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State v. Taylor

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

May 23, 2018



          LEON A. CANNIZZARO, JR. District Attorney Parish of Orleans KYLE DALY Assistant District Attorney Parish of Orleans ORLEANS PARISH DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE COUNSEL FOR RELATOR/ STATE OF LOUISIANA


          Court composed of Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Tiffany G. Chase, Judge Dale N. Atkins.

          CHASE, J., DISSENTS.


          Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge.

         Relator, State of Louisiana ("State"), seeks review of the district court's February 7, 2018 ruling, which found defendant, Troy Taylor ("Defendant"), was entitled to production of the full transcript of the grand jury proceedings that resulted in his superseding grand jury indictment. Upon review, we find that the district court erred in ordering the disclosure of the transcript. Therefore, the State's writ is granted, and the district court's ruling is reversed.

         On January 13, 2011, the State filed a bill of information charging Defendant with one count of forcible (second degree) rape, one count of second degree kidnapping, and one count of aggravated crime against nature. On August 22, 2011, the State dismissed the aggravated crime against nature charge. Defendant was tried before a jury on August 22-23, 2011. The State presented, inter alia, the testimony of the victim, S.B., who swore that on August 30, 1994, after she accepted a ride home from Defendant, he drove her to a secluded area, forced her to perform oral sex, and then vaginally raped her.[1] Defendant was found guilty as charged. On direct appeal, this Court vacated the kidnapping conviction as untimely instituted, but affirmed the rape conviction, finding that the issue as to whether the rape charge was timely instituted was not preserved for appeal because counsel did not file a motion to quash that charge. State v. Taylor, 12-0345 (La.App. 4 Cir. 6/26/13), 118 So.3d 65, 86, writ denied, 13-1830 (La. 2/28/14), 134 So.3d 1169.

         Recently, this Court reversed the district court's ruling denying Defendant's application for post-conviction relief and vacated the rape conviction as well, finding Defendant's counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance for neglecting to file a motion to quash. State v. Taylor, 16-1252 (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/6/17), writ denied, 17-0684 (La. 6/16/17), 221 So.3d 245, reconsideration not considered, 17-0684 (La. 7/27/17), 222 So.3d 720. After the Louisiana Supreme Court denied review, the State obtained a superseding grand jury indictment charging Defendant with aggravated (first degree) rape and aggravated kidnapping, charges which may be instituted at any time. See La. R.S. 14:42; La. R.S. 14:44; La. C.Cr.P. art. 571.

         On July 19, 2017, Defendant filed a motion to quash, arguing that the indictment was improperly allotted. This motion was denied, and this Court and the Louisiana Supreme Court denied Defendant's writ application. State v. Taylor, 17-640 (La.App. 4 Cir. 8/2/17); State v. Taylor, 17-1820 (La. 12/15/17), 231 So.3d 635. On September 20, 2017, Defendant filed numerous motions to quash on various grounds, [2] including a "Motion to Quash for Prosecutorial Misconduct, and Request for Evidentiary Hearing and/or Disclosure of Grand Jury Transcript, " and a "Motion to Quash Pursuant to Articles 485 and 532(5)." In the motion alleging prosecutorial misconduct, Defendant argues that the indictment should be quashed and/or the grand jury transcripts disclosed based upon the following accusations: (1) the State presented false testimony at trial from S.B. and E.C. regarding their prior convictions, where such testimony was presented to the grand jury; (2) S.B. told police in 1994 that she was vaginally raped in the front seat of vehicle but testified it occurred in the back seat; this information was not presented to the grand jury; (3) the grand jury was improperly instructed with the 2017 version of the aggravated (first degree) rape statute, La. R.S. 14:42, rather than the 1994 version in existence at the time of the offense; (4) the recent indictment initially listed Count 2 as "second degree kidnapping" rather than "aggravated kidnapping;" and (5) the evidence presented at trial and described in the discovery materials did not support the charges of aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping. In the motion pertaining to articles 485 and 532(5), Defendant reiterated some of the aforementioned arguments.

         On December 7, 2017, the district court ordered the State to provide it with a copy of the grand jury transcript for an in-camera review in order for it to fully consider the aforementioned motions to quash; the State complied. The district court also denied Defendant's Article 574 Motion to Quash, but deferred ruling on the additional motions until after the in-camera inspection.

         On February 7, 2018, after the review, the district court ordered the State to disclose the full grand jury transcript to Defendant. The district court ruled that Defendant's need for the transcripts outweighed the interest in grand jury secrecy stating:

This matter is before the Court on a ruling on a variety of defense motions seeking quashal of the indictment and other relief. Two of those motions, the Motion to Quash Pursuant to Articles 485 and 532(5) and the Motion to Quash for Prosecutorial Misconduct, deal with the propriety of the proceedings before the Grand Jury in the summer of 2017. So as to be able to fully consider these two motions and the arguments made therein, this Court ordered the State of Louisiana to provide transcripts of the Grand Jury proceedings which resulted in this indictment for an in camera inspection. Having received these transcripts on February 5, 2018 and reviewed the representations and testimony contained therein, this Court is of the ...

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