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State v. Banks

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

December 21, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
MAURICE BANKS

         On Appeal from the 32nd Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of Terrebonne State of Louisiana Trial Court Numbers 729, 068 c/w 736, 842 Honorable John R. Walker, Judge Presiding

          Joseph L. Waitz, Jr. District Attorney Ellen Daigle Doskey Assistant District Attorney Houma, LA Attorneys for Appellee, State ofLouisiana

          Bertha M. Hillman Louisiana Appellate Project Covington, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/ Appellant, Maurice Banks

          BEFORE HIGGINBOTHAM, HOLDRIDGE, AND PENZATO, JJ.

          PENZATO, JUDGE.

         The defendant, Maurice Banks, was charged by bill of information with obscenity, a violation of La. R.S. 14:106. The defendant pled not guilty and, following a jury trial, was found guilty as charged. The defendant filed a motion for postverdict judgment of acquittal, which was denied. The State filed a habitual offender bill of information. At a hearing on the matter, the defendant was adjudicated a fourth-or-subsequent-felony habitual offender and sentenced to thirty years imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence.[1] The defendant now appeals asserting one assignment of error. We affirm the conviction, habitual offender adjudication, and sentence.

         FACTS

         The defendant was an inmate at Terrebonne Parish Criminal Justice Complex (Ashland Jail). The inmates were housed in pods. Each pod had eight dorms, and each dorm had eight cells. The dorms were secured, not with bars, but with clear security glass. On June 28, 2016, the defendant was in his cell (in the "Charlie" pod). D.B., [2] an EMT for Ashland Jail, was passing out medications to inmates that day. D.B. testified at trial that as she approached the hatch hole (where medications were dispensed) to the defendant's dorm, she saw the defendant masturbating. D.B. informed the deputy who was making the rounds with her that the defendant was exposing himself. By the time the deputy approached to see inside the defendant's cell, the defendant covered himself with a sheet so that he could not be seen. A surveillance video at the jail captured the defendant's actions and was introduced at trial.

         The defendant did not testify at trial.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         In his sole assignment of error, the defendant argues the evidence was not sufficient to support the conviction of obscenity.

         A conviction based on insufficient evidence cannot stand as it violates Due Process. See U.S. Const, amend. XIV; La. Const, art. I, § 2. The standard of review for the sufficiency of the evidence to uphold a conviction is whether or not, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). See La. Code Crim. P. art. 821(B); State v. Ordodi, 2006-0207 (La. 11/29/06), 946 So.2d 654, 660; State v. Mussall, 523 So.2d 1305, 1308-09 (La. 1988). The Jackson standard of review, incorporated in Article 821, is an objective standard for testing the overall evidence, both direct and circumstantial, for reasonable doubt. When analyzing circumstantial evidence, La. R.S. 15:438 provides that the factfinder must be satisfied the overall evidence excludes every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. State v. Patorno, 2001-2585 (La.App. 1 Cir. 6/21/02), 822 So.2d 141, 144.

         Louisiana Revised Statute 14:106 ...


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