APPEALED FROM THE TWENTY-SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT ST.
TAMMANY PARISH, LOUISIANA DOCKET NUMBER 586706, DIVISION
"B" HONORABLE AUGUST J. HAND, JUDGE PRESIDING
L. Montgomery District Attorney And Matthew Caplan Mary
Watson Smith Assistant District Attorneys Covington,
Louisiana Attorney for Appellee State of Louisiana
Herrle-Castillo Marrero, Louisiana Attorney for
Defendant/Appellant James Allen Cooper, Jr.
BEFORE: McDONALD, CRAIN, and HOLDRIDGE, JJ.
defendant, James Allen Cooper, Jr., was charged by bill of
information with failure to properly register as a sex
offender, a violation of La. R.S. 15:542.1.4(A)(1). The
defendant pled not guilty. The defendant filed a motion to
quash the bill of information, which was denied. The
defendant withdrew his former plea of not guilty and entered
a Crosby plea of guilty as charged,
reserving his right to appeal the court's ruling on the
motion to quash. See State v. Crosby, 338
So.2d 584 (La. 1976). The court sentenced the defendant to
three years imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of
parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. The defendant
now appeals, designating one assignment of error. We affirm
the conviction and sentence.
defendant completed his sentence for a 2003 conviction for
molestation of a juvenile (his eleven-year-old stepdaughter)
and was released from River Correctional Center on February
15, 2017. Pursuant to La. R.S. 15:542, the defendant was
required to register and provide notification as a sex
offender. On February 20, 2017, the defendant went to the St.
Tammany Parish Sheriffs Office (Office) and filled out the
initial paperwork required for registration. He was staying
with his sister, so he listed her Madisonville address as his
address. The defendant was informed that he had to return to
the Office by March 13, 2017, with proof of address, a State
I.D. (listing sex offender status), and $628.62 (money
orders) for sex offender notification.
defendant did not have money for the notification expenses.
He asked several family members for the money, to no avail.
The defendant never reported back to the Office on March 13,
2017, and he never contacted the Office at any time between
his initial registration on February 20 and March 13. During
this period, the defendant had gotten into an argument with
his sister and left her apartment. An arrest warrant for the
defendant was prepared. The defendant's daughter
contacted the Office to inform the police the defendant had
called her to help him leave the area and to bring him to
Mississippi. On March 17, 2017, with the defendant's
daughter's help, the defendant was arrested at a gas
station in Pearl River.
defendant did not testify at the motion to quash hearing.
sole assignment of error, the defendant argues the court
erred in denying his motion to quash the bill of information.
Specifically, the defendant contends the court failed to
consider his indigency and financial reasons for why he could
not fulfill his sex offender registration obligations.
defendant filed a motion to quash the bill of information,
wherein he argued he was entitled to such relief under the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
According to the defendant, in his motion, he was indigent
and made "valiant efforts" to pay his sex offender
registration fees and that, as such, he could not be
imprisoned simply for being poor.
trial court denies a motion to quash, factual and credibility
determinations should not be reversed in the absence of a
clear abuse of the trial court's discretion. See
State v. Odom, 2002-2698 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/27/03),
861 So.2d 187, 191, writ denied, 2003-2142 (La.
10/17/03), 855 So.2d 765. However, a trial court's legal
findings are subject to a de novo ...