FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO.
130-664 HONORABLE MONIQUE FREEMAN RAULS, DISTRICT JUDGE
M. Ikerd COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT
Honorable Phillip Terrell, Jr. COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE
Clark COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Shannon J.
Gremillion, and John E. Conery, Judges.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION JUDGE
1974, Defendant, Roderick Thomas, entered a plea of guilty to
second degree murder, a violation of La.R.S. 14:30.1.
Defendant waived sentencing delays, and the trial court
sentenced him to life imprisonment without benefit of parole,
probation, or suspension of sentence for the first twenty
years. Defendant was seventeen years old when he was
sentenced. Subsequently, the legislature amended La.R.S.
14:30.1 to eliminate parole eligibility.
March 2016, Defendant filed a motion to reconsider sentence
based upon the ruling in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S.
460, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012), which held that the Constitution
bars sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility
of parole for juvenile homicide offenders. In March 2017, the
trial court heard the motion and modified Defendant's
life sentence to include the possibility of parole.
now appeals, assigning two errors. For the following reasons,
Defendant's sentence is affirmed.
OF ERROR NUMBER ONE
first assignment of error, Defendant argues the district
court erred by amending his sentence to life imprisonment
with the possibility of parole, contending that said penalty
was not authorized by the legislature and thus was not a
legal sentence. He argues that Louisiana "[c]ourts do
not have authority to declare 'ranges' of sentences
for crimes under the Louisiana Constitution." While he
acknowledges that the district court acted in accordance with
the holding in State v. Montgomery, 13-1163 (La.
6/28/16), 194 So.3d 606, he characterizes the
Montgomery ruling as unconstitutional based on his
premise regarding courts' authority or lack thereof. He
reasons that his sentence of life imprisonment with the
possibility of parole was improper because at the time of
sentencing, the legislature had not authorized such a
legislature has recently clarified that certain juvenile
homicide offenders sentenced to life imprisonment shall be
eligible for parole. Significantly, La.Code Crim.P. art.
878.1 was amended by 2017 La. Acts No. 277, § 2, and now
provides in pertinent part:
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