Appealed from the Second Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Bienville, Louisiana Trial Court No. 48236
Honorable Charles Glenn Fallin, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Chad Ikerd Counsel for
W. NEWELL District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
CULPEPPER CARROLL TAMMY LENN GANTT JUMP BENJAMIN J. BLEICH
Assistant District Attorneys
WILLIAMS, MOORE, and STEPHENS, JJ.
criminal appeal arises from the Second Judicial District
Court, Parish of Bienville, State of Louisiana. The
defendant, Lynn Tony Clark, Jr., was convicted of principal
to armed robbery with a firearm in violation of La. R.S.
14:24 and 14:64.3, and principal to aggravated second degree
battery, in violation of La. R.S. 14:24 and 14:34.7. Clark
was sentenced to 20 years at hard labor on the conviction for
armed robbery and 10 years at hard labor on the conviction
for aggravated second degree battery, to run concurrently.
Clark was subsequently adjudicated a habitual offender, but
his original sentence was not vacated. For the following
reasons, Clark's conviction is affirmed, his habitual
offender sentence is vacated, and the matter is remanded for
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
April 21, 2016, LaDarrius Coleman was the victim of a robbery
and sustained a gunshot wound to the head. Coleman survived
his injuries and positively identified individuals involved
in his attack. Coleman did not name Lynn Tony Clark, Jr. as
someone who participated in the crime, nor was he able
identify Clark in a photo lineup. Following an investigation
by the Bienville Parish Sheriff's Office, Clark was
arrested and charged by amended bill of information with
principal to armed robbery with a firearm in violation of La.
R.S. 14:24 and 14:64.3, and principal to aggravated second
degree battery, in violation of La. R.S. 14:24 and 14:34.7.
to trial, Clark moved to have Coleman sequestered because of
the likelihood that his testimony and identification of Clark
would be influenced by the testimony of other witnesses. The
trial court ruled that under the exceptions to La. C. E. art.
615(B)(4), Coleman had a right to remain in the courtroom and
was not subject to the sequestration order. A jury trial
commenced where Coleman testified along with 13 other
witnesses. Clark was found guilty as charged on both counts.
A motion for new trial, re-urging Clark's objection to
Coleman's presence in the courtroom for the entirety of
the trial, was denied. Clark subsequently was sentenced to 20
years at hard labor on the conviction for armed robbery and
10 years at hard labor on the conviction for aggravated
second degree battery, to run concurrently. Clark's
motion to reconsider sentence was denied.
Clark's conviction, the state filed a habitual offender
bill of information, a contradictory hearing was held, and
Clark was adjudicated a habitual offender. The trial court
declined to vacate Clark's prior sentence and maintained
Clark's sentence as 20 years at hard labor. This appeal
by Clark ensued. For the following reasons, we affirm
Clark's conviction, vacate his sentence, and remand the
case for resentencing.
of the Evidence
first assignment of error, Clark argues that the state failed
to sufficiently prove that he was guilty of principal to
armed robbery and principal to aggravated second degree
battery. He asserts that Coleman identified Clark as a
participant in the robbery only after sitting through several
days of testimony. Further, Clark argues that the
circumstantial evidence (i.e., text messages
allegedly sent from Clark's phone after the robbery) was
insufficient evidence to prove him guilty because it was
shown that India Feazel was in possession of Clark's
phone following the crime. We disagree.
standard of appellate review for a sufficiency of the
evidence claim is whether, after viewing the evidence in the
light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier
of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime
beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443
U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); State v.
Hearold, 603 So.2d 731 (La. 1992). See also La.
C. Cr. P. art. 821. This standard does not provide an
appellate court with a vehicle for substituting its
appreciation of the evidence for that of the fact finder.
State v. Pigford, 2005-0477 (La. 2/22/06), 922 So.2d
517; State v. Robertson, 1996-1048 (La. 10/4/96),
680 So.2d 1165.
there is conflicting testimony about factual matters, the
resolution of which depends upon a determination of the
credibility of the witnesses, the matter is one of the weight
of the evidence, not its sufficiency. State v.
Green, 49, 741 (La.App. 2 Cir. 4/15/15), 164 So.3d 331;
State v. Glover, 47, 311 (La.App. 2 Cir. 10/10/12),
106 So.3d 129, writ denied, 2012-2667 (La. 5/24/13),
116 So.3d 659. The trier of fact makes credibility
determinations and may accept or reject the testimony of any
witness. State v. Casey, 1999-0023 (La. 1/26/00),
775 So.2d 1022, cert. denied, 531 U.S. 840, 121
S.Ct. 104, 148 L.Ed.2d 62 (2000). In the absence of internal
contradiction or irreconcilable conflict with physical
evidence, one witness's testimony, if believed by the
trier of fact, is sufficient support for a requisite factual
conclusion. State v. Robinson, 50, 643 (La.App. 2
Cir. 6/22/16), 197 So.3d 717, writ denied, 2016-1479
(La. 5/19/17), 221 So.3d 78; State v. Gullette, 43,
032 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2/13/08), 975 So.2d 753.
the key issue is the defendant's identity as the
perpetrator, rather than whether the crime was committed, the
state is required to negate any reasonable probability of
misidentification. Positive identification by only one
witness is sufficient to support a conviction. It is the
factfinder who weighs the respective credibility of the
witnesses, and this court will generally not second-guess
those determinations. State v. Hughes, 2005-0992
(La. 11/29/06), 943 So.2d 1047; State v. Clark, 50,
137 (La.App. 2 Cir. 9/30/15), 181 So.3d 150, writ
denied, 2015-2049 (La. 11/29/16), 211 So.3d 386.
reviewing court may not impinge on the factfinder's
discretion unless it is necessary to guarantee the
fundamental due process of law. State v. Hughes,
supra; State v. Clark, supra. The appellate
court does not assess credibility or reweigh the evidence.
State v. Smith, 1994-3116 (La. 10/16/95), 661 So.2d
442. A reviewing court accords great deference to a
jury's decision to accept or reject the testimony of a
witness in whole or in ...