FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 527-650,
SECTION "A" Honorable Laurie A. White, Judge
A. Cannizzaro, Jr. DISTRICT ATTORNEY ORLEANS PARISH Scott G.
Vincent ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY COUNSEL FOR THE STATE OF
Christopher A. Aberle LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Joy Cossich
Lobrano, Judge Marion F. Edwards, Pro Tempore.
L. BELSOME JUDGE.
early morning hours of July 13, 2015, the Defendant entered
Barcadia Bar and Grill, an establishment in New Orleans, with
the intent of robbing the business. The Defendant brandished
a firearm and proceeded to the money room in the back of the
business. The Defendant pointed the firearm at the three
people located in the money room and demanded the money be
placed into a plastic bag. During this time, the Defendant
was pointing the gun at Lea Wolfe, the manager on duty. When
the Defendant was momentarily distracted by some activity
outside of the room, one of the other victims was able to
shut the Defendant outside of the room and lock the door.
That action caused the Defendant to flee the scene without
Wolfe triggered the alarm alerting the police of the
attempted armed robbery. Upon arrival, New Orleans Police
Detective Steve Nolan viewed the surveillance recordings with
the manager. Ms. Wolfe informed Det. Nolan that the suspect
resembled a former employee, Antoine Green. Det. Nolan
learned the name of the Defendant's then employer and
went to his place of employment to discuss the incident. Det.
Nolan brought Defendant to the police station where he was
read his rights, and the Defendant fully confessed to the
attempted armed robbery of Barcadia.
December 23, 2015, the Defendant was charged by bill of
information with attempted armed robbery while armed with a
firearm. On January 11, 2016, the Defendant appeared for
arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty. On March 7,
2017, the Defendant appeared for trial with counsel. Trial
was continued due to the possibility of a plea offer. The
state offered to remove the firearm enhancement under La.
R.S. 14:64.3 (B) and request a five-year sentence in the
Department of Corrections. The Defendant elected to reject
the plea offer, enter a plea of guilty as charged and
requested a downward departure from the mandatory sentence in
accordance with State v. Dorthey. Thereafter, the
district court sentenced Defendant to five years.
Dorthey hearing was conducted immediately following
sentencing to determine if a downward departure from the
statutorily required minimum sentencing was warranted.
Following the Dorthey hearing, the district court
imposed the mandatory five-year hard labor without benefits
sentence under La. R.S. 14:64.3 (B) for commission of
attempted armed robbery when the dangerous weapon is a
firearm. This appeal followed.
appeal, the Defendant maintains that the trial court erred in
making inconsistent findings regarding the excessiveness of
his sentence and by declining to impose a downward departure
in accordance with Dorthey.
Louisiana Constitution guarantees that "[n]o law shall
subject any person to ... cruel, excessive or unusual
punishment." That protection allows the judicial branch
to determine whether the range of sentences authorized by a
criminal statute is excessive for a particular defendant.
court must start with the presumption that a mandatory
minimum sentence is constitutional. In order to rebut that
presumption, a defendant must clearly and convincingly prove
that he is exceptional. This Court has articulated that
exceptional "means that because of unusual circumstances
he is a victim of the legislature's failure to ...