APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 16-7511, DIVISION
"I" HONORABLE NANCY A. MILLER, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, CHRISTOPHER LUCIA Gwendolyn
DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, CHRISTOPHER LUCIA In Proper Person
composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and
John J. Molaison, Jr.
J. MOLAISON, JR. JUDGE
October 3, 2017, defendant, Christopher Lucia, pled guilty to
one count of first degree robbery, a violation of La. R.S.
14:64.1. The trial court sentenced Mr. Lucia to eight years
imprisonment at hard labor as per the plea agreement. Mr.
Lucia was granted a pro se appeal. Mr. Lucia's
appointed appellate counsel has filed an
Anders brief on his behalf, asserting there is no
basis for a non-frivolous appeal. Further, Mr. Lucia has
filed a pro se supplemental brief assigning errors.
For the following reasons, we affirm Mr. Lucia's
conviction and sentence and, further, grant appellate
counsel's motion to withdraw as attorney of record.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
case, Mr. Lucia's conviction resulted from a guilty plea,
so the circumstances surrounding the offense were not fully
developed at a trial. Here, the record reflects that on or
about November 8, 2016, while in Jefferson Parish and armed
with a firearm, Mr. Lucia robbed Chang Zou.
February 10, 2017, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney
filed a bill of information charging Mr. Lucia with one count
of armed robbery with a firearm in violation of La. R.S.
14:64 and La. R.S. 14:64.3(A), respectively. At his
arraignment on February 13, 2017, Mr. Lucia pled not guilty.
Thereafter, Mr. Lucia filed omnibus motions seeking
suppression of the evidence, statements, and identification,
all of which were denied following a hearing on June 23,
October 3, 2107, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, the
State agreed to refrain from filing a multiple offender bill
against Mr. Lucia and amended the bill of information to a
charge of first degree robbery,  a violation of La. R.S.
14:64.1, in exchange for which Mr. Lucia withdrew his former
plea of not guilty and entered a plea of guilty to the
amended charge. During the plea colloquy, the trial court
asked Mr. Lucia to explain what happened on November 8, 2016
that would lead him to plead guilty to first degree robbery.
In response, Mr. Lucia stated that on that date, he robbed
the Jade Buddha Restaurant while armed with a weapon, or
caused the person whom he robbed to believe that he was armed
with a weapon. After accepting Mr. Lucia's guilty plea as
having been freely and voluntarily made, the trial court
sentenced Mr. Lucia to eight years imprisonment at hard labor
without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of
sentence in accordance with the plea agreement.
Lucia timely filed a pro se motion for appeal on
October 25, 2017, which was granted on November 8, 2017. The
instant appeal followed.
the procedure adopted by this Court,  appointed appellate counsel
has filed a brief asserting that she has thoroughly reviewed
the trial court record and cannot find any non-frivolous
issues to raise on appeal. Accordingly, pursuant to
Anders, supra, and State v. Jyles,
96-2669 (La. 12/12/97), 704 So.2d 241 (per curiam),
appointed counsel has filed a motion to withdraw as counsel
Anders, supra, the United States Supreme
Court stated that appointed appellate counsel may request
permission to withdraw if he finds his case to be wholly
frivolous after a conscientious examination of
The request must be accompanied by "a brief referring to
anything in the record that might arguably support the
appeal" so as to provide the reviewing court "with
a basis for determining whether appointed counsel have fully
performed their duty to support their clients' appeals to
the best of their ability" and to assist the reviewing
court "in making the critical determination whether the
appeal is indeed so frivolous that counsel should be
permitted to withdraw." McCoy v. Court of Appeals of
Wisconsin, Dist. 1, 486 U.S. 429, 439, 108
S.Ct. 1895, 1902, 100 L.Ed.2d 440 (1988) (internal citations
State v. Jyles, supra, 704 So.2d at 241,
the Louisiana Supreme Court stated that an Anders
brief need not tediously catalog every meritless pretrial
motion or objection made at trial with a detailed explanation
of why the motions or objections lack merit. The Supreme
Court explained that an Anders brief must
demonstrate by full discussion and analysis that appellate
counsel "has cast an advocate's eye over the trial
record and considered whether any ruling made by the trial
court, subject to the contemporaneous objection rule, had a
significant, adverse impact on shaping the evidence presented
to the jury for its consideration." Id.
