APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 14-6369, DIVISION
"A" HONORABLE RAYMOND S. STEIB, JR., JUDGE
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux, Thomas J. Butler, Blair C.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, WESTLEY SIMMONS Jane L.
composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Fredericka Homberg
Wicker, and Robert M. Murphy
M. CHEHARDY, CHIEF JUDGE
Westley Simmons appeals his multiple offender adjudication as
a second felony offender. For the reasons that follow, we
affirm defendant's convictions and multiple offender
adjudication, amend and affirm as amended defendant's
multiple offender sentence, affirm defendant's other
sentences, and remand the matter for correction of the
commitment/minute entry and the Uniform Commitment Order.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
November 15, 2014, near Manhattan Boulevard and the Westbank
Expressway in Jefferson Parish, a license plate reader
flagged a passing vehicle as stolen. Deputy Thorin Guidry of
the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office ("JPSO")
was on duty nearby and tracked the vehicle to a residence in
Harvey. There, with the assistance of JPSO Sergeant Lee Hardy
and JPSO Deputies Chad Gagnon, Blake Hollifield, and Patrick
New, the officers sought to recover the stolen vehicle. Upon
speaking with an individual outside the residence, the
officers detected an odor of marijuana and learned that the
driver of the vehicle was inside the residence. The officers
announced their presence and knocked on the partially opened
door causing it to open fully and providing the officers with
a complete view inside. The marijuana odor became stronger
once the door was opened, making it apparent that it was
coming from within the residence.
the opened door the officers observed an individual standing
in the kitchen who was later identified as defendant and who
matched the description of the driver of the stolen vehicle.
Upon observing the officers, defendant attempted to escape
out the back door and the officers gave chase. Deputy
Hollifield observed defendant move his hands towards his
right hip, suggesting that defendant was attempting to
conceal or "grab for something." After a brief
struggle, defendant was subdued and a firearm was recovered
from his waistband. He was placed under arrest, advised of
his Miranda rights, and searched. From his pockets
were recovered a key to the stolen car, a digital scale, five
hundred fifty dollars in cash, Tramadol, and a clear plastic
bag containing individually-wrapped quantities of crack
cocaine, individually-wrapped foils of heroin, and a bag of
powder cocaine. When asked about the key, defendant replied,
"You got me. It was a crack rental from a white guy
in Avondale." At trial, however, defendant denied having
the key to the stolen vehicle, the gun, and the drugs.
December 5, 2014, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney
filed a bill of information charging defendant with
possession with intent to distribute cocaine, a violation of
La. R.S. 40:967(A) (count three); possession of a firearm by
a convicted felon, a violation of La. R.S. 14:95.1 (count
four); possession of heroin, a violation of La. R.S.
40:966(C) (count five); possession of cocaine, a violation of
La. R.S. 40:967(C) (count six); and possession without a
prescription of Tramadol, a violation of La. R.S. 40:1238.1
(count seven). Defendant pled not guilty to the charges.
a two-day jury trial, on May 25, 2016, a twelve-person jury
returned a verdict of guilty as charged on all counts. On
June 17, 2016, the district court sentenced defendant to
concurrent terms of five years imprisonment at hard labor on
each of counts three, five, six, and seven; and on count
four, the court sentenced defendant to a concurrent term of
fifteen years imprisonment at hard labor, without the benefit
of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence for the first
September 13, 2016, the State filed a multiple offender bill
of information alleging defendant was a second felony
offender. At the multiple bill hearing on December 21, 2016,
the district court adjudicated defendant a second felony
offender, vacated his original sentence on count three, and
imposed an enhanced sentence of fifteen years imprisonment at
hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or
suspension of sentence. Defendant timely appealed.
defendant's sole assignment of error on appeal, he argues
that the trial court erred in adjudicating him a second
felony offender. He contends that the State failed to
introduce evidence of his predicate conviction at the
multiple offender hearing. Defendant concedes that he
admitted to the predicate conviction at his trial in relation
to his charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted
felon, but argues that ...