APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 11-880, DIVISION
"F" HONORABLE MICHAEL P. MENTZ, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr., Terry M. Boudreaux, Andrea F. Long, Rhonda J.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, COREY D. FACIANE, James A.
Williams, Mary Vallon Hicks, Lynleigh G. Noel.
composed of Judges Marc E. Johnson, Robert M. Murphy, and
Hans J. Liljeberg.
M. MURPHY JUDGE.
Corey Faciane, appeals his convictions and enhanced sentences
for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and for
possession with intent to distribute cocaine. For the reasons
that follow, defendant's convictions are affirmed.
Defendant's sentences are vacated in part, and affirmed
as amended. We further remand for the correction of errors
March 17, 2011, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's
office filed a bill of information charging defendant, Corey
Faciane, with one count of being a felon in possession of a
firearm ("count one"), in violation of La. R.S.
14:95.1, and one count of possession with intent to
distribute cocaine ("count two"), a violation of
La. R.S. 40:967(A). Defendant pled not guilty to both counts
at his arraignment on March 18, 2011. Following the denial of
defendant's pre-trial motions, defendant proceeded to a
three-day jury trial starting on March 15, 2016, at the
conclusion of which he was found guilty as charged. On March
22, 2016, defendant filed a motion for new trial, which was
denied. Also, on March 22, 2016, the trial court sentenced
defendant to 20 years at hard labor without benefit of
probation, parole, or suspension of sentence, and a $1,
000.00 fine on count one. On count two, the trial court
sentenced defendant to 25 years at hard labor, with the first
two years to be served without benefit of parole, probation,
or suspension of sentence, and a $20, 000.00 fine. Both
sentences were ordered to run concurrently. On the same date
as sentencing, the State filed a multiple offender bill of
information that alleged defendant was a third felony
offender, to which defendant pled not guilty. Defendant
thereafter withdrew his not guilty plea on June 23, 2016, and
stipulated to being a third felony offender as alleged in the
multiple offender bill of information. Accordingly, the trial
court vacated the sentences imposed on March 22, 2016, and
re-sentenced defendant to 20 years hard labor without benefit
of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on count one,
and 25 years hard labor on count two, with the first two
years to be served without benefit of probation, parole, or
suspension of sentence, and the remainder without benefit of
probation and suspension of sentence. Both sentences were
again ordered to run concurrently, and defendant was assessed
a $1, 000.00 fine on count one and a $20, 000.00 fine on
count two. Defendant filed a motion for appeal on June 23,
2016, and the instant appeal follows.
Ashton Gibbs testified that he was employed by the Gretna
Police Department, and was assigned to the Major Crimes Task
Force in February of 2011, during which time he met with a
reliable confidential informant ("C.I.") who
provided information that led to the investigation of
defendant, Corey Faciane. Detective Gibbs set up a controlled
purchase between the C.I. and defendant, using five $100
bills that Detective Gibbs provided, which had been
photocopied before the controlled purchase took place.
Undercover surveillance was set up by Detective Gibbs, and
other participating police detectives, at 2201 Manhattan
Boulevard. Detective Gibbs watched defendant and the C.I.
enter apartment H-206 at that address. After the C.I. had
completed the purchase from defendant and returned to a
predetermined location, Detective Gibbs retrieved a
"light compressed powder" from the C.I. which
tested positive for cocaine in a preliminary chemical field
test. Based upon the controlled purchase, Detective Gibbs
obtained a search warrant for 2201 Manhattan, H-206, and also
for a second apartment located at 3300 Wall Boulevard,
apartment 240. Detective Gibbs explained that a search
warrant was obtained for both locations because defendant had
been observed leaving the apartment on Wall Boulevard prior
to the controlled purchase taking place and returned to the
Wall Boulevard apartment after the transaction had taken
place. The warrants were obtained within 72 hours of when the
controlled purchase took place and executed on February 10,
2011, at approximately 2:10 p.m.
