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State v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

December 12, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
WILLIAM J. BROWN

         APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 526-770, SECTION "A" Honorable Laurie A. White, Judge

          Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr., District Attorney Scott G. Vincent, Assistant District Attorney ORLEANS PARISH COUNSEL FOR STATE OF LOUISIANA/APPELLEE.

          Paul J. Barker Martin Edward Regan, Jr. Graham daPonte REGAN LAW, PLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT

          Court composed of Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins, and Judge Paula A. Brown

          SANDRA CABRINA JENKINS, JUDGE

         The defendant appeals his conviction and sentence for aggravated assault with a firearm. Defendant's conviction and sentence are affirmed.

         Statement of Case and Facts

         After a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty as charged of aggravated assault with a firearm, La. R.S. 14: 37.4. He was sentenced on May 3, 2016, to five years at hard labor and fined $10, 000.00.[1]

         Dale Collie, the victim in this case, was hired by the defendant as a subcontractor to clear, clean and haul away debris. Mr. Collie has been the owner of a construction and demolition company since 1995. It was his practice to subcontract with other companies to perform various jobs. Mr. Collie began working with the defendant after Hurricane Katrina. In August 2015, the defendant obtained a contract with Covenant House to clear and haul away debris in the Ninth Ward. The defendant subcontracted some of the work to Mr. Collie. The agreement was to haul the debris for $10, 000.00 which equated to approximately seven days worth of work.

         Approximately one week after completion of the work, the defendant tendered a $2, 500.00 check to Mr. Collie which, when he attempted to cash, was declined for non-sufficient funds. The very next day, Mr. Collie saw the defendant driving on Gentilly Boulevard and followed him to obtain an explanation for the bad check. The defendant turned onto a side street and stopped. Mr. Collie pulled up behind the defendant's vehicle. The defendant exited his truck and approached Mr. Collie's vehicle. As the defendant approached, Mr. Collie activated the record function on his cell phone. The defendant opened Mr. Collie's door and placed a gun in his side. An argument ensued and the defendant cocked his weapon twice during the verbal exchange.

         Later, Mr. Collie went to the police station to file a report of the incident. While Mr. Collie was at the police station, he learned that the defendant had called 911 earlier and reported him as the armed assailant. Mr. Collie and the defendant were actually at the police station at the same time filing complaints against one another. The police officers placed Mr. Collie and defendant in separate rooms. After listening to the cellphone recording made by Mr. Collie, the officers arrested the defendant.

         The defendant testified at trial. He explained that he was a contractor and had done work for Covenant House in August/September 2015, primarily clearing and removing debris from blighted property in the Ninth Ward. The defendant acknowledged subcontracting some of the work to Mr. Collie for $10, 000.00. The defendant billed Covenant House approximately $17, 000.00 for the work to be performed. The defendant acknowledged that Mr. Collie performed the work he had been subcontracted to do, and the defendant gave him a $2, 500.00 check on September 11, 2015, with the express instruction that the victim was not to negotiate the check until the defendant notified him there were sufficient funds in his account to cover the check. He explained that Mr. Collie attempted to cash the check the following morning, despite instructions not to do so. The bank refused the check due to non-sufficient funds.

         The defendant admitted that he had a verbal confrontation on Sunday, September 13, 2015, over non-payment. He admitted "going off" on Mr. Collie and getting into his face, telling him, "I done killed two or three people" but characterized that as "just talk sh*t."

         The defendant denied brandishing a gun during the confrontation. He verified that he filed a complaint against Mr. Collie, but said the police arrested him.

         SUFFICIENCY ...


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