APPLICATION FOR WRITS DIRECTED TO CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT
ORLEANS PARISH NO. 537-573, SECTION "B" Honorable
Tracey Flemings-Davillier, Judge
A. Cannizzaro, Jr. DISTRICT ATTORNEY Angad Ghai ASSISTANT
DISTRICT ATTORNEY COUNSEL FOR STATE OF LOUISIANA/RELATOR
Michael Kennedy ATTORNEY AT LAW COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Regina
Bartholomew-Woods, Judge Paula A. Brown
State of Louisiana ("State"), seeks supervisory
review of the district court's June 22, 2018 ruling
granting Defendant's motion in limine to exclude
text messages recovered from Defendant's cell phone. For
the following reasons, we find that the district court did
not err; therefore, we deny the relief sought by the State.
writ application, the State asserts the following:
On September 4, 2015[, ] Cornelius Bentley was shot and
killed while in a motel room on Chef Menteur Highway. In
video surveillance from the motel's parking lot, two
subjects later identified as the defendant and Calvin Morris
["Morris"] are seen exiting the motel room. One of
the subjects later identified as the defendant is seen going
over to a trash can and dropping something inside. Both
subjects are then seen leaving the parking lot. A Glock Model
17 handgun was recovered from the trash can outside of the
recorded interview with an NOPD homicide detective, Defendant
admitted that after witnessing Morris shoot the victim, he
deposited the handgun into a trash receptacle outside of the
motel room. However, Defendant denied having any knowledge
that the homicide would occur before Morris abruptly shot the
victim for no discernable reason. During the homicide
investigation, NOPD extracted text messages from
Defendant's cell phone that are at issue in this writ
application. In one of the text message exchanges, which were
sent to a contact in his phone entitled "Wife,"
Defendant and she discussed the theft of twenty thousand
dollars; in another message Defendant stated, "Man Im
[sic] ready to kill."
was subsequently charged by grand jury indictment with one
count of second degree murder, in violation of La. R.S.
14:30.1. Defendant was charged with one count of obstruction
of justice in a homicide investigation, a violation of La.
R.S. 14:130.1. Thereafter, Morris pled guilty to an
amended count of conspiracy to commit second degree murder, a
violation of La. R.S. 14:(26)30.1, and was sentenced to ten
(10) years in the Department of Corrections.
for Defendant filed a motion in limine to exclude
the text messages that NOPD extracted from Defendant's
cell phone, which the district court granted on June 22,
2018. It is ...