APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 15-1144, DIVISION
"M" HONORABLE HENRY G. SULLIVAN, JR., JUDGE
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Thomas J. Butler
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, WILLIE THORNTON Christopher
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA, ATTORNEY
GENERAL'S OFFICE Jeffrey M. Landry Brooke A. Harris Colin
composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Marc E. Johnson, and
Marion F. Edwards, Judge Pro Tempore
M. CHEHARDY CHIEF JUDGE.
appeal, Willie Thornton, defendant herein, challenges his
parole ineligibility under La. R.S. 40:969. For the following
reasons, we affirm defendant's underlying convictions and
sentences, as well as defendant's multiple offender
adjudication and enhanced sentence, and remand for correction
of the commitments.
and Procedural History
defendant pled guilty, the facts were not fully developed at
a trial. However, during the guilty plea colloquy, the State
provided the following factual basis for the guilty pleas:
Willie Thornton engaged in conduct to further the aims of an
Enterprise by engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity
and conspiring with members of the Enterprise to distribute
controlled dangerous substances, including cocaine, heroin,
and marijuana. This conduct, which occurred between 2006 and
2015, included participating in the operation of a narcotics
distribution network on the Westbank of Jefferson Parish
wherein a violent street gang, named by its members the
"Harvey Hustlers, " obtained controlled dangerous
substances from associates and Enterprise members who
transported the drugs into the metropolitan New Orleans area.
The ranking members of the Harvey Hustlers then directed the
conversion of these drugs into a saleable form, such as
converting powder cocaine to crack cocaine, and provided the
drugs to rank and file Harvey Hustlers who sold the drug
product on the street for the profit of Enterprise members.
Members of the Enterprise who engaged in this activity on a
daily basis included all of those folks - all those
individuals who are named in the Bill of Indictment.
Members of the Harvey Hustlers frequently identified
themselves openly through items of jewelry and clothing
containing a[n] "HH" logo, tattoos containing
phrases identified with the gang, social media posts, and
The Enterprise members and their associates engaged in acts
of violence to protect the perceived interests of the
Enterprise's members, exact revenge upon enemies of
Enterprise members, punish Enterprise members whose conduct
displeased Enterprise leaders and to develop a reputation of
the Harvey Hustlers as a group to be feared by members of the
Mr. Thornton, among other acts, on December 12th,
2011, distributed cocaine to a confidential informant working
with the FBI. Mr. Thornton also on November 18th,
2013, along with Robert Williams, Alcus Smith, and Brandon
Motton possessed cocaine having intent to distribute that
February 26, 2015, the Jefferson Parish grand jury indicted
defendant and twenty other co-defendants on thirty criminal
counts for various acts of racketeering committed in
furtherance of a narcotics distribution network in Jefferson
Parish operated by a street gang known as the "Harvey
Hustlers." Specifically, defendant was charged with five
counts: racketeering, in violation of La. R.S. 15:1352;
conspiracy to distribute cocaine, in violation of La. R.S.
40:979 and La. R.S. 40:967(A); conspiracy to distribute
heroin and marijuana, in violation of La. R.S. 40:979 and La.
R.S. 40:966(A); distribution of cocaine, in violation of La.
R.S. 40:967(A); and ...