FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 531-337,
SECTION "L" HONORABLE FRANZ ZIBILICH, JUDGE.
A. CANNIZZARO JR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY SCOTT G. VINCENT
ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY ORLEANS PARISH 619 S. WHITE
STREET NEW ORLEANS, LA 70119 COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE
V. BOSHEA ATTORNEY AT LAW 2955 RIDGELAKE DRIVE, SUITE 207
METAIRIE, LA 70002 COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT
composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge
Tiffany G. Chase)
Tiffany G. Chase Judge.
Lightfoot (hereinafter "Lightfoot") appeals his
conviction for one count each of monetary instrument abuse,
forgery, bank fraud, and fraudulent acquisition of a credit
card. Mr. Lightfoot lists nine assignments of error for
review. After consideration of the record before
this Court and the applicable law, we affirm Lightfoot's
convictions and sentences.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
April 16, 2016, Lightfoot visited a local title company, ABC
Title, where he obtained a Louisiana identification card,
which displayed his picture but bore the name John Hawkins
(hereinafter referred to as "Hawkins"). Later that
year, on August 19, 2016, Lightfoot went to the Greater New
Orleans Federal Credit Union (hereinafter referred to as the
"Credit Union") and presented himself as Hawkins.
Williams, a ten-year employee of the Credit Union, who was
responsible for opening new accounts and loan processing,
testified that Lightfoot represented himself as Hawkins.
Lightfoot successfully opened a checking account. Ms.
Williams explained the application process for the opening of
checking accounts. She stated that the system is computerized
and testified that she scanned the social security card and
ID given to her by Lightfoot into the system. She further
testified that Lightfoot deposited cash and a $9.00 check
from the Louisiana Department of Revenue, payable to Hawkins,
to open the account. He applied for a credit card with a $2,
000.00 limit, also in the name of Hawkins.Ms. Williams
recalled that there was video surveillance footage from the
day of the event. The video was played for the jury, and Ms.
Williams positively identified Lightfoot as the person who
represented himself as Hawkins.
was also presented from an administrator at the Credit Union
who became suspicious when she recognized the employer's
name listed on the credit application and the picture on the
ID She delved further by pulling up a previous transaction,
which contained a photo of Lightfoot. The photos of Lightfoot
and Hawkins were the same. All employees of the credit union
who testified were unequivocal that there was never any
indication that Lightfoot was opening an account for anyone
other than himself. The Director of Compliance for the Credit
Union contacted the New Orleans Police Department.
November 18, 2016, Lightfoot was arrested and charged with
one count of monetary instrument abuse, one count of forgery,
one count of bank fraud, and one count of fraudulent
acquisition of a credit card. During trial, Lightfoot filed
several motions for mistrial, which were denied. After a jury
trial, Lightfoot was found guilty on all counts. Following
trial, Lightfoot filed a motion for mistrial and a motion for
judgment notwithstanding the verdict. All motions were denied
by the trial court. The trial court sentenced Lightfoot to
five years at hard labor with credit for time served. This
reviewed the record for errors patent and find none.
See La.C.Cr.P. art. 920.
lists nine assignments of error for review. For ease of
discussion, we organize the assignments into seven sections:
(1) sufficiency of the evidence; (2) authentication; (3) jury
selection process; (4) use of back strikes; (5) jury
instruction; (6) presentation of defense; and (7) double
argues that the State presented insufficient evidence to
support his convictions for monetary instrument abuse,
forgery, bank fraud, fraudulent and acquisition of a credit
case. When issues are raised on appeal as to the sufficiency
of the evidence and as to one or more trial errors, the
reviewing court should first determine the sufficiency of the
evidence. State v. Marcantel, 2000-1629, p. 8
(La.4/3/02), 815 So.2d 50, 55 (citing State v.
Hearold, 603 So.2d 731, 734 (La.1992)). This Court set
forth the applicable standard of review for sufficiency of
the evidence in State v. Huckaby, 2000-1082, p. 32
(La.App. 4 Cir. 2/6/02), 809 So.2d 1093, 1111, as follows:
In evaluating whether evidence is constitutionally sufficient
to support a conviction, an appellate court must determine
whether, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to
the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found
the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson
v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560
(1979); State v. Green, 588 So.2d 757 (La.App. 4
Cir.1991). However, the reviewing court may not disregard
this duty simply because the record contains evidence that
tends to support each fact necessary to constitute the crime.
State v. Mussall, 523 So.2d 1305 (La.1988). The
reviewing court must consider the record as a whole since
that is what a rational trier of fact would do. If rational
triers of fact could disagree as to the interpretation of the
evidence, the rational trier's view of all the evidence
most favorable to the prosecution must be adopted. The fact
finder's discretion will be impinged upon only to the
extent necessary to guarantee the fundamental protection of
due process of law. Mussall; Green;
supra. "[A] reviewing court is not called upon
to decide whether it believes the witnesses or whether the
conviction is contrary to the weight of the evidence."
State v. Smith, 600 So.2d 1319 (La.1992) at 1324.
Huckaby, 2000-1082, p. 32, 809 So.2d at 1111
(quoting State v. Ragas, 98-0011, p. 13 (La.App. 4
Cir. 7/28/99), 744 So.2d 99, 106, 107). The testimony of a
single witness, if believed by the trier of fact, is
sufficient to support a conviction. State v.
Wells, 2010-1338, p. 5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 3/30/11), 64
So.3d 303, 306. A factfinder's decision concerning the
credibility of a witness will not be disturbed unless it is
clearly contrary to the evidence. State v. James,
2009-1188, p. 4 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/24/10), 32 So.3d 993, 996.
Applying this standard, we will discuss each of the
convictions for which Lightfoot contends there is
crime of monetary instrument abuse requires the transfer of a
forged monetary instrument with the intent to deceive
another. The State submits that Lightfoot committed this
crime by negotiating Hawkins' tax refund check. La. R.S.
A. Whoever makes, issues, possesses, sells, or otherwise
transfers a counterfeit or forged monetary instrument of the
United States, a state, or a political subdivision thereof,
or of an organization, with intent to deceive another person,
shall be fined not more than one million dollars but not less
than five thousand dollars or imprisoned, with or without
hard labor, for not more than ten years but not less than six
months, or both.
B. Whoever makes, issues, possesses, sells, or otherwise
transfers an implement designed for or particularly suited
for making a counterfeit or forged monetary instrument with
the intent to deceive a person shall be fined not more than
one million dollars but not less than five thousand dollars,
or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than
ten years but not less than six months, or both.
element was established by the presentation and negotiating
of the tax refund check to Ms. Williams and signed by
Lightfoot, in her presence, in the name Hawkins. Thus, we
find the evidence submitted sufficient for the conviction of
monetary instrument abuse.
August 19, 2016, Lightfoot went to the Credit Union with an
ID and check representing himself as Hawkins. He intended to
open and was successful in opening, a bank account in a name
other than his own. La.
B.Issuing, transferring, or possessing with intent to
defraud, a forged writing, known by the offender to be a
forged writing, shall also constitute a violation ...