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State v. Mattox

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

October 31, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
KORY MATTOX STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
KORY MATTOX

          APPLICATION FOR WRITS DIRECTED TO ST. BERNARD 34TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT NO. 15-06328, DIVISION "B" Honorable Jeanne Nunez Juneau, Judge

          Perry M. Nicosia District Attorney 34th Judicial District Court Parish of St. Bernard Michael G. Morales Assistant District Attorney COUNSEL FOR STATE

          David W. Gernhauser, Jr. Dan A. Robin, Jr. Erich Puderer Law Offices of Dan. A Robin, Jr., LLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT

          Court composed of Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge Tiffany G. Chase

          JOY COSSICH LOBRANO JUDGE

         We are presented with two writ applications arising out of the same case that were consolidated for consideration. We discuss each writ separately.

         The facts are briefly as follows. Shortly after midnight on November 27, 2014, the victim in this case ("Victim") went to 2105 River Park Drive. The defendant, Kory Mattox ("Defendant") and Raquel Nicolosi were at the residence. Nicolosi answered the door. It is alleged that upon entering, Victim struck Nicolosi in the head with a collapsible police style baton. Defendant appeared from the rear of the residence and killed Victim with a single shot from a 12-gauge shotgun.

         WRIT NO. 2018-K-0780

         Defendant was indicted for one count of second degree murder but has claimed from the time of the shooting that the homicide was justified. Nicolosi testified during the grand jury proceedings. Defendant filed a motion to unseal the grand jury testimony. Nicolosi's testimony was unsealed and given to the defense by the State under the provisions of La. C.Cr.P. art. 434.1(B).

         After reviewing the transcript in camera, the district court ordered that page 28, lines 22-25, page 29, lines 1-25, and page 30, lines 1-24 be unsealed and provided to Defendant. This portion of the transcript contains legal advice and remarks by the State to the grand jury before it began its deliberations. Defendant maintains that the State erroneously omitted from its instructions the law on justifiable homicide. As such, Defendant argues that this alleged misconduct by the State no longer protects the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.

         The State filed the instant writ. It contends that grand jury proceedings are confidential as per the La. Const. Art. V §34(A) and as provided for in the La. C.Cr.P. arts. 431, et seq. For the reasons that follow, we grant the State's writ and reverse the judgment of the district court ordering the unsealing of page 28, lines 22-25, page 29, lines 1-25, and page 30, lines 1-24.

         The Supreme Court, in State v. Francis, 18-1395 (La. 9/21/18), ___ So.3d ___, 2018 WL 4560268 (per curiam), recently stated:

"[T]he indispensable secrecy of grand jury proceedings must not be broken except where there is a compelling necessity." State v. Trosclair, 443 So.2d 1098, 1103 (La.1983). The party seeking disclosure must demonstrate a particularized need that outweighs the need for continued secrecy. Trosclair, 443 So.2d at 1103. That is, "[h]e must show that, without the material, his case would be greatly prejudiced or that an injustice would be done." State v. Higgins, 03-1980, p. 36 (La. 4/1/05), 898 So.2d 1219, 1241 (citing Trosclair, 443 So.2d at 1103; State v. Ates, 418 So.2d 1326, 1328-29 (La. 1982)).

In State v. Ross, 13-0175, pp. 6-7 (La. 3/25/14), 144 So.3d 932, 937, the Court stated the reasons for grand ...


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