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State v. Edden

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

November 14, 2018


          Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 330, 810, Honorable Ramona L. Emanuel, Judge.

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Annette F. Roach, Counsel for Appellant.

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney, TOMMY J. JOHNSON WILLIAM C. GASKINS Assistant District Attorneys, Counsel for Appellee.

          Before PITMAN, COX, and BLEICH (Pro Tempore), JJ.

          COX, J.

         This criminal appeal arises from the First Judicial District Court, Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Trevor Edden appeals the sentence imposed after a jury convicted him of domestic abuse battery, fourth or subsequent offense. Edden was sentenced to 37 years' imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of probation or suspension of sentence. Pro se and counseled motions for reconsideration of sentence were denied by the trial court. For the following reasons, Edden's conviction and sentence are affirmed.


         Edden and his live-in girlfriend, Jakia Norris, had been a couple for six years, lived together for three years, and had two children together. Around midday on October 19, 2014, Edden and Ms. Norris left their home by car to get something to eat. Ms. Norris was the passenger in the car and Edden drove. As the two left a gas station, they got into an argument for an undisclosed reason. During the verbal altercation, Edden struck Ms. Norris in the jaw causing her lip to bleed. Edden pulled the car over and the couple continued to fight. Ms. Norris fought back in self-defense, striking Edden in his face. Thereafter, Edden bit Ms. Norris on her left arm, right pinkie finger, and right leg.

         Ms. Norris was able to get out of the car and run down the street. About five minutes later, Ms. Norris got a ride to her home and called police. The police photographed Ms. Norris to document the injuries she sustained. An emergency medical team was dispatched to her home, but no treatment was provided to her. At the time of the trial, Ms. Norris had a scar on her arm from the bite mark. She stated that she still lived with and had feelings for Edden.

         On October 9, 2010, and March 14, 2012, Edden was placed on probation for domestic abuse battery convictions against a different complainant. In 2014, Edden pled guilty to two separate charges of domestic abuse battery against Ms. Norris. For these guilty pleas, he received 48 hours in jail and was placed on one-year probation for each conviction.

         Edden was arrested on the instant offense and ultimately charged with one count of domestic abuse battery, fourth or subsequent offense, in violation of La. R.S. 14:35.3(F). He was tried by a jury and unanimously convicted as charged.

         On May 16, 2017, the State filed a second-felony habitual bill of information against Edden, based upon a prior felony conviction in Caddo Parish, Docket No. 284, 739, unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling on March 22, 2010. For that conviction, he received a suspended sentence of one year at hard labor and was placed on one year of supervised probation. Prior to hearing the habitual offender proceedings on September 18, 2017, the trial court denied Edden's motions for new trial and post-verdict judgment of acquittal. After hearing the testimony of one of the State's witness, the trial court adjudicated Edden as a second-felony offender.

         No presentence investigation report was ordered. On October 19, 2017, Edden submitted a statement on sentencing. He stated that he was 28 years old and admitted his prior felony and misdemeanor convictions, in addition to his four prior convictions for domestic abuse. Edden admitted that he had also pled guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession in August of 2012. Edden requested that the trial court consider an attached letter written by Ms. Norris and asked the trial court to "exercise as much mercy as possible" in sentencing him.

         In her letter, Ms. Norris indicated that "we have been blessed" that Edden's most recent troubles and period of incarceration had "truly allowed" Edden to understand "what it takes to be a productive member of society." Ms. Norris did not attempt to argue that Edden's offense qualified as a misdemeanor, but asked the court to consider his "lack of any prior criminal activity," as well as the "pronounced improvements we have seen" in him. Ms. Norris insisted that Edden's "domestic abuse was left behind while incarcerated in the Caddo Parish Jail," and that the system had helped him through anger management. Ms. Norris ...

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