Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Celestine

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

November 29, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
FABIAN CELESTINE

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 15, 592, DIVISION "D" HONORABLE M. LAUREN LEMMON, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Joel T. Chaisson, II Louis G. Authement

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, FABIAN CELESTINE Mary Constance Hanes

          Louis G. Authement COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, FABIAN CELESTINE

          Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Marc E. Johnson, and Hans J. Liljeberg

          FREDERICKA HOMBERG WICKER JUDGE.

         Defendant, Fabian Celestine, appeals his conviction and sentence for oral sexual battery in violation of La. R.S. 14:43.3(A)(1). On appeal, defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence presented against him at trial and further claims that his thirty-year sentence is excessive. For the following reasons, we affirm defendant's conviction and sentence.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         On December 2, 2015, the St. Charles Parish District Attorney filed a bill of information charging defendant, Fabian Celestine, with oral sexual battery in violation of La. R.S. 14:43.3(A)(1).[1] Defendant pled not guilty at his arraignment.

         On March 15, 2016, a unanimous twelve-person jury found defendant guilty as charged and, further specifically found that the victim had not attained the age of thirteen years at the time of the offense.[2] On September 13, 2016, defendant filed a motion for new trial and post-verdict judgment of acquittal, which the trial judge denied. After waiving delays, the trial court sentenced defendant to thirty years imprisonment, with the first twenty-five years to be served without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. Following sentencing, defendant moved for reconsideration of his sentence, which the trial judge denied. This appeal follows.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On January 28, 2015, Detective Walter Banks, a juvenile detective with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office, received an anonymous call reporting that a female juvenile, J.S.[3], disclosed sexual abuse by a family member. Because the anonymous caller did not provide a street address, Detective Banks contacted the local school and learned that J.S. was a student at the school. He proceeded to the school to meet with J.S.

         Detective Banks took a recorded statement from J.S.[4] When asked "what happened last year" at her home, J.S. became "somber" and described that she was in her bed sleeping, when she felt cold and wet. As she reached for her covers, she noticed her pants and underwear pulled down. She described that defendant, her mother's boyfriend, was in her room and "took his hands to open [her] butt and he was…sticking his tongue in it." J.S. immediately told her mother what happened, and her mother started crying and fighting with defendant. J.S. described that defendant took a fish tank and "busted it over his head" and then went into the kitchen and "took a pot top" and hit himself in the head with it. She stated that after the incident she "became a different person" and that she was "uncomfortable" around defendant and "couldn't stand him."

         After taking J.S.'s statement, Detective Banks contacted the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and briefed a DCFS case worker on his investigation. Detective Banks testified that the DCFS worker took J.S.'s statement and confirmed that J.S.'s statement to DCFS was consistent with the one J.S. provided to him.

         Sergeant Clint Patterson with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office Juvenile Division testified that he met with J.S. and conducted a forensic interview on January 30, 2015.[5] In her forensic interview, J.S. discussed that, before this incident happened, defendant would come into her room "every time he drank" to talk to her about "sex and boys, " which made her uncomfortable. She recalled that during one of these conversations, defendant tried to put his hand down her pants, but she swatted his hand away.

         In the forensic interview, J.S. described the incident consistently with the statement she gave to Detective Banks. J.S. identified defendant as her mother's boyfriend and stated that the incident happened during the summertime when she was twelve years old. She stated that during that time, she and her five siblings were living with defendant and her mother. She explained that four of her siblings are half-siblings, and that defendant is the father of those siblings. J.S. recalled that when the incident happened, she was in bed with her three younger half-sisters who were asleep.

         J.S. told Sergeant Patterson that the day before the forensic interview, while defendant was collecting his things to leave the home, defendant profusely apologized to her, claiming that although he could not "take it back, " he was on "a lot of drugs" the night of the incident. J.S also reported that defendant pleaded with her, asking her to "please have a heart" and explaining that he "could not go to jail."

         Detective Banks interviewed defendant and described him as "soft spoken and apologetic." After advising defendant of his Miranda[6] rights, Detective Banks took two recorded statements from defendant.[7] In his first statement, defendant told Detective Banks that he was a father-figure in J.S.'s life since she was approximately two or three years old. While he did recall an incident during which he broke a fish tank over his head after a night of drinking, he could not remember when he did so. In ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.