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State v. Scheanette

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

February 28, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
TIMOTHY DELEE SCHEANETTE Appellant

         Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana Trial Court No. 15F2155 Honorable Daniel J. Ellender, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Counsel for Appellant By: Douglas L. Harville

          TIMOTHY DELEE SCHEANETTE Pro Se

          ROBERT S. TEW Counsel for Appellee District Attorney

          GEARY S. AYCOCK Assistant District Attorney

          Before BROWN, PITMAN, and STEPHENS, JJ.

          BROWN, C. JUDGE.

         Defendant, Timothy Delee Scheanette, was convicted of second degree battery and second degree kidnapping. For the battery, defendant was sentenced to four and one-half years at hard labor and ordered to pay a fine of $2, 000 plus court costs, or serve 180 days in default thereof. For the kidnapping, defendant was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor, with all but four and one-half years suspended. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently. Defendant has appealed. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's convictions and sentences are affirmed.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Defendant was charged by bill of information with second degree battery and second degree kidnapping that occurred on August 29, 2015, in Monroe, Louisiana. After an extensive on-record discussion, the trial court granted defendant's motion to represent himself. Defendant waived his right to a jury trial and filed notice of his intent to present an intoxication defense. Following a bench trial, on January 23, 2017, the trial judge found defendant guilty as charged on both counts.

         Defendant filed numerous post-trial motions, which were either withdrawn or denied at a hearing on April 13, 2017. Thereafter, the trial judge reviewed the pre-sentence investigation report, and sentenced defendant to four and one-half years at hard labor for second degree battery. For second degree kidnapping, defendant was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor, with all but four and one-half years suspended, with the four and one-half years to be served without the benefit of parole. Defendant was thereafter to be placed on supervised probation for five years. The trial judge ordered the sentences to be served concurrently. Further, for second degree battery, the trial judge ordered Scheanette to pay a fine of $2, 000 plus court costs, in default of which he was to serve 180 days in jail, with the fine and costs to be paid within two years once he is on probation. The trial court denied defendant's motion to reconsider sentence. This appeal followed, and appellate counsel was appointed.

         DISCUSSION

         Sufficiency of the Evidence

         Defense counsel contends that the evidence was insufficient to prove that defendant was guilty of either second degree battery or second degree kidnapping. As to the battery, defense counsel argues that there was no evidence that defendant intentionally inflicted serious bodily injury on the victim. Noting that defendant struck the victim only once, not repeatedly, defense counsel asserts that there was only evidence of an alleged intent to commit a simple battery. As to the kidnapping, defense counsel claims that there was no evidence that defendant caused physical injury to the victim while he was allegedly kidnapping her. Rather, defense counsel argues that at best, the evidence established that defendant battered the victim, and then kidnapped her after the battery was completed.

         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, 01-1658 (La. 05/20/03), 851 So.2d 921, cert. denied, 541 U.S. 905, 124 S.Ct. 1604, 158 L.Ed.2d 248 (2004). 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 that of the fact finder. State v. Pigford, 05-0477 (La. 02/22/06), 922 So.2d 517.

         A reviewing court accords great deference to the jury's decision to accept or reject the testimony of a witness in whole or in part. State v. Casaday, 49, 679 (La.App. 2 Cir. 02/27/15), 162 So.3d 578, writ denied, 15-0607 (La. 02/05/16), 186 So.3d 1162. The testimony of a victim alone is sufficient to convict a defendant. Such testimony alone is sufficient even where the state does not introduce medical, scientific, or physical evidence to prove the commission of the offense by the defendant. State v. McGill, 50, 994 (La.App. 2 Cir. 01/11/17), 213 So.3d 1181.

         At trial, the court was presented with the following testimony and evidence. The victim, Courtni McDonald, testified that on August 29, 2015, she was living with defendant at her house, along with their eight-month-old daughter. On that date, there were some men doing work on their house. Ms. McDonald, defendant, and their daughter left the house and went to Fred's Pharmacy Store. When they left the store, defendant was driving and Ms. McDonald and the baby were in the backseat. Defendant had been drinking that day. He had the music on loud, and Ms. McDonald asked him to turn it down. She eventually reached up and turned it off. Ms. McDonald testified that defendant then said that another guy had been flirting with her and "whispering in her ear." Defendant got angry and began driving recklessly. On their way home, defendant stopped at a gas station to buy beer. Ms. McDonald got out of the car with the baby, and asked the store clerk to call the police because defendant was driving ...


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