from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Ouachita, Louisiana Trial Court No. 920, 240 Honorable
Bernard Scott Leehy, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Douglas Lee Harville Counsel for
STEPHEN TEW District Attorney GEARY STEPHEN AYCOCK Assistant
District Attorney Counsel for Appellee.
WILLIAMS, COX, and GASKINS (Pro Tempore), JJ.
criminal appeal arises from the Fourth Judicial District
Court, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. In 1993, the defendant,
James J. Bradley, pled guilty to second degree murder, in
violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1. He was sentenced to the
statutorily mandated sentence of life imprisonment at hard
labor without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of
sentence. The trial court vacated Bradley's original
sentence and resentenced him to life imprisonment with the
benefit of parole. Bradley filed a motion to reconsider,
which was denied. Bradley now appeals his sentence. For the
following reasons, we affirm Bradley's sentence.
January 14, 1992, James Fulmer was shot and killed while
sitting at his dining room table. Bradley, who was 16 years
old at the time, was charged with Fulmer's murder.
Bradley pled guilty to the second degree murder of Fulmer. He
was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor
without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of
19, 2013, Bradley filed a motion to correct an illegal
sentence. Bradley argued that his mandatory life without
parole sentence was illegal under Miller v. Alabama,
567 U.S. 460, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), because
he was a juvenile at the time he committed the crime. Bradley
argued he should be resentenced to the lesser responsive
verdict of manslaughter in accordance with State v.
Craig, 340 So.2d 191 (La. 1976).
state responded by stating the time period for filing an
application for post-conviction relief had lapsed and that
Miller, supra, was not retroactive. On July 15,
2013, the trial court issued an order staying the motion
pending "significant litigation" relevant to the
motion. On February 24, 2016, Bradley filed a pro se motion
seeking the appointment of counsel to represent him in the
resentencing hearing, which was granted. On May 25, 2016, the
trial court orally rejected Bradley's pro se motion for
resentencing to the extent he sought to be resentenced to the
lesser responsive verdict of manslaughter.
27, 2016, Bradley filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal
sentence, setting out the same arguments found in his earlier
motion, and requested an order setting a date for the
resentencing hearing. In a hearing held on August 1, 2016,
the trial court denied Bradley's motion to the extent he
sought resentencing to the lesser responsive verdict of
manslaughter. The trial court held that its only
consideration in resentencing Bradley was his parole
eligibility. The trial court set a hearing date to allow the
prosecution and defense to present aggravating and mitigating
December 19, 2016, the trial court conducted the resentencing
hearing. The trial court heard the state's evidence
regarding aggravating factors and reviewed a presentencing
investigation report. Bradley's sentence was vacated by
the court. The trial court stated it would consider the
state's evidence and, if it found the state had sustained
its burden to prove that Bradley was "the worst of the
worst, " it would give Bradley the opportunity to submit
mitigating evidence at a later date.
February 16, 2017, the trial court orally resentenced Bradley
to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. The
trial court stated it was preparing written reasons for the
ruling. Bradley objected to the ruling and provided notice of
his intent to appeal the sentence.
February 21, 2017, Bradley filed a pro se "Motion to
Clarify Sentence Nunc Pro Tunc, " which was denied on
March 1, 2017. On March 1, 2017, Bradley filed a pro se
"Motion to Reconsideration of Sentence Pursuant to
LSA-C.Cr.P. R.S. 15:574.4(B) Nunc Pro Tunc, " and a pro
se "Motion to Vacate An Illegal Sentence Pursuant to
Art. 872, ...