Gibbs was on the team that went to the apartment at 2201
Manhattan Boulevard to execute the search warrant. Although a
"battery ram" was used to gain entrance to the
apartment, police did have the front door key that was found
on defendant's person. Detective Gibbs identified
State's Exhibit 32, a photograph of an ottoman found in
the living room of defendant's apartment, under which a
firearm was found "velcroed" to the base. There was
a live round in the chamber of the firearm. Other photographs
identified by Detective Gibbs showed that there was also
another round of ammunition found in defendant's kitchen
drawer next to three bags of an "off white compressed
powder" that was stored behind the utensil container. In
a bag beneath the oven, more compressed powder was found. Two
digital scales, which had trace amounts of white powder, were
located in a kitchen cabinet. A third digital scale with
white powder residue was found on top of a blue cookie tin.
The tin itself contained several bags of white compressed
powder and white "rock like" objects. A coffee pot
and a Pyrex measuring container, both containing white
residue, were also found in the kitchen area. Detective Gibbs
opined that the items found are used in the creation of Crack
Gibbs identified State's Exhibit 65, which was a
photograph of five $100 bills contained within the
approximate $28, 000.00 recovered from defendant's
apartment on Wall. Detective Gibbs testified that the serial
numbers on the bills matched those of the "pre-recorded
currency" that was given to the C.I. prior to making a
controlled purchase of illegal narcotics from defendant.
Detective Gibbs identified defendant in open court.
Angelica testified that he is the crime lab director at the
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Crime Lab. Part of his
job duties is to analyze evidence for the presence of
controlled dangerous substances, including cocaine. Angelica
identified a lab report that he wrote on April 12, 2011,
which involved testing 12 bags of "white compressed
powder" seized in connection with defendant's case.
After analyzing all of the bags, Angelica concluded that they
each contained cocaine.
Shane Klein testified that he was employed by the Jefferson
Parish Sheriff's Office Narcotics Section. By stipulation
of defendant, Lieutenant Klein was accepted as an expert in
the field of the packaging of narcotics. He described the
mechanical process used for creating Crack cocaine, as well
as how it was packaged for sale. Lieutenant Klein opined that
items found pursuant to the search warrant in this case,
namely the coffee pot, measuring cup, utensils and sandwich
bags found in defendant's kitchen, could be used to
create and package Crack cocaine. Similarly, the digital
scales found in defendant's kitchen are typical of those
commonly used to weigh narcotics. Lieutenant Klein examined
the amount of cocaine seized in this case, and testified that
the volume was not consistent with what is typically kept for
personal use. He further explained that it was common in his
investigations to learn that a drug dealer has multiple
residences and a surplus of cash on hand. Based upon the
evidence he reviewed in this case, Lieutenant Klein concluded
that all of the elements needed to deal drugs were present.
Alfred Disler testified that he was employed by the Gretna
Police Department in February of 2011, and was assigned to
the narcotics unit of the Major Crimes Task Force. During
that time, he participated in an investigation with Detective
Ashton Gibbs, during which he observed a controlled purchase
involving a C.I. at 2201 Manhattan Blvd., H-206. Detective
Disler saw defendant's black Acura enter the
apartment's parking lot, and watched defendant exit the
vehicle then proceed to go into the apartment complex and up
the stairs into an apartment. Detective Disler then saw the
C.I. go to the same apartment, where defendant opened the
door. He watched the C.I. enter and exit the apartment a
short time later. After the C.I. left, Detective Disler saw
defendant get back into the black Acura, and he followed
defendant to the apartment complex on Wall Boulevard.
Detective Disler was also involved in the execution of the
warrant for 2201 Manhattan Boulevard. He identified defendant
in open court.
Disler was recalled on rebuttal later in the trial by the
State, and testified that he had indicated the wrong building
on a Google Earth map of the apartment complex presented by
defendant where the controlled buy had taken place. He had
circled building J, when the purchase took actually place in
Vincent testified at trial that he is a Detective with the
Gretna Police Department and, in February of 2011, was
assigned to the Major Crimes Task Force, where he primarily
investigated violations of narcotics laws. He recalled that
he came into contact with defendant while executing a warrant
at 3300 Wall Boulevard along with other officers. The
officers were located in the parking lot of 3300 Wall
Boulevard, at approximately 2:00 in the afternoon, when they
approached defendant, who was accompanied by a female.
