Appeal from the Twenty-Second Judicial District Court In and
for the Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana Docket No.
521289 Honorable August J. Hand, Judge Presiding
Montgomery District Attorney Matthew Caplan Mary Watson Smith
Assistant District Attorneys Covington, Louisiana Counsel for
Appellee State of Louisiana.
Bertha Hillman Louisiana Appellate Project Covington,
Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/Appellant Calvin Bernard
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON, AND HIGGINBOTHAM, JJ.
defendant, Calvin Bernard Jefferson, was charged by grand
jury indictment with second degree murder, a violation of
LSA-R.S. 14:30.1. The defendant pled not guilty. He filed a
motion to suppress his statement. A hearing was held on the
matter, and the motion was denied. Two days into trial, the
defendant withdrew his not guilty plea, and at a Boykin
hearing, pled guilty pursuant to North Carolina v.
Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 91 S.Ct. 160, 27 L.Ed.2d 162
(1970), and State v. Crosby, 338 So.2d 584 (La.
1976). See Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 89 S.Ct.
1709, 23 L.Ed.2d 274 (1969). (R. pp. 88-89, 1246-60). He was
sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit
of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. The
defendant now appeals, designating one assignment of error.
For the following reasons, we affirm the conviction and
Boykin hearing, for the factual basis for the Alford plea,
the prosecutor stated that if the trial were continued to
verdict, "the State would present all evidence that was
told to the jury in opening statement from all witnesses
going forward and would present everything that I said in
opening statement." The trial court added that "the
Court can certainly take judicial notice of the testimony and
evidence solicited thus far." The pertinent parts of the
State's opening statement were as follows: Nicole
Jefferson lived in Green Leaves Subdivision in Mandeville
with her four children and the defendant, her ex-husband.
Nicole worked and needed the defendant's help with the
children. Their twelve-year relationship was marred with the
defendant perpetrating acts of domestic violence on Nicole.
On the night of April 29, 2012, Nicole went missing. A week
later, on May 6, her partially decomposed body was found in a
wooded area off of 1-12 (near La. Hwy 21). Her head had been
severed. The defendant killed Nicole on April 29, 2012, then
later that night drove to Wal-Mart and bought ammonia. He put
her body in Nicole's van and dumped her in the woods. He
then drove to a carwash and cleaned the van.
sole assignment of error, the defendant argues that the trial
court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statement.
Specifically, the defendant contends he made a statement
after invoking his right to counsel.
defendant argues in brief that on two occasions, his right to
counsel was violated. The defendant avers that after he told
Sergeant Alvin Hotard, with the St. Tammany Parish
Sheriff's Office, that he had an attorney, Detective
Jerry McDowell with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's
Office had a discussion with him thereby violating his right
to counsel. Then, according to the defendant, after the
booking process at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office,
he stated he had a lawyer, "thereby [in]voking his right
to counsel again." The defendant claims the detectives
from St. Tammany were in the room and should have heard this
request, but they interviewed him, anyway. As such, according
to the defendant, Sergeant Hotard and Detective McDowell
again violated his right to counsel.
the events that transpired at the Calcasieu Parish
Sheriff's Office, the defendant suggests in brief that
Detective McDowell did not know the defendant had asked for
an attorney when the detective entered the warrants office
where the defendant was being booked because it "was an
opportunity for him to talk to me." This, according to
the defendant in brief, was the first violation of his right
to counsel. The defendant then suggests in brief that
"Deputy Price" (actually, Lieutenant (now Captain)
Raymond Price, with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's
Office) testified that, after the booking process, the
defendant stated that he had a lawyer, "thereby invoking
his right to counsel again." According to the defendant,
the St. Tammany detectives were in the room when the
defendant asked for this attorney this "second
time" and, "absent some extraordinary circumstance,
they would have heard his request."
note, however, that the defendant's informing Sergeant
Hotard that he had an attorney (on May 8, 2012) was the
first time the defendant had made this known. The
second time the defendant said he had an attorney was after
the detectives interviewed the defendant, left the Calcasieu
Parish Sheriff's Office for the evening, then returned to
Lake Charles because they were informed the defendant had
made a statement to an officer at the Calcasieu Parish
Sheriff's Office. When they approached the defendant for
the second time in Lake Charles (the next day), at that time
the defendant said he had an attorney. The detectives,
accordingly, did not talk to the defendant.
further discussed below, the source of confusion for the
defendant is apparently the mistaken belief that the
defendant's informing Sergeant Hotard that he had an
attorney was a separate event from the occasion when Captain
Price heard the defendant say he had an attorney. The
defendant suggests that when he arrived at the Calcasieu
Parish Sheriff's Office, prior to the booking process, he
told Sergeant Hotard he had an attorney; and then after
the booking process, the defendant again said he had an
attorney. But the time Sergeant Hotard first spoke to ...