Appealed from the Third Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Lincoln, Louisiana Trial Court No. 67192 Honorable
Thomas W. Rogers, Judge
J. SULLIVAN Counsel for Appellant.
F.K. BELTON District Attorney LEWIS ALLEN JONES TRACY W.
HOUCK Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee.
MOORE, GARRETT, and STONE, JJ.
defendant, Reginald Anthony Saulsberry, agreed to plead
guilty to a charge of simple burglary and as a second felony
offender in exchange for a 13-year sentence with credit for
time served. Saulsberry also reserved his right to appeal the
trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss his counsel
and motion for a continuance in order to obtain new counsel.
This appeal arises from these rulings. After review, we find
no error in the trial court's rulings, and, therefore, we
affirm Saulsberry's conviction and sentence.
was charged by bill of information with the simple burglary
of Fuqua Paper Supply Company ("Fuqua") in Ruston,
Louisiana. Fuqua is a distributor of paper, plastics and food
service disposables as well as janitorial supplies and
cleaning equipment. Saulsberry was a former warehouse
employee of Fuqua discharged several weeks prior to the
burglary. Police found his fingerprints on a box that had
been removed from a pallet of 10 vacuum cleaners and then
left on the floor by the burglar; at least three vacuum
cleaners in boxes were missing from the pallet. Since the
vacuum cleaners were received at the warehouse after
Saulsberry was fired, his fingerprints should not have been
on the box. This evidence led to Saulsberry's arrest for
29, 2015, Saulsberry was charged by bill of information, and
attorney James Wilkerson from the Indigent Defender Board was
appointed to represent him.
Monday, September 28, 2016, the morning that trial was to
begin, Saulsberry made a request or motion to the trial judge
to remove and replace his court-appointed counsel. When the
court asked the defendant why he did not bring the matter up
the previous Friday when he was present in the courtroom,
Saulsberry said that Wilkerson stopped him short of the
podium and told him that "I was third for trial, I
wouldn't go to trial until next year." However, a
few minutes later, a bailiff informed him that he needed to
"dress out for Monday." Saulsberry told the court
that "all they been doing is lying to me ever since I
trial court swore in the attorney, Wilkerson, for
questioning. Wilkerson testified that, during his
representation in this matter, he had met with Saulsberry
between 10 and 20 times; however, those visits were mostly
unproductive because Saulsberry usually became angry and left
the meetings. He further said that Saulsberry accused him of
being dishonest and "in with John Belton [the district
attorney] and Lewis Jones [the ADA prosecuting his case] to
drive up their conviction rates." Wilkerson could not
recall the details or specifics of Saulsberry's several
accusations of wrongdoing. He said that Saulsberry did file a
complaint with disciplinary counsel of the bar association.
That complaint, he said, was dismissed.
Wilkerson told the court that Saulsberry had previously
complained to the court regarding his refusal to adopt two
pro se motions - motion to suppress and motion for a bill of
particulars. The trial judge did not recall any specific
complaints by Saulsberry, but he remembered that he dismissed
the motions. Wilkerson also said that Saulsberry was
concerned that he (Wilkerson) did not directly ask the
victim, Fuqua, for some paperwork; instead, he made this
request to the ADA, Lewis Jones. He said he told Saulsberry
that it was better that way, explaining to him that if the
state withheld exculpatory evidence it would result in the
case having to be retried. He said that the defendant then
"blew up" over the matter.
Wilkerson recounted an incident to the court that occurred on
the day before trial regarding whether he would obtain a
subpoena for a witness named Channing Rushing. According to
Wilkerson, Rushing had evaded being located and had avoided
talking to him ever since the burglary occurred. However, he
was finally able to speak with Rushing by telephone the day
before trial. After a lengthy telephone conversation with
Rushing, he concluded that Rushing's testimony would not
benefit the defendant. He discussed the matter with
Saulsberry, and it was his understanding that Saulsberry
agreed it would not help to subpoena Rushing, which account
Saulsberry now denied. Wilkerson said that Saulsberry may
have said that there was no point in his obtaining a subpoena
because he (Wilkerson) would not be representing him.
court questioned Saulsberry, who said that Wilkerson met with
him "ten times maybe." He characterized the
meetings as "unproductive" because Wilkerson
"was constantly lying to me." When asked for
specifics, Saulsberry noted the incident on the previous
Friday when Wilkerson told him that his trial was third on
the court's docket. The court confirmed that the case was
third on the docket, but ...