FROM THE THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
EVANGELINE, NO. 98015-FB HONORABLE CHUCK RANDALL WEST,
Brignac District Attorney Nicole F. Gil Assistant District
Attorney COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
E. Guilbeau Jason W. Robideaux COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Kenneth
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and
Phyllis M. Keaty, Judges.
R. COOKS JUDGE.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
October 19, 2013, Defendant, Kenneth Romero, while driving
his Dodge pick-up truck, struck the victim, Jonathon Ben. As
a result of the injuries suffered from the collision, Mr. Ben
died. Defendant did not stop and render any assistance to Mr.
Ben, nor did he call the police or any emergency assistance.
Instead he fled the scene.
February 5, 2014, Defendant was charged by bill of
information with one count of vehicular homicide, in
violation of La.R.S. 14:32.1, and one count of hit-and-run
driving resulting in death, in violation of La.R.S.
14:100(C)(2). In anticipation of a plea agreement on March 3,
2017, the State amended the first count of the bill to
negligent homicide, in violation of La.R.S. 14:32. At that
time, Defendant pled guilty to negligent homicide and entered
a plea in accordance with North Carolina v. Alford,
400 U.S. 25, 91 S.Ct. 160 (1970) on the hit-and-run driving
charge. Pursuant to Alford, trial counsel
acknowledged for the record that he believed there was
"sufficient and substantial evidence" of
Defendant's guilt with respect to the hit-and-run driving
charge without admitting guilt.
10, 2017, the trial court sentenced Defendant to serve three
and one-half years at hard labor and a twenty-five hundred
dollar fine for negligent homicide and eight years at hard
labor for the hit-and-run driving, with a twenty-five hundred
dollar fine and three years of his sentence suspended with
five years of supervised probation. The sentences were to run
now appeals, raising a single assignment of error, namely,
that the trial court erred in accepting Defendant's
Alford plea when Defendant denied knowing his
vehicle had struck the victim "without requiring the
State to establish a substantial basis of guilt in the
record." For the reasons discussed below, we find no
merit to Defendant's assignment of error and affirm his
convictions and sentences.
accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are
reviewed for errors patent on the face of the record. The
court minutes of sentencing require correction. For the
offense of negligent homicide, the sentencing minutes reflect
that the court imposed a sentence of three and one-half years
at hard labor and that upon release, Defendant is to be
placed on five years of supervised probation.
sentencing transcript indicates that on the negligent
homicide charge, a hard labor sentence of three and one-half
years was imposed with no portion of the sentence being
suspended and Defendant not being placed on probation.
"[W]hen the minutes and the transcript conflict, the
transcript prevails." State v. Wommack, 00-137,
p. 4 (La.App. 3 Cir. 6/7/00), 770 So.2d 365, 369, writ
denied, 00-2051 (La. 9/21/01), 797 So.2d 62.
the trial court is ordered to correct the sentencing minutes
to accurately reflect ...