORLEANS PARISH Scott G. Vincent ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE/STATE OF LOUISIANA.

          Mary Constance Hanes LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT.

          Court composed of Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins, Judge Paula A. Brown.

          Joy Cossich Lobrano Judge.

         Appellant, Jonathan Sims ("Defendant"), appeals his September 16, 2015 convictions for home invasion, a felony in violation of La. R.S. 14:62.8, domestic abuse battery by strangulation, a felony in violation of La. R.S. 14:35.3(L), and aggravated battery, a felony in violation of La. R.S. 14:34.[1] Finding that the evidence is sufficient to support Defendant's convictions, [2] that Defendant's right to confrontation was not violated, and that Defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel claim is not properly before the Court, we affirm Defendant's convictions. Further, finding patent errors as to each of the sentences imposed, we vacate Defendant's sentences in part and remand the case to the district court to impose sentences as instructed by this opinion.

         Factual Background

         A relationship began between Defendant and the victim in 2013. In early 2014, Defendant moved into the victim's home. The victim eventually ended that relationship, and told Defendant to move out and return his key. Defendant vacated the home, but left behind some personal items and refused to return the key.

         On September 14, 2014, the victim asked her uncle to come to her apartment because she was afraid that Defendant may be waiting there for her. The victim asked her uncle to search her residence to ensure Defendant was not present. Finding nothing, her uncle eventually left. After her uncle left, the victim put her children to bed. When she exited the children's bedroom, she heard the closet door open, and began to run. Defendant emerged from the closet and began chasing the victim. She attempted to run out of the house, but Defendant caught her.

         Defendant began punching the victim in the face. As she fell to the floor, Defendant climbed on top of her and began to strangle her. Shortly thereafter, the victim's uncle returned and knocked on the door. Defendant stopped strangling the victim, threw a towel at her, and told her to wipe the blood from her face. They went outside and, as Defendant and the victim's uncle were speaking, the victim managed to get inside her home and lock the door.

         After being locked outside the victim's home, Defendant kicked the door open. The victim grabbed her child and ran back out of the door that Defendant had forced open. Defendant dragged the victim into the backyard and began beating her again while she was holding her child. Once Defendant had punched the victim's face, head, and stomach, he picked up an aluminum broom handle and demanded that the victim let go of the child. After the victim refused, Defendant began beating the victim with the broom handle, repeatedly striking her across the face and the body. The broom handle eventually broke, but Defendant continued to beat the victim with the remaining piece. After the broom handle slipped out of his hand, Defendant strangled the victim in the street.[3]

         Nigel Daggs ("Officer Daggs"), an officer with the New Orleans Police Department ("NOPD"), responded to a domestic disturbance call at the victim's home shortly after 11:00 pm. When Officer Daggs arrived, he observed the victim with bruises on her face, an open wound near her left eye, and scratches on the knuckles of her right hand. Officer Daggs further observed a silver broom handle lying in the street in front of the neighbor's yard and a cracked door frame in the interior doorway of the victim's home. The victim gave a brief statement on the scene, but her injuries required that she be relocated to Tulane Hospital. There, the victim was treated for a head injury, deep bruise of jaw, facial laceration, fracture of the hand, contusion to the eye, and shoulder strain. At the hospital, she gave a written statement to Officer Daggs.

         On June 24, 2015, Defendant was charged by bill of information with home invasion, a felony in violation of La. R.S. 14:62.8; aggravated battery, a felony in violation of La. R.S. 14:34; and domestic abuse battery by strangulation, a felony in violation of La. R.S. 14:35.3(L). Despite the fact that at the time of Defendant's act, the home invasion statute contained an enhancement provision for home invasions where a child under the age of twelve was present, see La. R.S. 14:62.8(B)(3)(2017)(repealed 11/1/2017), the bill of information does not contain any reference to that sentencing enhancement or allege that a child under twelve was present at the time of the home invasion. The two-day trial commenced September 16, 2015, and concluded the following day. The jury found Defendant guilty of home invasion, aggravated battery, and domestic abuse battery by strangulation. Defendant filed a motion for new trial which was denied. On March 15, 2016, the State filed a multiple bill of information pursuant to La R.S. 15:529.1, charging Defendant as a quadruple felony offender.[4]

         On July 19, 2016, at Defendant's sentencing hearing, counsel for Defendant filed a motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal. The district court denied the motion. Thereafter, Defendant was sentenced to serve twenty-five years at hard labor for home invasion; ten years for aggravated battery; and three years for domestic abuse, all to run concurrently with each other and any other charge.

         On July 25, 2016, the multiple bill hearing was held. At that time, the district court denied Defendant's motion to quash the multiple bill, and found Defendant to be a quadruple felony offender as charged. The district court vacated Defendant's original sentences, and reimposed the same sentences that were imposed on July 19, 2016.[5] The district court then orally granted Defendant's motion for appeal and appointment of counsel, but advised counsel that he would have to file a formal notice of appeal. Defendant's counsel then filed a formal notice of appeal and a motion to reconsider sentence. The district court granted the motion for appeal and denied the motion to reconsider sentence. This appeal timely follows.

         Errors Patent

         Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 920 directs appellate courts to consider errors discoverable by an inspection of the pleadings and proceedings. State v. Thomas, 2012-0177, p. 6 (La.App. 1 Cir. 12/28/12), 112 So.3d 875, 878. In this case, the record reveals that when resentencing Defendant as a fourth-felony habitual offender on his conviction for home invasion, the district court failed to impose the mandatory fine required by La. R.S. 14:62.8(B).[6] Additionally, the record establishes that although Defendant was found guilty as a fourth-felony offender on each conviction, the district court failed to impose the mandatory minimum enhanced sentence for each offense as required under La. R.S. 15:529.1.[7]

         Statutory restrictions are contained in a sentence whether or not verbally imposed by the sentencing court. State v. Hall, 2002-1098 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/19/03), 843 So.2d 488. With respect to the failure to impose a fine, the failure to impose a mandatory fine requires a remand of the case for the imposition of the fine. See State v. Jefferson, 2004-1960, p. 40 (La.App. 4 Cir. 12/21/05), 922 So.2d 577; State v. Brown, 2003-2155, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/14/04), 895 So.2d 542; State v. Lindsey, 2012-1195, p. 9 (La.App. 4 Cir. 11/20/13), 129 So.3d 759, 764-65.[8] Thus, we remand this case and instruct the district court to impose the fine required by La. R.S. 14:62.8(B).

         Additionally, as stated supra, after being found guilty of the multiple bill, which alleged Defendant was a fourth-felony offender on each of his convictions in the case sub judice, Defendant was resentenced to twenty-five years at hard labor for home invasion, ten years for aggravated battery, and three years for domestic battery involving strangulation. The sentences for aggravated battery and domestic abuse battery do not comport with La. R.S. 15:529.1, which requires that a defendant ...


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.