FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 11144-16 HONORABLE CLAYTON DAVIS, DISTRICT
Foster DeRosier District Attorney, Fourteenth Judicial
District Court Cynthia Killingsworth Elizabeth Brooks Hollins
Assistant District Attorneys COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of
Annette Fuller Roach Louisiana Appellate Project COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Michael Adam Domingue.
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Billy H. Ezell, and D. Kent
KENT SAVOIE JUDGE.
19, 2016, a Calcasieu Parish grand jury indicted Defendant
Michael Adam Domingue for manslaughter, a violation of
La.R.S. 14:31. The parties selected a jury on November 14,
2016; said jury began hearing evidence on November 15. On
November 16, the jury returned a responsive verdict of
February 15, the district court sentenced Defendant to five
years, however, the transcript fails to show whether this
time is to be served at hard labor.
appeals, assigning four errors. For the following reasons, we
affirm Defendant's conviction, vacate Defendant's
sentence, and remand to the district court for imposition of
a determinate sentence.
victim Donald Dean Trahan, Jr., aka "T-Don, " and
his girlfriend Jennifer Carlile lived in a trailer owned by
Defendant. On March 22, 2016, Carlile went to a hospital with
a broken nose and eye sockets, apparently the result of a
beating from the victim. At about the same time that day, the
victim was out fishing. Carlile returned to the trailer after
her hospital visit; later Trahan arrived at the trailer and
an argument ensued. Defendant came out of his room wearing a
holstered handgun and ordered the victim to leave. The victim
refused, and the argument escalated between the two men. At
some point, the victim pulled off his hoodie; several
witnesses interpreted this gesture as the beginning of a
fight. Some witnesses said the victim advanced toward
Defendant; there is no dispute the latter fired a lethal
accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are
reviewed for errors patent on the face of the record. After
reviewing the record, we find there is an error patent
raised, which we address in Assignment of Error Number Three.
OF ERROR NUMBER ONE
first assignment of error, Defendant argues the evidence
adduced by the State at trial was insufficient to support his
conviction for negligent homicide. More specifically, he
contends the State failed to prove he did not shoot the
victim in self-defense. There is no dispute regarding whether
Defendant shot the victim; the issue is simply whether the
shooting was justified.
"In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support
a conviction, an appellate court in Louisiana is controlled
by the standard enunciated by the United States Supreme Court
in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781,
61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). . . . [T]he appellate court must
determine that the evidence, viewed in the light most
favorable to the prosecution, was sufficient to convince a
rational trier of fact that all of the elements of the crime
had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt." State v.
Captville, 448 So.2d 676, 678 (La.1984) . . . .
Furthermore, in a case in which defendant asserts that he
acted in self-defense, the state has the burden of
establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in
self-defense. State v. Brown, 414 So.2d 726, 728
(La.1982). When defendant challenges the sufficiency of the
evidence in such a case, the question becomes whether,
viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found
beyond a reasonable doubt that the homicide was not committed
in self-defense. State v. Matthews, 464 So.2d 298
State ex rel. D.P.B., 02-1742, pp. 4-6 (La.
5/20/03), 846 So.2d 753, 756-57 (footnote omitted).
The applicable statute, La.R.S. 14:20, states, in part:
A. A homicide is justifiable:
(1) When committed in self-defense by one who reasonably
believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or
receiving great bodily harm and that the killing is necessary
to save himself from that danger.
(2) When committed for the purpose of preventing a violent or
forcible felony involving danger to life or of great bodily
harm by one who reasonably believes that such an offense is
about to be committed and that such action is necessary for
its prevention. The circumstances must be sufficient to
excite the fear of a reasonable person that there would be
serious danger to his own life or person if he attempted to
prevent the felony without the killing.
. . . .
C. A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who
is in a place where he or she has a right to be shall have no
duty to retreat before using deadly force as provided for in
this Section, and may ...