APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 16-4005, DIVISION
"N" HONORABLE STEPHEN D. ENRIGHT, JR., JUDGE
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Anne M. Wallis Douglas W.
Freese Brittany Beckner.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, BOBBY L. JAMES Mary
composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Robert A. Chaisson, and
Hans J. Liljeberg.
M. CHEHARDY CHIEF JUDGE.
appeal, defendant challenges, among other things, the trial
court's failure to rule on his motion for post verdict
judgment of acquittal and/or arrest of judgment. Finding this
error, we vacate defendant's sentences and remand for a
ruling on defendant's pro se motion for post
verdict judgment of acquittal.
August 18, 2016, the Jefferson Parish Grand Jury indicted
defendant, Bobby L. James, for the second degree murder and
attempted armed robbery of Dwayne Baptiste, violations of La.
R.S. 14:30.1 and La. R.S. 14:27 and La. R.S. 14:64,
respectively. On October 10, 2017, trial commenced
before a twelve-person jury, which, after a two-day trial,
found defendant guilty as charged on both counts.
October 27, 2017, defendant filed a pro se motion
for post verdict judgment of acquittal and/or arrest of
judgment, which was never ruled upon by the trial court. On
November 2, 2017, the trial court sentenced defendant to
concurrent sentences of life imprisonment for second degree
murder and to forty-nine and one-half years at hard labor for
attempted armed robbery.
November 2, 2017, defendant filed a motion for appeal, which
was granted by the trial court on the same date. On appeal,
defendant challenges the failure of the trial court to rule
on his motion for post verdict judgment of acquittal and/or
arrest of judgment, and the alleged erroneous ruling of the
trial court in granting the State's La. C.E. art. 404(B)
C.Cr.P. art. 821 provides that a defendant may move for a
post verdict judgment of acquittal following the verdict, and
that such motion must be made and disposed
of prior to sentencing. [Emphasis ours]. The trial court
erred in failing to rule on defendant's timely pro
se motion for post verdict judgment of acquittal.
State v. Christian, 05-635 (La.App. 5 Cir. 2/3/06),
924 So.2d 266, 267.
State v. Randolph, 409 So.2d 554 (La. 1981),
(per curiam)(on rehearing, 1982) the Louisiana
Supreme Court dealt with the trial court's failure to
rule on a defendant's new trial motion by vacating his
sentence and remanding the case to the trial court for a
ruling. The high court reserved to the defendant his right to
appeal his conviction and sentence in the event of an
unfavorable ruling on the motion.
faced with the lack of a ruling on defense motions for new
trial and post verdict judgment of acquittal, this Court has
also, without addressing the merits of the defendant's
assignments of error, vacated the defendant's sentence
and remanded for rulings on the motions, reserving to the
defendant his right to appeal his conviction and sentence in
the event of unfavorable rulings. See, State v.
Aguliar-Benitez, 16-336 (La.App. 5 Cir. 12/7/16), 206
So.3d 472; State v. Williams, 11-65 (La.App. 5 Cir.
12/13/11), 81 So.3d 908; State v. Munson, 11-0054
(La.App. 5 Cir. 11/15/11), 78 So.3d 290; State v.
Swanzy, 10-483 (La.App. 5 Cir. 6/14/11), 71 So.3d 392;
State v. Pettus, 10-742 (La.App. 5 Cir. 5/24/11), 66
So.3d 1192; State v. Pearson and Little, 07-332
(La.App. 5 Cir. 12/27/07), 975 So.2d 646; State v.
Robinson, 06-464 (La.App. ...