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State v. Henderson

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

November 29, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
TRAVIS HENDERSON

         APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 511-000, SECTION "L" Honorable Franz Zibilich, Judge

          Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr., District Attorney Donna Andrieu, Assistant District Attorney Donald G. Cassels, III, Assistant District Attorney PARISH OF ORLEANS COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE/STATE OF LOUISIANA

          Katherine M. Franks COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT

          Court composed of Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins

          SANDRA CABRINA JENKINS, JUDGE

          This is defendant Travis Henderson's second appeal arising from his convictions for armed robbery and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. In his original appeal, defendant argued that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to confront a witness, J.W., who testified against him at trial, when the trial court denied the defense motion to discover J.W.'s juvenile adjudication record for purposes of impeachment evidence. See State v. Henderson, 13-0526 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/19/14), 136 So.3d 223. Upon finding that the trial court erred in denying the defense motion without first examining J.W.'s juvenile record as required by State v. Perkins, 03-1680 (La. 6/27/03), 852 So.2d 989, this Court remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether it was harmless error to deny defendant discovery of J.W.'s juvenile record. On remand, the trial court reviewed J.W.'s juvenile record and found no error in its ruling denying defendant discovery and admission of the juvenile record based on the lack of impeachment value therein; consequently, defendant's convictions stand.

          In the instant appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred in again denying discovery and admission of J.W.'s juvenile record and in failing to find that the denial was not harmless error. For the following reasons, we find no merit in defendant's arguments and we affirm.

         STATEMENT OF CASE

         On March 21, 2012, the State filed a bill of information charging defendant with one count of armed robbery with a firearm, in violation of La. R.S. 14:64, one count of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, in violation of La. R.S. 14:92 E(1), and one count of illegal possession of stolen things, in violation of La. R.S. 14:69. On March 26, 2012, defendant entered pleas of not guilty on all counts. Subsequently, the count of illegal possession of stolen things was severed and defendant entered a plea of guilty to that charge. As to the remaining charges, the case proceeded to a jury trial.

         On January 8, 2013, at the conclusion of a two-day jury trial, defendant was found guilty as charged of armed robbery and of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile [to wit, J.W.]. On January 25, 2013, the trial court sentenced defendant on the respective convictions to seventy years at hard labor without benefits and five years at hard labor, to run concurrently. The State then filed a multiple bill charging defendant as a fourth felony offender as to his armed robbery conviction. On February 25, 2013, the trial court adjudicated defendant a fourth felony offender and sentenced him to life imprisonment without benefits. Defendant then timely appealed his convictions, habitual offender adjudication, and sentences to this Court.

         In ruling on defendant's prior appeal, on February 19, 2014, this Court remanded the case to the trial court to review J.W.'s juvenile record and make it part of the record (under seal). In addition, this Court vacated defendant's habitual offender adjudication and sentence, because the exhibits introduced at the multiple bill proceeding were not made a part of the record and could not be located.

         On remand, on April 16, 2014, the trial court held a hearing pursuant to this Court's decree. At that hearing, the trial court reviewed J.W.'s juvenile record and found no error in denying defendant discovery and use at trial of J.W.'s juvenile record; thus, the trial court found no trial error and upheld defendant's convictions.

         Also following the remand from this Court, the State filed another multiple bill charging defendant as a third felony offender as to his armed robbery conviction. On December 8, 2016, the trial court held a multiple bill hearing, adjudicated defendant a third felony offender, and sentenced him to seventy years without benefits. That same day, defense counsel filed a motion to reconsider sentence, which remains pending in the trial court, and a motion for appeal, which was granted.[1] This timely appeal follows.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

          The facts of this case, as set forth in this Court's previous opinion, are as follows:

At a motion hearing on 8 June 2012, and at the jury trial on 8 January 2013, Detective Travis Ward testified that he was employed at the Eighth District of the New Orleans Police Department ("NOPD") in the Violent Crimes Unit when he was called to investigate an armed robbery on 2 January 2012. He explained that the victim was walking in the 1000 block of Ursulines Street in New Orleans, while talking on her cell phone, when she was approached by a young male. According to Detective Ward, the young male began to question the victim as to what she was doing, et cetera. The victim motioned for the young man to leave her alone. At that time, a white van pulled up, and the driver got out. The driver told the young male something to the effect of showing him how to do it; the driver took a gun from the young male and robbed the victim of her bag and cell phone. The victim watched as the two suspects got into the white van, sat for a short moment, and then drove away. During trial, the detective identified Henderson in the courtroom as the suspect who had exited the white van and took the victim's belongings. Detective Ward also testified that he viewed a bad quality video surveillance film of the crime. He stated that he learned from the victim that her cell phone was used after it was stolen. The victim was able to obtain the number that was called from her phone, and she provided him with that information. He also testified that he called the phone number provided by the victim and linked the call to the home of a Ms. Karen Elzey in New Orleans. Detective Ward testified that he and Detective Willie Jenkins went to the home of Ms. Elzey and, with Ms. Elzey's permission, questioned her daughter, Alicia Elzey, who explained that the phone number called from the victim's stolen cell phone was her phone number and that she remembered receiving a call from J.W., a minor who at the time of trial was held in a juvenile detention program, and who she knew attended Marrero Middle School.
Detective Ward testified that he searched the database for J.W. and located him at Marrero Middle School. He and Detective Michael Flores went to the school and retrieved six photographs of students, one being of J.W. He stated that an identification of J.W. was made by the victim after he showed her the six photographs. Thereafter, Detective Ward went to the home of J.W., where J.W. admitted to the events and told the detective that an air pistol, not a real (gunpowder) gun, was used during the crime. J.W. also stated that he was accompanied by Travis Henderson at the time of the crime. After investigating the matter further, Detective Ward learned that Henderson had been recently arrested in the French Quarter for a simple robbery. He obtained a photograph of Henderson and returned to J.W., who identified Henderson as "the person who was teaching him to rob people."
At the jury trial on 7 January 2013, Detective Troy Williams testified that he was a sergeant with the NOPD for approximately nineteen years. He stated that in July of 1999, while a detective in the Eight District, he was called to investigate an armed robbery at the intersection of Burgundy Street and Ursulines Avenue. He testified that two females were robbed at gunpoint. A few days later a suspect, fitting the description of the armed robber in this case, was stopped in close proximity to where the crime occurred. Detective Williams ...

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