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State v. Duffy

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

January 10, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
BRUCE WAYNE DUFFY Appellant

         Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 301, 388 Honorable Brady D. O'Callaghan, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Carey J. Ellis Counsel for Appellant.

          BRUCE WAYNE DUFFY Pro Se.

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney MEKISHA S. CREAL SENAE D. HALL TOMMY J. JOHNSON Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee.

          Before WILLIAMS, MOORE, and GASKINS (Pro Tempore), JJ.

          WILLIAMS, J.

         The defendant, Bruce Wayne Duffy, was charged by bill of information with issuing worthless checks in an amount of $1, 500 or more, a violation of La. R.S. 14:71. After a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty as charged. Defendant was sentenced to serve 4 years at hard labor, suspended, and was placed on supervised probation for three years, with conditions including the payment of a $200 fine and restitution. Defendant appeals his conviction. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         FACTS

         The record shows that in 2010 defendant received money from an inheritance and opened a savings and checking account with Pelican State Credit Union ("Pelican"). Defendant then obtained a line of credit at Sam's Town Casino in the amount of $20, 000 that was payable from his Pelican checking account. The line of credit allowed defendant to sign markers to gamble.

         On February 22, 2011, defendant signed three markers for a total of $20, 000. On that date, defendant's checking account contained $10, 418. When defendant did not pay the markers within 30 days, the casino submitted the markers to Pelican for payment. The markers were returned unpaid and the casino then sent a demand letter warning defendant that if the debt was not paid, the matter would be sent to the district attorney's office for prosecution.

         Defendant was arrested and charged with issuing worthless checks. Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty as charged. The trial court denied the defendant's motions for new trial and for post-verdict judgment of acquittal. Defendant was sentenced to serve 4 years at hard labor, suspended, with three years of supervised probation. Defendant was ordered to pay a $200 fine and restitution of $20, 000 to Sam's Town Casino. The defendant's motion to reconsider sentence was denied. This appeal followed.

         DISCUSSION

         The defendant contends the evidence presented was insufficient to support the conviction of issuing worthless checks. Defendant argues the state failed to prove that he had the intent to defraud the casino at the time he signed the markers.

         The standard of appellate review for a sufficiency of the evidence claim is whether, after 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 proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); State v. Tate, 2001-1658 (La. 5/20/03), 851 So.2d 921, cert. denied, 541 U.S. 905, 124 S.Ct. 1604, 158 L.Ed.2d 248 (2004); State v. Carter, 42, 894 (La.App. 2 Cir. 1/9/08), 974 So.2d 181, writ denied, 2008-0499 (La. 11/14/08), 996 So.2d 1086. This standard, now legislatively embodied in La. C.Cr.P. art. 821, does not provide the appellate court with a vehicle to substitute its own appreciation of the evidence for ...


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