FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 524-917,
SECTION "C" Honorable Benedict J. Willard, Judge
Cannizzaro DISTRICT ATTORNEY Donna Andrieu, Chief of Appeals
ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY J. Taylor Gray ASSISTANT DISTRICT
ATTORNEY Scott G. Vincent ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY ORLEANS
PARISH COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT/STATE OF LOUISIANA.
Bernal COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.
composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Roland L.
Belsome, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano.
L. Belsome Judge.
State of Louisiana appeals the trial court's judgment
granting the second motion to quash the bill of information
filed by the Defendant, Celio DaCruz. For the following
reasons, we reverse and remand for proceedings consistent
with this opinion.
OF THE CASE
case stems from a fiduciary relationship between a
contractor/construction company and a property owner. On
January 31, 2012, Detective Shannon Carr of the New Orleans
Police Department filed an affidavit concerning the alleged
offense. Based on an interview with the victim, Detective
Carr alleged that the Defendant violated La. R.S. 14:67;
Felony Theft. In the affidavit, Detective Carr requested
warrants for the Defendant and attested to the following:
The victim told the Detective that she entered into an
agreement with Celio Da Cruz [sic], to renovate and make
repairs to her property, which is a double unit. The victim
stated she paid Da Cruz [sic] $15, 000.00. The victim stated
the work Da Cruz [sic] failed to complete at 128 N. Johnson
Street, included: the framing of the addition, the install of
the walls, the install of the sheetrock, the install of the
roof, and the painting of the interior. The victim stated the
work Da Cruz [sic] failed to do at 130 N. Johnson St.
included: the install of the bath, the install of the
plumbing, the install of the deck, and the install of the
porch and rails.
same day Detective Carr filed the affidavit, the trial court
issued an arrest warrant for the Defendant.
of information filed on May 22, 2015, the State charged the
Defendant with theft of over $1, 500.00 a violation of La.
R.S. 14:67(B)(1).The bill of information alleged that the
theft occurred between November 5, 2010, and June 6, 2011.
Subsequent to the filing of the bill of information and the
issuance of an alias capias for his failure to appear at
arraignment, the Defendant was arrested in January of 2016.
The Defendant later pled not guilty at arraignment.
3, 2016, the Defendant filed a motion to quash, urging that
the time limit to institute prosecution had elapsed. After a
hearing on July 27, 2016, the trial court denied the
Defendant's motion to quash the bill of
information. The case was later transferred from
Division L (Judge Franz Zibilich) to Division C (Judge
Benedict Willard) on September 13, 2016. Trial was
initially set for March 15, 2017.
day of trial, the Defendant filed a second motion to quash
the bill of information, again claiming that the time limit
to institute prosecution on the charged offense had
prescribed. Trial was continued due to the pending motion.
The State opposed the Defendant's motion, arguing that
the plain language of La. C.Cr.P. art. 577 prohibited the
Defendant from challenging the timeliness of prosecution more
than once. Two days later, the trial court heard and granted
the Defendant's second motion to quash the bill of
information, finding that the Defendant only filed one motion
to quash in its section of court. This timely appeal