Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Jefferson

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

September 24, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
CALVIN BERNARD JEFFERSON

          On 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

          Warren Montgomery District Attorney Matthew Caplan Mary Watson Smith Assistant District Attorneys Covington, Louisiana Counsel for Appellee State of Louisiana.

          M. Bertha Hillman Louisiana Appellate Project Covington, Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/Appellant Calvin Bernard Jefferson.

          BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON, AND HIGGINBOTHAM, JJ.

          McCLENDON, J.

         The 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 sentence.

         FACTS

         At the 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."[1] 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.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         In his 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.

         The 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.

         As to 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."

         We 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.

         As 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.