Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana Trial Court No. 16F1111;
16F2934 Honorable Clarence Wendell Manning, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT Douglas L. Harville Counsel for
STEPHEN TEW District Attorney HOLLY A. CHAMBERS-JONES
Assistant District Attorney Counsel for Appellee.
BROWN, PITMAN, and STONE, JJ.
Amethyst Baird Rathore, pled guilty to illegal possession of
stolen things, in violation of La. R.S. 14:69, and possession
of methamphetamines, in violation of La. R.S. 40:967, and she
was sentenced to ten years at hard labor as to each of the
two charges, which were ordered to run consecutively. She has
appealed from the trial court's sentencing enhancement
under La. R.S. 40:982 as violating her plea agreement or,
alternatively, as rendering her guilty plea involuntary.
Defendant also challenges as excessive her sentences for both
charges. Finding no error, we affirm.
April 28, 2016, law enforcement officers received a call
regarding a burglary at a rental house. While checking the
property, the owner encountered Defendant inside the house.
Defendant fled the scene, but was identified by a witness and
apprehended by officers at her residence. Officers obtained a
search warrant for Defendant's house and discovered
several items in Defendant's garage that had been stolen
from the rental house. On August 4, 2016, she was charged by
bill of information with illegal possession of stolen things,
with a value exceeding $1, 500, and criminal trespass in
Trial Court Docket No. 16-F1111. At arraignment, Defendant
pled not guilty and was later granted bail.
November 4, 2016, while out on bail, Defendant was involved
in a two-car collision on Louisville Avenue in Monroe,
Louisiana. Defendant rear-ended the other person's
vehicle and then fled the scene. According to Defendant, she
drove into the adjacent Burger King parking lot to "get
out of the road." Officers with the Monroe Police
Department approached her. They reported that Defendant left
her vehicle and approached another witness in the same
parking lot, demanding to know who hit her car. Officers also
reported that Defendant appeared disoriented, and her speech
was slurred. During the booking process, officers discovered
a white substance on a folded dollar bill found in
Defendant's pocket; this substance later tested positive
for methamphetamine. On December 2, 2016, Defendant was
charged by bill of information with possession of
methamphetamines, hit-and-run, and having no driver's
license in her possession, in Trial Court Docket No.
16-F2934. Defendant also pled not guilty to these charges.
Defendant was released on bond.
January 7, 2017, Defendant was arrested in Morehouse Parish
for attempted first degree murder of a Louisiana Department
of Wildlife and Fisheries agent.
March 2, 2017, the State amended the bill of information in
both docket numbers in Ouachita. Defendant withdrew her
previous pleas of not guilty under both docket numbers and
pled guilty as charged to illegal possession of stolen things
and possession of methamphetamines. In exchange, the State
agreed to dismiss the remaining charges of criminal trespass,
hit-and-run, and driving without a license. The State further
noted that that a presentence investigation (PSI) would be
ordered in both cases prior to Defendant's sentencing.
During her guilty plea colloquy, the trial court informed
Defendant of her Boykin rights as well as the
possibility of being charged as a habitual offender in the
future. Lastly, the trial court advised Defendant of the
penalties for the crimes to which she was pleading guilty,
noting that the trial court had the right to sentence
Defendant to the maximum sentence the law would allow.
August 23, 2017, the State filed a motion to invoke
sentencing guidelines pursuant to La. R.S. 40:982(A), seeking
to sentence Defendant for possession of methamphetamines,
second offense. In its motion, the State argued that
enhancement of Defendant's sentence was appropriate as
she had previously been convicted of the same offense on
December 3, 2007. A hearing on the motion was held on the
same day. Defense counsel did not oppose this motion orally
or in writing.
trial court granted the motion in a written ruling at the
sentencing hearing on September 6, 2017. The State then
recommended that Defendant be sentenced to the maximum
sentences permissible under the law and that the sentences
run consecutively. After reviewing the PSI, the trial court
sentenced Defendant to serve ten years at hard labor for
possession of methamphetamines and ten years at hard labor
for illegal possession of stolen things; the sentences were
ordered to run consecutively, with credit for time served.
The trial court also ordered Defendant to pay restitution in
the amount of $2, 500 to the victim of the burglary. No
restitution was awarded to the victim that Defendant hit with
her vehicle because this victim has since filed a tort claim.
Defendant filed a motion to reconsider sentence on October 2,
2017, which was denied.
instant appeal followed. This Court consolidated both matters
on its own motion because they share the same guilty plea and