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State ex rel. R.W.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

May 23, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF R.W.

          APPEAL FROM JUVENILE COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2017-214-04-DQ-C, SECTION "C" Honorable Candice Bates Anderson, Judge

          Leon Cannizzaro DISTRICT ATTORNEY Donna Andrieu, Chief of Appeals ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY Ralph Brandt ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY William Dieters ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY PARISH OF ORLEANS COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE/STATE OF LOUISIANA.

          Katherine M. Franks LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE.

          (Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Dale N. Atkins).

          Daniel L. Dysart Judge.

         On November 28, 2017, R.W. appeared with counsel for an adjudication hearing. He was adjudicated delinquent as a result of having committed a violation of La. R.S. 40:966E(1), possession of marijuana, and a violation of La. R.S. 14:69B(1), illegal possession of stolen things, to-wit: a vehicle valued at $30, 000 which was the subject of a robbery or theft. R.W. appeals, arguing that the time limits to adjudicate this matter were expired. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the ruling of the trial court.

         BACKGROUND:

         The State filed a petition charging R.W. with the above offenses on August 28, 2017. He appeared with counsel on September 12, 2017, and pled not guilty. The trial court ordered, among other things, that R.W. enroll in the M.E.L.O.W. program (Men Engaging in Leadership Opportunities Works"), that he participate in a drug testing program, attend school, and abide by the curfew laws. As R.W. was not retained in custody, the trial court set the case for a M.E.L.O.W. review on October 17, 2017, and an adjudication hearing date of November 28, 2017.

         The record indicates that R.W. did not enroll in the M.E.L.O.W. program as ordered, and that the trial court instructed the coordinator of the program to continue the attempts to contact R.W.'s mother. On October 17, 2017, the trial court issued a warrant for R.W.'s arrest for failure to participate in the program, and for failing to submit to a drug screen. The judgment also notes that R.W. was arrested on October 16, 2017, on new charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and possession of stolen property, and that he had been placed back on electronic monitoring. When he was arrested on the warrant in this case on October 24, 2017, he was held in custody.

         R.W.'s initial attorney withdrew from representation due to a conflict, and new counsel filed a Motion for Release on November 13, 2017. The motion was set for hearing on November 28, 2017, the original adjudication hearing date in this matter. On November 14, 2017, counsel filed a Plan for Release that was also set for hearing on November 28, 2017.

         On the morning of November 28, counsel for R.W. filed a Motion for Release and Dismissal of Petition. At the adjudication hearing that same afternoon, R.W., through counsel, withdrew his previously entered plea of not guilty, and entered a plea of admission to the charges. A lengthy colloquy ensued between the court and defense counsel regarding the proposed sentence, and whether the court should order a pre-disposition investigation. R.W. addressed the court directly stating that, "I'm going to take the six months and get it over with."

         At this point in the hearing, counsel for R.W. requested the court to consider the Motion for Release. Initially, the trial court indicated it would deny the motion, but then stated it would not hear the motion as a conformed copy had not been provided to the court. Counsel then requested that the plea be accepted pursuant to State v. Crosby, [1] reserving review of R.W.'s Motion for Release. The trial court reiterated that it was not ruling on the motion at that time. Counsel then stated that R.W. wished to accept a six-month secure sentence. R.W. addressed the court personally, waived his rights verbally and initialed the Waiver of Constitutional Rights and Admission to Petition, which included the right to appeal.

         Despite the waiver of the right to appeal, on December 6, the trial court denied the Motion for Release, and on December 20, 2017, signed an order granting R.W.'s Motion and Notice of Appeal.

         D ...


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