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State v. Cooks

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 12, 2018

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
SAMUEL COOKS

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 13-6158, DIVISION "H" HONORABLE GLENN B. ANSARDI, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D. Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, SAMUEL COOKS Holli A. Herrle-Castillo

          DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, SAMUEL COOKS In Proper Person

          Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Robert A. Chaisson, and John J. Molaison, Jr.

          JOHN J. MOLAISON, JR. JUDGE.

         Defendant appeals his convictions and sentences for manslaughter and for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. For the reasons that follow, defendant's convictions and sentences are affirmed; the matter is further remanded for correction of the Uniform Commitment Order, and we grant appellate counsel's motion to withdraw as counsel.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A Jefferson Parish Grand Jury returned a true bill of indictment on December 12, 2013, charging defendant, Samuel Cooks, with second degree murder, in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1 (Count 1), and with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of La. R.S. 14:95.1 (Count 2). Defendant pled not guilty to both counts at his arraignment on December 13, 2013. On December 5, 2017, the State amended the indictment and reduced the charge of second degree murder to manslaughter, a violation of La. R.S. 14:31, and, at that time, defendant withdrew his former pleas of not guilty and pled guilty to both counts. Pursuant to his plea agreement with the State, the trial court sentenced defendant to 40 years in the Department of Corrections on Count 1, and to 10 years in the Department of Corrections on Count 2. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently with one another and any other sentence defendant was serving.

         Defendant filed a Uniform Application for Post-Conviction Relief on May 4, 2018, which the trial converted into a motion for an out-of-time appeal on May 9, 2018. The instant appeal follows.

         FACTS

         Because defendant's convictions resulted from guilty pleas, the underlying facts were not fully developed in the record. However, the amended true bill of indictment alleges that, for Count 1, on August 26, 2013, defendant violated La. R.S. 14:31, in that he committed the manslaughter of Ryan Easly. The bill of indictment also alleged, for Count 2, that on August 26, 2013, defendant violated La. R.S. 14:95.1 in that he was in possession of a firearm, after having been previously convicted of violating La. RS. 40:967(C), under Case Number 515-379, Division F, in the Criminal District Court, Parish of Orleans.

         ANALYSIS

         Under the procedure adopted by this Court in State v. Bradford, 95-929 (La.App. 5 Cir. 6/25/96), 676 So.2d 1108, 1110-11, appointed appellate counsel has filed a brief asserting that she has thoroughly reviewed the trial court record and found no non-frivolous issues to raise on appeal. Accordingly, pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967) and State v. Jyles, 96-2669 (La. 12/12/97), 704 So.2d 241 (per curiam), appointed appellate counsel requests permission to withdraw as counsel of record for defendant.

         In Anders, supra, the United States Supreme Court stated that appointed appellate counsel may request permission to withdraw if he finds defendant's appeal to be wholly frivolous after a conscientious examination of it. The request must be accompanied by "a brief referring to anything in the record that might arguably support the appeal" so as to provide the reviewing court "with a basis for determining whether appointed counsel have fully performed their duty to support their clients' appeals to the best of their ability" and to assist the reviewing court "in making the critical determination whether the appeal is indeed so frivolous that counsel should be permitted to withdraw." McCoy v. Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, Dist. 1, 486 U.S. 429, 439, 108 S.Ct. 1895, 1902, 100 L.Ed.2d 440 (1988).

         In Jyles, 704 So.2d at 241, the Louisiana Supreme Court stated that an Anders brief need not tediously catalog every meritless pretrial motion or objection made at trial with a detailed explanation of why the motions or objections lack merit. The Supreme Court explained that an Anders brief must demonstrate by full discussion and analysis that appellate counsel "has cast an advocate's eye over the trial record and considered whether any ruling made by the trial court, subject to the ...


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