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State v. Hudson

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

November 15, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
JEROME HUDSON Appellant

         Appealed from the Twenty Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Webster, Louisiana Trial Court No. 47509 Honorable Jeff Cox, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Chad Ikerd for Appellant

          J. SCHUYLER MARVIN District Attorney for Appellee

          JOHN MICHAEL LAWRENCE MELANIE FRYE MCCULLOUGH Assistant District Attorneys

          COLIN CLARK Assistant Attorney General.

          Before PITMAN, STONE, and BLEICH (Pro Tempore), JJ.

          BLEICH, J. (PRO TEMPORE)

         This criminal appeal arises from the 26th Judicial District Court, Webster Parish, Louisiana. In 1980, Jerome Hudson was convicted of second degree murder, a violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1, and sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. Hudson appealed directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which affirmed Hudson's conviction and sentence. On August 8, 2016, pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S.___, 136 S.Ct. 718, 193 L.Ed.2d 599 (2016), Hudson was resentenced to life imprisonment with benefit of parole. This appeal followed. For the following reasons, we affirm Hudson's conviction and amend the sentence.

         FACTS

         On October 18, 1979, Jerome Hudson, then a 16-year-old high school student, informed Mr. Garfield Lewis and his wife that they had been selected by a school club in Springhill to receive free groceries and gasoline as part of the club's project to assist older persons in the community. The next morning Hudson arrived at the Lewis home and left with Mr. Lewis in his car to pick up the prizes. Later that day, Hudson returned to the Lewis home alone, and told Mrs. Lewis he had left Mr. Lewis in town.

         Mrs. Lewis went into town to look for her husband, but when she could not find him, reported his disappearance to the police. Mrs. Lewis told the police about the school project and that her husband was last seen driving off with Hudson. She also informed the police that she noticed Hudson was wearing different pants when he returned to her house later in the day.

         During the police investigation, officers found a pair of pants in Hudson's room at his parents' home with a red stain, and also found a butcher knife in one of the pockets of those pants. During questioning, Hudson initially stated that Mr. Lewis had gotten into a fight with a man who had flagged him down while they were driving on the highway. Hudson led police to the alleged scene of the fight where they found Mr. Lewis' body. After further questioning, Hudson admitted to killing Mr. Lewis.[1]

         A bill of indictment was filed charging Hudson, who was under the age of 18 at the time, with second degree murder. Hudson entered a plea of not guilty. Motions to suppress physical evidence were denied by the trial court. A three-day trial commenced on April 22, 1980, after which the jury found Hudson guilty of second degree murder. The trial court sentenced Hudson to life imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. The Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed Hudson's conviction and sentence on appeal.

         On February 28, 2013, Hudson filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Miller, supra. Upon motion by the state, the trial court stayed the matter pending a ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court regarding the issue of the retroactivity of Miller. In 2016, ...


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