APPLICATION FOR WRITS DIRECTED TO CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT
ORLEANS PARISH NO. 529147; 530790, SECTION "D"
Honorable Paul A Bonin, Judge
A. Cannizzaro, Jr. District Attorney Scott G. Vincent
Assistant District Attorney Parish of Orleans COUNSEL FOR
RESPONDENT-STATE OF LOUISIANA
Walker Rick Orleans Public Defenders COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods, Judge Tiffany G.
Chase, Judge Dennis R. Bagneris, Pro Tempore
Jamie Lyons, seeks review of the district court's March
9, 2018 judgment granting the State permission to introduce
evidence of Relator's other crimes, wrongs, or acts
pursuant to La.C.E. art. 404(B) and State v. Prieur,
277 So.2d 126 (La. 1973), abrogated by State v.
Taylor, 2016-1124 (La. 12/1/16), 217 So.3d
For the reasons that follow, we grant Relator's writ, but
16, 2016, the State charged Relator with two counts of
aggravated assault with a firearm, in violation of La.R.S.
37.4, and felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of
La.R.S. 95.1, for conduct occurring on March 29, 2016. On
September 29, 2016, the State charged Relator with felon in
possession of a firearm, in violation of La.R.S. 95.1, and
illegal discharge of a firearm, in violation of La.R.S.
14:94, for conduct occurring on August 10, 2016. The charges
are to be tried separately.
to the State, on March 29, 2016, two females, T.D. and N.M.,
were engaged in a verbal altercation with the mother of
Relator's children, N.J. Relator arrived at the scene and
fired two shots at T.D. and N.M. N.M. stated that she and
Relator had previously been in a relationship. A gunshot
residue ("GSR") test on Relator returned
presumptively positive, and nearby residents confirmed
hearing gunshots around the time of the incident. On August
10, 2016, relator fired multiple shots at the mother of his
child, R.F., as she drove away from him with the child and
another minor. Both minors confirmed the incident, and
another GSR test on Relator came back presumptively positive.
State subsequently filed notices pursuant to La.C.E. 404(B)
regarding evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts
("404(B) evidence") it intended to introduce at
Relator's trials on the charged offenses occurring on the
dates above. While 404(B) evidence is generally inadmissible,
exceptions do exist when the evidence is relevant to other,
admissible purposes, "such as proof of motive,
opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity,
absence of mistake or accident[.]" La.CE. art.
the State sought to introduce evidence of allegations from
three prior instances. The first was a September 3, 2000
incident involving Relator's "known" but
unidentified ex-girlfriend. The facts alleged that Relator
grabbed her by the neck, forced her into a vehicle, and
demanded she provide her current boyfriend's address.
Upon locating the boyfriend, Relator allegedly shot at him
three times with a shotgun. The second allegation concerned
an October 15, 2009 incident in which Relator appeared at the
home of his ex-girlfriend, N.J., who refused to answer her
front door. Believing Relator to have left, she opened her
door and was allegedly punched by Relator with a closed fist
in the side of her head. The third incident concerned a May
22, 2013 incident in which the mother of Relator's
children, R.F., alleged he grabbed her by the hair and
punched her in the face. The two struggled over a screwdriver
in Relator's hand, and Relator bit R.F. Additionally, the
State sought to introduce evidence of the charged offenses
occurring on March 29, 2016, at the trial on the offenses
occurring on August 10, 2016, and vice versa.
hearing was held on March 9, 2018, with the State submitting
its argument on the papers filed. Therein, the State argued
the evidence would be relevant to "motive, intent, and
absence of mistake or accident." The State suggested
"all [the acts] show a pattern of domestic arguments
that regularly culminate with [Relator] firing shots
indiscriminately on the streets of New Orleans that has
continued for almost twenty years. This demonstrates the
Defendant's intent and absence of mistake or accident in
other incidents." Though the State did not expand on its
argument as it relates to Relator's motive, it did
reference the common thread that all of the prior and charged
acts involved women with whom Relator had an intimate
relationship. Before the district court and this Court,
Relator claimed his intent to defend himself against the
charged offenses by arguing that the incidents did not occur,
such that the intent exception would not apply. Relator
further noted that none of the alleged prior bad acts
resulted in a conviction, a point which the State did not
dispute, though we note that "admissible evidence is not
limited to only those instances where a conviction has
resulted." State v. Williams, 2011-0414, p. 25
(La.App. 4 Cir. 2/29/12), 85 So.3d 759, 774.
district court ultimately granted the State permission to
introduce all of the proffered 404(B) evidence at each trial.
The court found the allegations relevant to the issues of
motive and absence of mistake or accident, relying upon the
Louisiana Supreme Court's ruling in State v.
Rose, 2006-0402 (La. 2/22/07), 949 So.2d 1236, and the
Second Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling in State v.
Howard, 47, 495 (La.App. 2 Cir. 11/14/12), 106 So.3d
review the district court's ruling for abuse of
discretion. See State v.Garcia, 2009-1578,
p. 55 (La. 11/16/12), 108 So.3d 1, 39. As noted, the district
court relied upon Rose, ...