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State v. Lewis

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

February 7, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
OLIVER LEWIS

         APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 522-142, SECTION "A" Honorable Laurie A. White, Judge

          LOBRANO, J., CONCURS IN THE RESULT Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr. DISTRICT ATTORNEY ORLEANS PARISH Scott G. Vincent Assistant District Attorney COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA.

          Holli Herrle-Castillo LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT P. O. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, OLIVER LEWIS.

          Court composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Dennis R. Bagneris, Pro Tempore.

          Terri F. Love Judge.

         Oliver Lewis was convicted of aggravated rape and unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling. On appeal, Mr. Lewis contends he cannot receive adequate appellate review without being able to review all of the jury challenges. After reviewing, we find that numerous challenges for cause were exercised off-the-record. To ensure Mr. Lewis meaningful appellate review, we remand the matter to determine whether any documentation created contemporaneous to the trial court's rulings excusing the jurors exists.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The evidence underlying Mr. Lewis' convictions is not relevant to the present appeal.

         Following his indictment on charges of aggravated rape and aggravated burglary, Mr. Lewis entered not guilty pleas, but a jury found him guilty of aggravated rape and returned the responsive verdict of unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling on the burglary count. The trial court denied Mr. Lewis' ensuing motion for new trial and imposed consecutive terms of life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence and six years imprisonment at hard labor. The trial court granted Mr. Lewis' motion for an out-of-time appeal.

         ERRORS PATENT

         Mr. Lewis filed a pro se, handwritten, motion for new trial, upon which the trial court failed to rule before imposing his sentence. However, before the trial court sentenced Mr. Lewis, it inquired whether there existed "any other motions outstanding" and Mr. Lewis' counsel responded in the negative. Mr. Lewis then interrupted and verbally protested his innocence, while making no reference to the pending motion. Under these circumstances, the technical failure to comply with La. C.Cr.P. art. 853 does not warrant intervention.

         There are no other errors patent.

         VOIR DIRE

         Mr. Lewis maintains that the absence of a transcript of portions of the voir dire, which occurred off-the-record, including multiple rulings excusing jurors, denied him meaningful appellate review and requires that this ...


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