APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 15-6469, 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
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, RONALD J. BOWMAN Prentice L.
composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Jude G.
Gravois, and Marc E. Johnson
E. JOHNSON, JUDGE
appeals his conviction and sentence for aggravated burglary
on the basis his guilty plea was constitutionally infirm
given the absence of a factual basis for his plea and his
proclamation of innocence. For the reasons that follow, we
December 1, 2015, Defendant, Ronald Bowman, and two
co-defendants were charged in a bill of information with
aggravated burglary. Defendant initially pled not guilty and
filed several pre-trial motions, including motions to
suppress evidence, statement and
identification. On August 10, 2016, Defendant withdrew his
not guilty plea and pled guilty as charged. In accordance
with the plea agreement, the trial court sentenced Defendant
to 15 years imprisonment at hard labor to run concurrently
with any other sentence he was currently serving, and the
State agreed not to file a multiple offender bill of
information against Defendant.
subsequently filed an application for post-conviction relief,
which was dismissed in favor of an out-of-time appeal. In his
sole assignment of error on appeal, Defendant argues that his
guilty plea is constitutionally infirm and should be set
aside on the basis that the record is void of a factual basis
upon which his plea was based. He maintains that the only
reference to the facts of this case are from the victim
impact statement given by the victim's son prior to the
imposition of his sentence. Defendant points out that during
the son's statement, he interjected and proclaimed that
he "did not do it," which he contends put the trial
court on notice that he was coerced into pleading guilty. As
such, he seeks to withdraw his guilty plea and have the
matter remanded for a jury trial.
defendant does not have an absolute right to withdraw a
guilty plea. State v. Williams, 18-71 (La.App. 5
Cir. 7/31/18); 251 So.3d 1250, 1256. Under La. C.Cr.P. art.
559(A), the trial court may permit a defendant to withdraw
his guilty plea at any time before he is sentenced. However,
once a defendant is sentenced, only those guilty pleas that
are constitutionally infirm may be withdrawn by appeal or
post-conviction relief. Williams, supra. A guilty
plea is constitutionally infirm if it is not entered freely
and voluntarily, if the Boykin colloquy is
inadequate, or when a defendant is induced to enter the plea
by a plea bargain or what he justifiably believes was a plea
bargain and that bargain is not kept. Id.
guilty plea normally waives all non-jurisdictional defects in
the proceedings leading up to the guilty plea and precludes
review of such defects by either appeal or post-conviction
relief. State v. Dadney, 14-511 (La.App. 5 Cir.
12/16/14); 167 So.3d 55, 59, writ denied, 15-90 (La.
10/30/15); 179 So.3d 614. Such a plea waives any right a
defendant might have had to question the merits of the
State's case and the factual basis underlying the
conviction. State v. Hayes, 15-141 (La.App. 5 Cir.
8/25/15); 173 So.3d 1222, 1224, writ denied, 15-1789
(La. 9/23/16); 200 So.3d 364.
law does not require that a guilty plea be accompanied by a
recitation of the factual basis for the crime. State v.
Autin, 09-995 (La.App. 5 Cir. 4/27/10); 40 So.3d 193,
196, writ denied, 10-1154 (La. 12/10/10); 51 So.3d
725. "[T]he due process clause imposes no constitutional
duty on state trial judges to ascertain a factual basis prior
to accepting a guilty plea….Louisiana law, unlike
[federal law] has no statutory provision requiring
accompaniment of a guilty plea by the recitation of a factual
basis." State v. Wynne, 40, 921 (La.App. 2 Cir.
4/12/06); 926 So.2d 789, 796 (internal citations omitted).
Due process requires a finding of a significant factual basis
for a defendant's guilty plea only when a defendant
proclaims his innocence or when the trial court is otherwise
put on notice that there is a need for an inquiry into the
factual basis. Autin, supra at 196-97;
State v. Brooks, 38, 963 (La.App. 2 Cir. 9/22/04);
882 So.2d 724, 730, writ denied, 04-2634 (La.
2/18/05); 896 So.2d 30.
accompanied by a claim of innocence is an
Alford plea and puts the trial court on notice
that it must ascertain a factual basis to support the plea.
State v. Orman, 97-2089 (La. 1/9/98); 704 So.2d 245
(per curiam). In a case involving a bona fide
Alford plea, the record must contain "strong
evidence of actual guilt." Alford, 400 U.S. at
38, 91 S.Ct. at 167. This Court has recognized that where
there is an Alford plea, "constitutional due
process requires that the record contain 'strong evidence
of actual guilt.'" State v. Nelson, 17-650
(La.App. 5 Cir. 5/23/18); 248 So.3d 683, 686 n.7; State
v. Bailey, 94-76 (La.App. 5 Cir. 6/28/94); 639 So.2d
Defendant did not enter an Alford plea, but rather
entered an unqualified guilty plea. Specifically, at no time
during the plea colloquy did Defendant assert his innocence
or specify that he was making a qualified plea under
Alford. Thus, the trial court was not put on notice
that there was a need for a factual basis before accepting
Defendant's guilty plea.
review of the record demonstrates that Defendant was aware he
was pleading guilty to aggravated burglary. During the plea
colloquy with the trial judge, and in the waiver of rights
form, Defendant was advised of his right to a jury trial, his
right to confrontation, and his privilege against
self-incrimination and that he was waiving those rights by
pleading guilty. Defendant verbally acknowledged his
understanding of these rights and his waiver of them during
the plea colloquy. Additionally, ...