Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Taylor

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 27, 2017

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
JAMAL C. TAYLOR

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 12-1225, DIVISION "G" HONORABLE E. ADRIAN ADAMS, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D. Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, JAMAL C. TAYLOR Lieu T. Vo Clark.

          DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, JAMAL C. TAYLOR In Proper Person.

          Panel composed of Judges Marc E. Johnson, Stephen J. Windhorst, and Hans J. Liljeberg

          HANS J. LILJEBERG, JUDGE

         Defendant, Jamal C. Taylor, appeals his convictions and sentences for three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. For the following reasons, we affirm defendant's convictions. In addition, we affirm defendant's sentence imposed with respect to his conviction for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Because we find the district court imposed indeterminate sentences with respect to each of the three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, we vacate defendant's sentences for these counts and remand for resentencing in a manner consistent with this opinion. Further, we grant appellate counsel's motion to withdraw as counsel of record for defendant.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On May 10, 2012, a Jefferson Parish Grand Jury returned a multi-count indictment charging defendant with five counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of La. R.S. 14:95.1 (counts two, three, five, seven, and nine), one count of attempted second degree murder in violation of La. R.S. 14:27 and La. R.S. 14:30.1 (count four), one count of second degree murder in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1 (count six), and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine in violation of La. R.S. 40:967(A) (count ten). Defendant pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on May 11, 2012.[1]

         Defendant filed several motions during the pre-trial proceedings. On August 10, 2012, defendant filed omnibus motions to suppress his confession, identification and physical evidence. No hearing was conducted on these omnibus motions. On March 14, 2013, defendant filed motions to sever the trials of the defendants and the offenses filed against him, which the district court denied on May 28, 2013. On April 23, 2013, defendant filed a motion to quash the five counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, arguing that La. R.S. 14:95.1 was unconstitutional. The district court granted the motion to quash and found these counts unconstitutional on May 28, 2013. The State filed an appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which reversed the ruling granting the motion to quash in State v. Eberhardt, 13-2306, 14-209 (La. 7/1/14), 145 So.3d 377. [2]

         On September 14, 2015, defendant filed a motion to recuse the prosecutor, which the district court denied on January 14, 2016. On February 23, 2017, the district court denied defendant's reurged motion to sever the defendants and offenses. On March 16, 2017, defendant filed a motion to declare La. C.Cr.P. art. 782(A) unconstitutional because it permits non-unanimous jury verdicts for felony charges, and a motion in limine to exclude autopsy photos. On March 17, 2017, the district court denied the motion contesting the constitutionality of La. C.Cr.P. art. 782(A), but granted in part the motion to exclude certain autopsy photos.

         On March 20, 2017, the parties began jury selection. On the following day, defendant agreed to enter into a plea agreement. The State entered a nolle prosequi on the attempted second degree murder charge (count four) and second degree murder charge (count six), as well as two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (counts five and seven). Defendant withdrew his pleas of not guilty to the remaining counts, and after being advised of his Boykin[3] rights, entered pleas of guilty to three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (counts two, three, and nine) and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine (count ten), pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford[4] and State v. Crosby.[5] In accordance with the plea agreement, the district court sentenced defendant on counts two, three, and nine to 15 years imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.[6] As to count ten, the district court sentenced defendant to 20 years imprisonment at hard labor with the first two years to be served without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. The court further ordered the sentences to run concurrent with each other.

         On the same date, the State filed a multiple offender bill of information on count ten, alleging defendant to be a second felony offender. Defendant stipulated to the multiple bill after being advised of his rights. The district court vacated defendant's original sentence on count ten, and pursuant to the multiple offender plea agreement, sentenced defendant as a second felony offender under La. R.S. 15:529.1, to 20 years imprisonment at hard labor, with the first two years to be served without benefits. The court further ordered defendant's enhanced sentence to run concurrent with the other sentences imposed in this case, and recommended defendant participate in any self-help programs available to him.

         Following sentencing on March 21, 2017, defendant filed a motion for appeal which was granted by the district court on March 22, 2017. Defendant's appeal follows.

