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State v. Carter

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

April 11, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
ELDRICK DONTRAIL CARTER Appellant

          Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana Trial Court No. 13F1701 Honorable Larry Donell Jefferson, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Edward K. Bauman Counsel for Appellant

          ROBERT STEPHEN TEW District Attorney HOLLY A. CHAMBERS-JONES Assistant District Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          Before STONE, COX, and MCCALLUM, JJ.

          STONE, J.

         A jury found Eldrick Dontrail Carter guilty of the second degree murder of Willie James, the attempted second degree murder of Rodney Chaney, and the aggravated battery of Chiquita Williams. The trial court sentenced Carter to life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence, 20 years at hard labor with the first 10 years without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence, and five years at hard labor with the first year without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence, respectively. The sentences were imposed to run concurrently.

         Carter now appeals his convictions and sentences. Carter's appellate counsel has filed a motion to withdraw, together with a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967), alleging there are no nonfrivolous issues upon which to base an appeal. Carter filed a pro se brief alleging three assignments of error. For the following reasons, appellate counsel's motion to withdraw is granted, and Carter's convictions are affirmed. We amend Carter's sentences, and as amended, affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On June 16, 2013, Willie James ("James") hosted a Father's Day celebration at his home located at 3814 White Street, Monroe, Louisiana. One of the invited guests, Chiquita Williams ("Williams"), attended the party with her ex-boyfriend, Eldrick Dontrail Carter ("Carter"). At some point during the party, a disagreement ensued between Carter and another guest. After Carter failed to settle the disagreement amicably, James asked Williams to take Carter home, but Carter refused to leave. James also told Carter he needed to leave the party. Thereafter, Carter retrieved a gun from Williams' vehicle and began shooting into a crowd of people at the party. Rodney Chaney ("Chaney") and Williams suffered gunshot wounds and were rushed to the hospital. James suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. Several witnesses identified Carter as the shooter.

         On November 14, 2013, Carter was charged by bill of indictment with the second degree murder of James in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1, and the attempted second degree murder of both Chaney and Williams in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1 and La. R.S. 14:27. Carter's trial commenced on July 20, 2015. On July 24, 2015, a 12-person jury found Carter guilty of the second degree murder of James and the attempted second degree murder of Chaney. The jury found Carter guilty of the aggravated battery of Williams, which is a responsive verdict to attempted second degree murder.

         Trial counsel filed a motion for new trial alleging the police failed to disclose possible exculpatory evidence by not including in its pretrial report the names of all persons who were present during the shooting and interviewed by police. Carter filed a pro se motion for new trial raising numerous complaints about his trial counsel, the district attorney, and the state's witnesses. Following a contradictory hearing on September 14, 2016, the trial court denied both motions.

         On September 15, 2016, the trial court sentenced Carter to serve mandatory life imprisonment without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension for the second degree murder conviction. Carter was sentenced to 20 years at hard labor with the first 10 years without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence for the attempted second degree murder conviction, and five years at hard labor with the first year without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence for the aggravated battery conviction. The sentences were imposed to run concurrently. Carter filed a motion to reconsider sentence which was denied by the trial court.

         Carter's motions for appeal and designation of the record were granted on March 31, 2017. Despite trial counsel raising the exculpatory evidence issue again in the motion for appeal, the record lodged on appeal lacked the transcript of the September 14, 2016, contradictory hearing on Carter's counseled and pro se motions for new trial.

         The Louisiana Appellate Project was appointed to represent Carter on appeal. On August 14, 2017, upon lodging of the "incomplete" appellate record, Carter's appointed appellate counsel filed a motion to withdraw, together with an Anders brief, alleging he could find no nonfrivolous issues to raise on appeal. See, Anders, supra; State v. Jyles, 1996-2669 (La. 12/12/97), 704 So.2d 241; State v. Mouton, 1995-0981 (La. 04/28/95), 653 So.2d 1176; and State v. Benjamin, 573 So.2d 528 (La.App. 4 Cir. 1990). On August 24, 2017, the district court clerk supplemented the record on appeal with the transcript of the September 14, 2016, contradictory hearing on the counseled and pro se motions for new trial. On September 20, 2017, this court ordered Carter's appellate counsel to ...


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