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State v. Bardell

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

November 15, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
DONALD BARDELL

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 16-2714, DIVISION "P" HONORABLE LEE V. FAULKNER, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D. Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Anne M. Wallis Michael D. Smith, Jr. Molly Massey.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, DONALD BARDELL Jane L. Beebe.

          Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and Robert A. Chaisson.

          ROBERT A. CHAISSON JUDGE.

         Defendant, Donald Bardell, appeals his conviction and sentence for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and specifically challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence. Having found no merit to the arguments presented on appeal, we affirm defendant's conviction and sentence and remand the matter to the district court for correction of the commitments.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On May 4, 2016, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed a bill of information charging defendant with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of La. R.S. 40:967(A). At his arraignment, defendant pled not guilty. Following resolution of some pretrial motions, defendant proceeded to trial before a twelve-person jury on November 29, 2016, and was found guilty as charged.

         Defendant thereafter filed a motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal, arrest of judgment, and alternatively, a motion for new trial. On December 13, 2016, the trial court denied defendant's motion and sentenced him to four years in the Department of Corrections with the first two years of the sentence to be served without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. Defendant now appeals.

         FACTS

         In the evening hours of March 9, 2016, pursuant to information received from a confidential informant, Detective Christopher Cade and other officers with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Narcotics Division set up surveillance in the area of East William David and Ursuline Street in Metairie. Specifically, the informant relayed that a narcotics transaction involving a black male known as "Donald" would occur in that area and that the subject would be driving a dark blue Acura sedan with dark tinted windows.

         At approximately 9:45 p.m., during the time frame specified by the informant for the transaction, Detective Cade observed a car matching the description arrive in the area and pull to the side of the road. Shortly thereafter, a white female approached, leaned into the vehicle for about twenty seconds, and then departed. The Acura also left the area, at which point assisting detectives picked up surveillance of the vehicle. Detective Randy Picarella, one of the officers following the car, relayed on the radio that the driver of the car was making "countersurveillance movements, " including driving at a slow rate of speed, signaling to turn but then failing to turn, and taking an indirect route. Further, Detective Picarella observed that the driver failed to use his turn signal.

         Based on the officers' observations and the traffic violation, Detective Cade initiated a traffic stop and approached the driver's side of the vehicle. After explaining to defendant, the driver and sole occupant, the reason for the stop, Detective Cade asked defendant to exit the vehicle. As defendant stepped out, the dome light illuminated the interior of the vehicle, and Detective Cade observed a small off-white rock-like object consistent with cocaine wrapped in a clear plastic bag in the center console. Defendant was then handcuffed and advised of his Miranda[1] rights.

         Thereafter, the officers searched his vehicle, and in the back ashtray of the center console, discovered a bag containing fourteen individually packaged off-white rock-like objects and seven individually wrapped bags of white powder substance.[2] In addition, a search of defendant yielded $240.00 and a cell phone. As a result of this stop, defendant was arrested for possession with intent to distribute cocaine[3] and was issued traffic citations for ...


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