         FACTS

         Because defendant's convictions were the result of guilty pleas, the facts underlying the crimes of conviction are not fully developed in the record. Thus, the facts were gleaned from the factual basis provided by the State at the guilty plea proceeding. The State submitted that with regard to counts two, three, and nine, the evidence would have established that on June 21, 2011 (count two), August 2, 2011 (count three), and January 9, 2012 (count nine), defendant violated La. R.S. 14:95.1 by possessing firearms after he was previously convicted of the crime of possession of cocaine in Case No. 04-383 in the United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana. With respect to count ten, the State alleged the evidence would establish that on January 9, 2012, defendant violated Louisiana R.S. 40:967(A) in that he knowingly possessed cocaine with the intent to distribute.

         ANDERS BRIEF

         Under the procedure adopted by this Court in State v. Bradford, 95-929 (La.App. 5 Cir. 6/25/96), 676 So.2d 1108, 1110-11, [7] appointed appellate counsel filed a brief asserting that counsel thoroughly reviewed the district court record and cannot find any non-frivolous issues to raise on appeal. Accordingly, pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967) and State v. Jyles, 96-2669 (La. 12/12/97), 704 So.2d 241, appointed counsel requests permission to withdraw as counsel of record.

         In Anders, supra, the United States Supreme Court stated that appointed appellate counsel may request permission to withdraw if counsel finds the case to be wholly frivolous after a conscientious examination of it. The request must be accompanied by "a brief referring to anything in the record that might arguably support the appeal" so as to provide the reviewing court "with a basis for determining whether appointed counsel have fully performed their duty to support their clients' appeals to the best of their ability" and to assist the reviewing court "in making the critical determination whether the appeal is indeed so frivolous that counsel should be permitted to withdraw." McCoy v. Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, Dist. 1, 486 U.S. 429, 439, 108 S.Ct. 1895, 1902, 100 L.Ed.2d 440 (1988).

         In Jyles, 704 So.2d at 241, the Louisiana Supreme Court stated that an Anders brief need not tediously catalog every meritless pre-trial motion or objection made at trial with a detailed explanation of why the motions or objections lack merit. The Supreme Court explained that an Anders brief must demonstrate by full discussion and analysis that appellate counsel "has cast an advocate's eye over the trial record and considered whether any ruling made by the trial court, subject to the contemporaneous objection rule, had a significant, adverse impact on shaping the evidence presented to the jury for its consideration." Id.

         When conducting a review for compliance with Anders, an appellate court must conduct an independent review of the record to determine whether the appeal is wholly frivolous. Bradford, 676 So.2d at 1110. If, after an independent review, the reviewing court determines there are no non-frivolous issues for appeal, it may grant counsel's motion to withdraw and affirm the defendant's conviction and sentence. However, if the court finds any legal point arguable on the merits, it may either deny the motion and order the court-appointed attorney to file a brief arguing the legal point(s) identified by the court, or grant the motion and appoint substitute appellate counsel. Id.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendant's appellate counsel asserts that after a detailed review of the record, counsel could find no non-frivolous issues to raise on appeal. Appellate counsel maintains that defendant's decision to change his plea from not guilty to guilty was fully informed as he was advised of the legal consequences of a guilty plea by both his counsel as well as the district court. Counsel avers that the district court informed defendant of the sentencing ranges for the offenses and the sentences the court would impose, including the enhanced sentence, upon the acceptance of defendant's guilty pleas. Accordingly, appellate counsel asserts that defendant is now restricted by law from appealing his sentences. Additionally, appellate counsel notes that while defendant entered his guilty pleas pursuant to State v. Crosby, supra, he did not specify which pre-trial rulings were being preserved for appeal. Thus, because the pre-trial motions filed by defendant do not substantially relate to his guilt, appellate counsel concludes no adverse rulings were preserved for review.

         Appellate counsel filed a motion to withdraw as attorney of record indicating counsel notified defendant of the filing of the motion and advised him of his right to file a pro se brief in this appeal. Additionally, this Court sent defendant a letter by certified mail informing him that his counsel filed an Anders brief and allowed him until September 17, 2017, to file a pro se supplemental brief. On September 12, 2017, this Court granted defendant's request to view the appellate record, as well as an extension until October 12, 2017, to file his brief. On October 10, 2017, defendant filed a pro se supplemental brief raising four assignments of error.

         An independent review of the record supports appellate counsel's assertion that no non-frivolous issues for appeal exist. Our review, however, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.