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State v. Lattin

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

September 26, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
EDWARD D. LATTIN Appellant

          Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 339939 Honorable Katherine Dorroh, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Holli Herrle-Castillo Counsel for Appellant.

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney JANET L. SILVIE RACHEL KING Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee.

          Before COX, STEPHENS, and MCCALLUM, JJ.

          STEPHENS, J.

         After a jury trial in the First Judicial District Court, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, the defendant, Edward D. Lattin, was convicted of illegal carrying of a weapon while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance ("CDS"), a violation of La. R.S. 14:95(E). He was subsequently sentenced to eight years at hard labor without benefits, and he appeals his conviction. For the following reasons, we affirm Lattin's conviction and sentence.

         FACTS

         Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office narcotics agents executed a search warrant at a residence in Shreveport, Louisiana on March 24, 2016. At the time of the search, the house was inhabited by Lattin and his girlfriend, Latasha Robinson; initially, the two of them were asleep in a bedroom. Also in the house at the time was Latasha's nephew, Brian Robinson. The search warrant was obtained on the suspicion of drug activity at the residence.

         During the search of Lattin's bedroom, agents found marijuana between the mattress and box spring of the bed. At the scene, the marijuana was thought to weigh 15 grams, but was later determined to be approximately 22 grams. In addition to the marijuana, agents found a scale nearby on the dresser and, in a shoe box on top of the dresser, a .22 caliber revolver. At the scene, Lattin freely admitted that the marijuana and scale belonged to him, but denied ownership of the gun. Latasha denied any knowledge of the marijuana or the weapon. Brian claimed ownership of the gun, but at the time of the search, he was unable to answer any questions by the agents regarding the weapon. Lattin was charged by amended bill of information with illegal carrying of a weapon while in possession of a CDS, in violation of La. R.S. 14:95(E).

         Following a jury trial, by a vote of 10-2, Lattin was found guilty as charged. He was subsequently sentenced to eight years at hard labor, to be served without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, as well as ordered to pay a fine of $1, 000.00. Lattin's motion to reconsider sentence was denied by the trial court.[1] This appeal by Lattin ensued.

         DISCUSSION

         On appeal, Lattin's sole assignment of error is that there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty of the illegal carrying of a weapon while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance. Lattin argues that there was no direct evidence that he had actual possession of the gun, and the state failed to prove that Lattin had constructive possession of the gun. Specifically, Lattin maintains the state failed to prove he knew the gun was in the shoe box or he had the general intent to possess the gun. This argument is without merit.

         Sufficiency of the Evidence

         The standard of appellate review for a sufficiency of the evidence claim is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); State v. Tate, 2001-1658 (La. 5/20/03), 851 So.2d 921, cert. denied, 541 U.S. 905, 124 S.Ct. 1604, 158 L.Ed.2d 248 (2004); State v. Bass, 51, 411 (La.App. 2 Cir. 6/21/17), 223 So.3d 1242, writ not cons., 2018-0296 (La. 4/16/18), 239 So.3d 830. This standard, now legislatively embodied in La.C.Cr.P. art. 821, does not provide the appellate court with a vehicle to substitute its own appreciation of the evidence for that of the fact finder. State v. Pigford, 2005-0477 (La. 2/22/06), 922 So.2d 517; State v. Dotie, 43, 819 (La.App. 2 Cir. 1/14/09), 1 So.3d 833, writ denied, 2009-0310 (La. 11/6/09), 21 So.3d 297.

         The Jackson standard is applicable in cases involving both direct and circumstantial evidence. An appellate court reviewing the sufficiency of evidence in such cases must resolve any conflict in the direct evidence by viewing that evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution. When the direct evidence is thus viewed, the facts established by the direct evidence and inferred from the circumstances established by that evidence must be sufficient for a rational trier of fact to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of every essential element of the crime. Stat ...


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