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State v. Wagnon

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

December 6, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
CHRISTOPHER LEE WAGNON

          APPEAL FROM THE THIRTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF VERNON, NO. 91693 HONORABLE C. ANTHONY EAVES, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Annette Fuller Roach Louisiana Appellate Project COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Christopher Lee Wagnon

          Asa A. Skinner District Attorney COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana

          Terry W. Lambright COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana

          Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Sylvia R. Cooks, and Marc T. Amy, Judges.

          MARC T. AMY JUDGE

         Pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant entered guilty pleas to three counts of oral sexual battery and to one count of third degree rape. The trial court subsequently imposed seven-year, hard labor sentences for each of the three convictions for oral sexual battery and ordered that they be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. The trial court further imposed a twenty-year sentence, also to be served at hard labor and without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, for the third degree rape conviction. The trial court ordered that all sentences are to be served concurrently. The defendant appeals. For the following reasons, we affirm. We further remand this matter with instructions regarding registration and notification requirements.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         By October 2017 bill of information, the State charged the defendant, Christopher Lee Wagnon, with five counts or oral sexual battery, violations of La.R.S. 14:43.3(A)(1); one count of sexual battery, a violation of La.R.S. 14:43.1; one count of indecent behavior with juveniles, a violation of La.R.S. 14:81(A)(1); and one count of third degree rape, a violation of La.R.S. 14:43(A)(1). Although initially entering a plea of not guilty, the defendant entered into a plea agreement in January 2018. Thereby, the defendant changed his plea to guilty of three counts of oral sexual battery and guilty of one count of third degree rape. The State offered the following factual background for the plea:

On the Bill of Information 91, 693, Judge, generally it is contended that back between the period of time of July, 2016 through a period of time of January of 2017 that on a number of occasions, numerous occasions, that this defendant did travel to the grandparents['] home of the young victim, M.T.[1] who at the time - - his date of birth was 10/18/02, and on those occasions did solicit this 14 year old at the time by enticing him with tobacco, alcohol, for sexual favors. That occurred on numerous times with this young victim. With respect to the other victim, C.V., whose date of birth was 10/13/2002, on at least several of those occasions this victim was present and this defendant did also through solicitation with alcohol and tobacco did engage this young man to engage in sexual acts. For purposes particularly of the counts the State would contend in Count Number 1 that this defendant did commit oral sexual battery upon M.T., a male juvenile, whose date of birth was 10/18/02 and that he did intentionally touch the genitals of the victim, M.T., with his mouth. The victim was not the spouse of the offender and the victim was under the age of 15 and the victim was at least three years younger than the offender. That occurred on July - - in July of 2016. Under Count Number 2 of that Bill of Information the State would again contend that this defendant did commit oral sexual battery upon M.T., a male juvenile, whose date of birth was 10/18/02 in that he did intentionally touch the genitals of the victim, M.T., with his mouth. The victim again was not the spouse of the offender and the victim was under the age of 18 and the victim was at least three years younger than the offender. Again, under Bill of Information 91, 693, Count Number 7, the State would contend that this defendant committed oral sexual battery upon C.V., a male juvenile, whose date of birth was 10/13/02 in that he did intentionally touch the genitals of the victim, C.V., with his mouth. The victim was not the spouse of the offender and the victim was under the age of 15 and the victim was at least three years younger than the offender. Under Count 8 of Bill of Information 91, 693 it's contended that this defendant committed third degree rape in that he did engage in anal sexual intercourse with C.V. whose date of birth was 10/13/02, a male juvenile, without lawful consent because the victim, C.V., was incapacitated at the time and incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of the act by reason of a stupor or some abnormal condition of the mind produced by intoxicating agents. The offender knew or should have known that the victim was incapacitated at the time. All of these events occurred in Vernon Parish, State of Louisiana ….

         Pursuant to the plea agreement, the State dismissed the remaining charges.

         In March 2018, the trial court sentenced the defendant to seven years at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence for each count of oral sexual battery and to twenty years at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence for third degree rape, with credit for time served. The sentences are to run concurrently.

         The defendant thereafter filed a motion to reconsider sentence, claiming that the twenty-year sentence for third degree rape-to be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence-was excessive for a first felony offender who cooperated with authorities and gave a voluntary statement admitting the crimes. The trial court denied that motion by order explaining that: "Considering the record, PSI, law, specifically both mitigating and aggravating factors in CCr.P. Art. 894.1 the defendant's motion lacks merit."

The defendant appeals, assigning the following as error:
1) The sentences imposed by the trial court violate[] the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and La. Const[.] Art. I, § 20, as they are nothing more than cruel and unusual punishment and, thus, excessive.
2) The trial court erred in failing to properly advise Appellant of the lifetime reporting requirements required by La. R.S. 15:544(B)(2)(a).

         Discussion

         Errors Patent

         In accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are reviewed for errors patent on the face of the record. An error patent is one "that is discoverable by a mere inspection of the pleadings and proceedings and without inspection of the evidence." ...


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