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State v. Liker

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

June 27, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
KEVIN LACEY LIKER Appellant

          Appealed from the Twenty-Sixth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Webster, Louisiana Trial Court No. 091986, Honorable Michael Nerren, Judge.

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Peggy J. Sullivan Counsel for Appellant.

          J. SCHUYLER MARVIN District Attorney, JOHN MICHAEL LAWRENCE HUGO A. HOLLAND, JR. Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee.

          Before MOORE, STONE, and STEPHENS, JJ.

          STONE, J.

         The defendant, Kevin Lacey Liker, pled guilty to negligent homicide in violation of La. R.S. 14:32(A)(1). The trial court imposed the maximum sentence allowed by law - five years at hard labor. On appeal, Liker argues his sentence is excessive. For the following reasons, we affirm his conviction and sentence.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On June 21, 2016, Kevin Lacey Liker ("Liker") was erratically driving his vehicle in Webster Parish at a high rate of speed while under the influence of alcohol. In an attempt to pass two vehicles in a no-passing zone, Liker collided with an oncoming vehicle. The passenger in that oncoming vehicle, Linda McCoy ("McCoy"), died as a result of the collision. A chemical test revealed Liker's blood alcohol content at the time of the accident was 0.32%.

         On October 20, 2016, Liker was charged by bill of information with vehicular homicide in violation of La. R.S. 14:32.1. The bill of information provided that Liker killed McCoy by operating his vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages and having a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08%. Liker subsequently filed a motion to suppress the chemical test results arguing the blood sample used to conduct the test was obtained without a search warrant in violation of his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. See Birchfield v. North Dakota, __U.S.__, 136 S.Ct. 2160, 195 L.Ed.2d 560 (2016). The trial court granted Liker's motion and suppressed the results of the chemical test.

         On March 24, 2017, the state charged Liker by amended bill of information with negligent homicide in violation of La. R.S. 14:32(A)(1). The amended bill of information stated Liker negligently killed McCoy by: 1)driving a motor vehicle under the influence of an intoxicating beverage; 2)exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 11 but less than 15 miles per hour; and 3) passing in a no-passing zone.

         On April 3, 2017, after being informed of his rights pursuant to Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 89 S.Ct. 1709, 23 L.Ed.2d 274 (1969), Liker pled guilty to negligent homicide. The state agreed not to file a multiple offender bill and that the trial court would determine to Liker's sentence after a presentence investigation ("PSI"). On July 3, 2017, the trial court sentenced Liker to the maximum sentence allowed by law - five years at hard labor. Thereafter, Liker filed a motion to reconsider sentence arguing the trial court's consideration of his intoxication was erroneous and that the imposed sentence was excessive. The trial court denied the motion. Liker now appeals.

         DISCUSSION

         On appeal, Liker challenges the constitutionality of the imposed maximum sentence. He contends he is not the most blameworthy or egregious offender and that the imposed sentence does not further the ends of justice. Liker insists his expressions of remorse and need for treatment, rather than incarceration, justify a lesser sentence.

         An appellate court utilizes a two-pronged test in reviewing a sentence for excessiveness. First, the record must show that the trial court took cognizance of the criteria set forth in La.C.Cr.P. art. 894.1. The trial court is not required to list every aggravating or mitigating circumstance, so long as the record reflects that it adequately considered the guidelines of the article. State v. Smith, 433 So.2d 688 (La. 1983); S ...


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