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State v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

November 7, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
LAWRENCE WILLIAMS

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 17-896, DIVISION "E" HONORABLE JOHN J. MOLAISON, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D. Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, LAWRENCE WILLIAMS Prentice L. White

          Panel composed of Judges Robert A. Chaisson, Stephen J. Windhorst, and Hans J. Liljeberg

          HANS J. LILJEBERG, JUDGE

         Defendant, Lawrence Williams, appeals his convictions and sentences for two counts of armed robbery with a firearm. For the following reasons, we affirm defendant's convictions, vacate his sentences and remand with instructions. We also grant appellate counsel's motion to withdraw as attorney of record for defendant.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On February 9, 2017, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed a bill of information charging defendant with two counts of armed robbery with a firearm in violation of La. R.S. 14:64 and La. R.S. 14:64.3(A). On the following date, defendant was arraigned and entered pleas of not guilty. On July 18, 2017, defendant filed an untitled pleading seeking the appointment of a sanity commission to determine his competency to proceed to trial, which the trial court granted that same day.

         On July 26, 2017, the trial court found defendant competent to proceed based upon the opinion of the sanity commission. Also on that date, defendant withdrew his pleas of not guilty and entered pleas of guilty as charged. Upon the trial court's request, the State presented a factual basis for the pleas. The State asserted that if it were to proceed to trial, it would prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on or about January 10, 2017, within Jefferson Parish, defendant violated La. R.S. 14:64.3 by robbing James Rigney and Reynolds Rigney while armed with a dangerous weapon, a firearm. After accepting his pleas, the trial court sentenced defendant in accordance with the plea agreement to twenty years at hard labor without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on each count with the sentences to run concurrently. The State agreed not to file a habitual offender bill against defendant.

         On March 1, 2018, defendant filed an application for post-conviction relief seeking an out-of-time appeal in accordance with State v. Counterman, 475 So.2d 336 (La. 1985). On March 9, 2018, the trial court dismissed defendant's application for post-conviction relief without prejudice and granted his motion for an out-of-time appeal.

         ANDERS BRIEF

         Under the procedure adopted by this Court in State v. Bradford, 95-929 and 95-930 (La.App. 5 Cir. 6/25/96), 676 So.2d 1108, 1110-11, [1] appointed appellate counsel has filed a brief asserting that he thoroughly reviewed the trial court record and cannot find any non-frivolous issues to raise on appeal. Accordingly, pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967) and State v. Jyles, 96-2669 (La. 12/12/97), 704 So.2d 241 (per curiam), appointed counsel requests permission to withdraw as counsel of record.

         In 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 it. 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) (quotation omitted).

         In Jyles, 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 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 ...


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