APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 15-5287, DIVISION
"I" HONORABLE NANCY A. MILLER, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Anne M. Wallis Seth W. Shute.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, MONROE WILSON Katherine M.
composed of Judges Robert M. Murphy, Stephen J. Windhorst,
and Hans J. Liljeberg
STEPHEN J. WINDHORST JUDGE.
18, 2016, defendant, Monroe Wilson, pled guilty to one count
of possession of twenty-eight grams or more, but less than
two hundred grams of cocaine. Defendant was sentenced to five
years imprisonment at hard labor and ordered to pay a $50,
000.00 fine. For the reasons that follow, we affirm
defendant's conviction and sentence.
October 5, 2015, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed
a bill of information charging defendant, Monroe Wilson, with
possession of a firearm while in possession of cocaine in
violation of La. R.S. 14:95(E) (count one). Defendant was
arraigned on October 20, 2015, and pled not guilty.
18, 2016, the State amended count one of the bill of
information to possession of cocaine, "28g - 200g, a
felony" in violation of La. R.S. 40:967 F. On the same
date, defendant withdrew his not guilty plea and pled guilty
to possession of twenty-eight grams or more, but less than
two hundred grams of cocaine.Thereafter, the trial court
sentenced defendant to imprisonment at hard labor for five
years and ordered defendant to pay a $50, 000.00
fine. The trial court ordered his sentence to
run concurrently with case number 15-5568.
August 17, 2016, defendant filed a motion to reconsider the
mandatory fine. After a hearing, the trial court denied
defendant's motion. This appeal followed.
defendant pled guilty, the underlying facts were not fully
developed at a trial. Nevertheless, the State alleged in the
amended bill of information that defendant violated La. R.S.
40:967 F in that he possessed cocaine, "28g - 200
g." During the guilty plea colloquy, the trial court
asked defendant what occurred on August 26, 2015 that caused
him to plead guilty, and defendant responded that he was in
possession of cocaine. Defendant further stated that the cocaine
was in the amount of twenty-eight grams or more, but less
than two hundred grams. Additionally, the trial court stated
to defendant, "You understand that by pleading guilty
you are telling the Court that you have in fact committed the
crime to which you are pleading guilty; is that
correct?" Defendant replied, "Yes, ma'am."
sole assignment of error, defendant contends that the
mandatory $50, 000 fine was constitutionally excessive as
applied to him. He contends that the fine is unconstitutional
under the tests for excessiveness set forth by the United
States Supreme Court and the Louisiana Supreme Court because
it is (1) disproportionate to the gravity of the offense; (2)
significantly harsher than fines imposed on other indigent
people convicted of the same crime in the same jurisdiction,
(3) significantly harsher than fines imposed on people
convicted of the same crime in neighboring jurisdictions, (4)
does not fit the nature of this offense and this offender,
and (5) fails to advance any legislative purpose of
punishment. He asserts that not only does this fine fail to
contribute to legitimate goals of punishment, it actively
works against the key goal of rehabilitation by ...