FROM THE THIRTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF VERNON,
NO. 89546 HONORABLE C. ANTHONY EAVES, DISTRICT JUDGE
Skinner District Attorney Terry Lambright Assistant District
Attorney COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
Stephen H. Shapiro Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Christopher Granado
composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, Shannon J. Gremillion, and
John E. Conery, Judges.
E. CONERY JUDGE
Christopher Granado was indicted on June 2, 2016, as a
principal to racketeering, a violation of La.R.S. 14:24 and
15:1353, for alleged offenses occurring from February 1, 2015
to March 9, 2016. On January 9, 2016, Defendant entered an
open-ended plea of guilty to racketeering. The trial judge
ordered a pre-sentence investigation report (PSI) and set
sentencing for February 6, 2018. At the sentencing hearing,
the trial court reviewed Defendant's PSI and the
State's sentencing memorandum. After taking into
consideration the sentencing guidelines provided by La.Code
Crim.P. art. 894, Defendant was sentenced to forty years at
hard labor with credit for time served and fined $50, 000.00
plus court costs. Defendant then filed a pro se motion for
amendment of sentence and to withdraw plea agreement, which
was denied by the trial court. Additionally, Defendant's
counsel filed a motion to reconsider sentence, which was also
denied by the trial court. Defendant now seeks review of his
sentence and his motion to withdraw his plea, asserting two
assignments of error. For the following reasons, we affirm
Defendant's conviction and sentence.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
appeal arises out of Defendant's indictment and
conviction on the charges of principal to racketeering, in
violation of La.R.S. 14:24 and 15:1353. On January 27, 2016,
Defendant and Ms. Hernandez-Quezada were arrested for selling
methamphetamine in DeRidder, located in Beauregard Parish,
Louisiana. On June 2, 2016, Defendant was indicted by a grand
jury as a principal to racketeering, in violation of La.R.S.
14:24 and 15:1353 and conspiracy to distribute
methamphetamine, a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous
Substance, in violation of La.R.S. 40:967(A). Defendant was
arraigned and pled not guilty to the above charges.
January 9, 2018, Defendant entered an Alford plea to
racketeering pursuant to a plea agreement. In return for
Defendant's Alford plea, the State agreed to
dismiss the charge of conspiracy to distribute a schedule II
controlled dangerous substance, in violation of La.R.S.
40:967(A). The trial court accepted Defendant's plea and
entered the plea agreement and waiver of constitutional
rights forms into the record. On February 26, 2018, Defendant
was sentenced to forty years at hard labor with credit for
time served since the date of arrest and fined $50, 000.00
plus court costs.
then filed a pro se motion for amendment of sentence and
motion to withdraw plea agreement on March 19, 2018. Through
counsel, Defendant filed a motion to reconsider sentence on
March 20, 2018. Both motions were denied by the trial court
on April 6, 2018. Defendant now appeals his sentence and the
trial court's denial of his motion to withdraw his plea.
1. The district court erred in denying Christopher
Granado's Motion to Withdraw his Guilty Plea as not
knowingly and voluntarily [sic] when Mr. Granado's
counsel failed to properly and accurately communicate the
State's plea offer to Mr. Granado: (1) by advising Mr.
Granado that he would be sentenced to a prison term of
7-years; and (2) when Mr. Granado reasonably relied on his
counsel's statement and pled guilty on the strength of
2. The district court erred in imposing on [sic] a prison
sentence of 40 years on Christopher Granado because this
sentence was grossly excessive under the facts,
circumstances, and sentencing factors.
accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are
reviewed for errors patent on the face of the record. After
reviewing the record, we find there are no errors patent.
of Error No. 1
first assigned error, Defendant contends the trial court
erroneously denied his motion to withdraw his guilty plea.
Defendant argues his guilty plea was not knowingly and
voluntarily made because his counsel failed to properly and
accurately communicate the State's plea offer.
Specifically, Defendant alleges counsel advised him he would
be sentenced to a prison term of seven years. Defendant
alleges that he reasonably relied on counsel's statement
and pled guilty on the strength of counsel's advice. He
further contends that counsel was ineffective.
[A] guilty plea is constitutionally infirm when a defendant
is induced to enter that plea by a plea bargain or by what he
justifiably believes was a plea bargain, and that bargain is
not kept. In such a case a defendant has been denied due
process of law because the plea was not given freely and
State v. Dixon, 449 So.2d 463, 464 (La.1984).
See also State v. Filer, 99-626 (La.App. 3 Cir.
9/20/00), 771 So.2d 700, writ denied, 00-2918 (La.
9/21/01), 797 So.2d 63.
review of the record indicates that Defendant made the plea
knowingly and voluntarily. Moreover, there is no indication
that the State ever promised a specific sentence term, or
that such information was ever communicated to Defendant. The
record fails to show that Defendant ever at any time prior to
the imposition of his sentence indicated his disagreement
with any part of his plea agreement. In fact, the colloquy