Defendant and the woman were detained and handcuffed while
the search warrant was executed. Detective Vincent identified
a photograph of the key taken from defendant, which was used
to open the apartment door deadbolt lock. During the search
of the Wall Boulevard apartment, Detective Vincent found a
shoebox containing over $28, 000.00 in U.S. Currency that was
located in the master bedroom closet. Some of the money was
photocopied after being identified as funds used for
"the initial buy" by police. There was men's
clothing in the bedroom, as well as "paperwork"
with defendant's name on it. Upon completing the search
of the apartment, evidence was secured, and both the
defendant and his companion were transported to the Gretna
Police Department. This concluded Detective Vincent's
role in the investigation.
cross examination, Detective Vincent testified that he did
not recall whether he placed defendant and Ms. McCallon, the
woman accompanying defendant, face down on the ground after
handcuffing them. Detective Vincent did not remember speaking
to defendant prior to the search, but he believed that
defendant and Ms. McCallon were advised of their rights by
Detective Arnold. No drugs, or other contraband, were found
at the time the apartment was searched.
redirect examination, Detective Vincent testified that he was
aware of a "simultaneous search" of another
location, which also involved defendant, taking place at the
same time the warrant was executed on Wall Boulevard.
Detective Vincent identified defendant in open court as the
person he arrested at 3300 Wall Boulevard.
Joel O'Lear of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office
was tendered as an expert in latent print processing and
comparison and accepted by stipulation of defendant. Sergeant
O'Lear testified that he had taken defendant's
fingerprints on a "ten print card" earlier on the
date of trial and compared these to the fingerprints
contained in a certified conviction packet from a possession
of Crack cocaine charge dated May 26, 2009, and determined
that the fingerprints were made by the same individual.
stipulation of defendant and the State, a redacted transcript
of prior testimony given by Detective Stephen Arnold on
October 14, 2011, was read to the jury. Detective Arnold
testified that he was employed by the Jefferson Parish
Sheriff's Office and assigned to the Major Crimes Task
Force. Detective Arnold participated in a narcotics
investigation that ultimately led to the arrest of defendant,
whom he identified in court. Detective Arnold took a
statement from defendant on February 10, 2011, after advising
him of his constitutional rights, both verbally and on a
written form. The Rights of Arrestee form, which was
initialed by defendant, indicated that defendant was under
arrest and would be charged with possession of over 28 grams
of Crack cocaine. That same form indicated that defendant
wished to give a statement without the presence of an
attorney. Defendant indicated to Detective Arnold that he
understood his rights and agreed to waive them before
defendant gave a statement. An address given by defendant at
the time of his statement was 2101 Manhattan, apartment
H-206. Detective Arnold stated that the Manhattan address
provided by defendant was one of the apartments searched in
Arnold denied telling defendant that his girlfriend would be
charged along with him unless he cooperated with the
connection with Detective Arnold's testimony that was
read into the record, the State introduced the recorded
statement of defendant and a transcription of defendant's
statement. The audio statement was played for the jury. In
his statement, defendant first acknowledges that he was
advised of his rights and waived those rights to give a
statement without an attorney present. Defendant said that
the statement was being given of his own free will and was
not coerced. The remaining relevant portions of the statement
were as follows:
Ok at that time we executed a lawful order of search and
located no contraband at that location, we also had search
warrants for your other locations that you used for
residences at time to time, uh, one which is on King's
Road and also another one is uh, the St. Germaine Apartments
on Manhattan Boulevard in Harvey, I want to talk to you about
the, the apartments on Manhattan, 2101 Manhattan, Apartment
H206, have you resided at that apartment in the recent past?
Ok located at that apartment was um, over twenty-eight grams
of cocaine, was that uh, was that drugs, are you aware of
that [sic] drugs?
Yes. DETECTIVE ARNOLD:
Was that for anybody else but yourself?
No. DETECTIVE ARNOLD:
So that cocaine was for you, is that correct?
Yes. DETECTIVE ARNOLD:
Ok, how long have you been selling cocaine?
Do you use ...