conducting a review for compliance with Anders, an
appellate court must conduct an independent review of the
record to determine whether the appeal is wholly frivolous.
Bradford, supra, 676 So.2d at 1110. If,
after an independent review, the reviewing court determines
there are no non-frivolous issues for appeal, it may grant
counsel's motion to withdraw and affirm the
defendant's conviction and sentence. However, if the
court finds any legal point arguable on the merits, it may
either deny the motion and order the court-appointed attorney
to file a brief arguing the legal point(s) identified by the
court, or grant the motion and appoint substitute counsel for
the appellant. Id.
brief, counsel for Mr. Lucia asserts that after a detailed
review of the record, she could find no non-frivolous issues
to raise on appeal. Appellate counsel states that prior to
withdrawing his plea of not guilty and entering a plea of
guilty, Mr. Lucia was fully informed of the legal
consequences of changing his plea by both his trial counsel
and the trial court.
counsel provides that an examination of the plea colloquy
revealed that prior to accepting his guilty plea, the trial
court advised Mr. Lucia of his constitutional rights to a
trial by jury, to remain silent, to confront witnesses, and
to compel the attendance of witnesses, in order to ensure
that Mr. Lucia was knowingly and intelligently waiving those
rights. Further, counsel states that Mr. Lucia was advised
that, by pleading guilty, he was also waiving his right to
object or assert any defect, such as an illegal arrest,
illegal confession or illegal line-up. Counsel notes that Mr.
Lucia made no reservation to appeal any pre-trial rulings.
Counsel further asserts that Mr. Lucia was informed of the
sentencing range to which he was exposed for the crime of
first degree robbery, and was advised of the sentence to be
imposed by the trial court as a result of his guilty plea.
Counsel concludes that there are no credible arguments to
advance on appeal and, therefore, requests that this Court
grant her request to withdraw and conduct an errors patent
counsel has filed a motion to withdraw as attorney of record,
which provides that she has notified Mr. Lucia of the filing
of this motion and advised him of his right to file a pro
se brief. Additionally, this Court sent Mr. Lucia a
letter by certified mail informing him that an
Anders brief had been filed and that he had until
August 13, 2018 to file a pro se supplemental brief.
Lucia timely filed a pro se supplemental brief.
State responds that appellate counsel's brief shows a
conscientious and thorough review of the record, and a
complete description of the procedural history and facts of
the case. The State requests that this Court affirm Mr.
Lucia's conviction and sentence. It notes that the trial
court engaged Mr. Lucia in a Boykin colloquy, whereby
Mr. Lucia was made aware of the rights he was waiving by
pleading guilty, the sentencing range for his conviction, and
that his sentence would be eight years at hard labor, without
benefits, which sentence was within the statutory limits
pursuant to La. R.S. 14:64.1. The State notes that the trial
court fully explained to Mr. Lucia the time limitations for
appeal and post-conviction relief. Further, the State agrees
with appellate counsel that Mr. Lucia did not reserve any
rights to appeal any pre-trial rulings of the trial court
prior to pleading guilty and, consequently, has waived those
rights. The State further agrees with appellate counsel that
Mr. Lucia voluntarily and intelligently entered a plea of
guilty and that the record does not contain any non-frivolous
issues for appellate review. The State notes that appellate
counsel has complied with the procedures set forth in
Anders and Jyles and should be granted
permission to withdraw.
independent review of the record supports appellate
counsel's assertion that there are no ...