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State v. Roe

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

March 14, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
JASON M ROE, JOSHUA A. WATSON

         APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 507-511, SECTION "L" Honorable Franz Zibilich, Judge

          Leon Cannizzaro District Attorney Donna Andrieu Assistant District Attorney, Chief of Appeals Christopher J. Ponoroff Assistant District Attorney ORLEANS PARISH COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE.

          Katherine M. Franks LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT JASON M ROE.

          Mary Constance Hanes LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT JOSHUA A. WATSON.

          Joshua Watson Main/Prison Walnut Louisiana State Penitentiary Jason Roe General Delivery Louisiana State Penitentiary.

          (Court composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge Tiffany G. Chase).

          Tiffany G. Chase Judge.

         Defendants, Jason Roe (hereinafter "Roe") and Joshua Watson (hereinafter "Watson"), appeal the resentencing of their convictions. Anders briefs were filed by defendants' appellate counsels pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967) and State v. Jyles, 96-2669, (La. 12/12/97), 704 So.2d 241, 242. Appellate counsels assert that they have conducted a thorough review of the record and cannot find any non-frivolous issues to raise on appeal and as such, seeks to withdraw as counsel of record. The State filed a response arguing that no assignments of error were briefed and thus are waived on appeal. After consideration of the record before this Court and the applicable law, we affirm Roe and Watson's resentencing and grant appellate counsels' motions to withdraw.

         Statement of the Case

         The facts of this case have previously been set out in considerable detail by this Court.[1] On July 18, 2011, the State charged defendants Roe and Watson jointly with committing armed robbery (count one) and charged Roe individually with committing a second armed robbery (count two), possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (count three) and possession of a stolen firearm (count four). A jury subsequently returned a verdict finding the defendants guilty as charged. On May 14, 2013, the trial court sentenced Watson to fifty years imprisonment at hard labor and sentenced Roe to seventy years imprisonment at hard labor on each armed robbery count and to fifteen years on the felon in possession of a firearm count and four years on the stolen firearm count.

         On November 20, 2013, defendants' appeal was lodged in this Court. While their appeal remained pending, defendants both admitted to their status as recidivists; Watson as a second felony offender and Roe as a third felony offender. On December 2, 2013, the trial court resentenced Watson to sixty years imprisonment and on January 6, 2014, it resentenced Roe to seventy years imprisonment at hard labor.

         On October 8, 2014, this Court reversed the conviction on count two and affirmed the remaining convictions. This Court also vacated the (unenhanced) sentences on count one because they did not reflect that the trial court had imposed the firearm enhancement. This Court also ordered that the trial court impose the mandatory fine required by R.S. 14:95.1 as to defendant Roe.[2] Defendants sought review in the Louisiana Supreme Court, which denied writs to Watson but granted limited relief to Roe, finding that his convictions for possession of a stolen firearm and armed robbery violated double jeopardy principles and vacating the less serious offense.[3]

         Pursuant to this Court's order following defendants' appeal, on November 9, 2015, the trial court vacated the originally imposed sentences and resentenced Watson to forty-five years imprisonment at hard labor and added a consecutive five-year enhancement for the use of a firearm and resentenced Roe to sixty-five years imprisonment and added a consecutive five-year enhancement for the use of a firearm. Both defendants filed motions to reconsider their sentence and the trial court conducted a hearing on June 10, 2016.

         At that hearing, the trial court acknowledged that when it resentenced the defendants in compliance with this Court's opinion on appeal, it imposed sentences below the mandatory minimums required by law based on defendants' recidivist statuses. Moreover, the trial court was clearly not convinced ...


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