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State v. Eugene

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

November 7, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
JASON EUGENE

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 16-319, DIVISION "P" HONORABLE LEE V. FAULKNER, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

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

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, JASON EUGENE Cynthia K. Meyer.

          Panel composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Robert A. Chaisson, and Stephen J. Windhorst

          ROBERT A. CHAISSON, JUDGE

         Defendant, Jason Eugene, appeals his convictions and sentences for four counts of distribution of cocaine as well as his multiple offender adjudication and enhanced sentence. For the reasons that follow, we affirm defendant's convictions and sentences, and we further grant appellate counsel's motion to withdraw as attorney of record for defendant.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On February 1, 2016, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney filed a bill of information charging defendant with four counts of distribution of cocaine occurring on four different dates in April of 2013, violations of La. R.S. 40:967(A). Defendant pled not guilty at his arraignment.

         On March 10, 2016, defendant withdrew his pleas of not guilty, and after being advised of his rights, pled guilty as charged. In accordance with the plea agreement, defendant was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment with the Department of Corrections[1] on each count to run concurrently. The State then filed a bill of information, pursuant to the provisions of La. R.S. 15:529.1, seeking to have defendant adjudicated a second felony offender. After being advised of his rights, defendant stipulated to the allegations in the multiple bill. The trial court then vacated defendant's sentence on count one and resentenced defendant, in accordance with the plea agreement, to fifteen years imprisonment with the Department of Corrections without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence.

         On March 26, 2018, the trial court granted defendant an out-of-time appeal.

         ANDERS BRIEF

         Under the procedure adopted by this Court in State v. Bradford, 95-929 (La.App. 5 Cir. 6/25/96), 676 So.2d 1108, 1110-11, [2] 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 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 appellate counsel requests permission to withdraw as attorney of record for defendant.

         When 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. 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. State v. Bradford, 676 So.2d at 1110.

         In this case, defendant's appellate counsel has complied with the procedures for filing an Anders brief. She details the procedural history of the case as well as the circumstances surrounding defendant's guilty pleas and sentencing. She particularly notes that there were no pretrial rulings which could arguably support an appeal, and that defendant entered unqualified guilty pleas, thereby waiving any non-jurisdictional defects. Appellate counsel further sets forth that defendant's guilty pleas to the original and multiple offender bills of information were not constitutionally infirm because defendant was advised of and indicated that he understood the rights that would be waived by pleading guilty. Further, appellate counsel recognizes that defendant was not forced, coerced, or threatened to enter the guilty pleas, and that the sentences were imposed in conformity with the plea agreements. Defendant's appellate counsel concludes that after a conscientious ...


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