Appeal from the The Juvenile Court In and for the Parish of
East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Trial Court No. JU112466
Honorable Anthony Graphia, Judge Presiding.
C. Moore, III District Attorney Otha Curtis Nelson, Jr. Dylan
C. Alge Baton Rouge, LA
Katherine M. Franks Louisiana Appellate Project Madisonville,
LA Attorney for Defendant -Appellant, J. S.
BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON, AND HIGGINBOTHAM, JJ.
J.S. was charged by petition in
juvenile court with accessory after the fact in the
commission of attempted first degree murder, a violation of
La. R.S. 14:30, La. R.S. 14:27, and La. R.S. 14:25 (count 1),
and illegal possession of a firearm by a juvenile, a
violation of La. R.S. 14:95.8 (count 2). J.S. denied the
allegations. J.S. filed motions to suppress and quash, which
the juvenile court ultimately dismissed as moot. At an
adjudication hearing, following the presentation of evidence,
the juvenile court adjudicated J.S. delinquent as charged on
both counts, and ordered a pre-disposition report. At the
disposition hearing, the juvenile court sentenced J.S. to
five years in the custody of the Department of Public Safety
and Corrections, and ordered that J.S. be placed in a
facility to address his needs. The juvenile court denied
J.S.'s post-verdict motion to vacate the adjudication
hearing. Although the minute extract indicated that J.S. was
sentenced to serve five years on count one, as well as five
years on count two to be served concurrently, on the signed
"Judgment/Commitment Order," the juvenile court
listed J.S.'s sentences to be five years on count 1 and
six months on count 2 to be served concurrently. J.S. now
appeals, designating three assignments of error. We affirm
the adjudications and judgment of dispositions.
was adduced at an adjudication hearing indicating that during
the evening of March 14, 2018, J.S. and some of his friends
approached another group of boys near a store in south Baton
Rouge. The victim M.R., testified that J.S.'s group went
by the name "BB-for-L," whereas he and his friends
went by the name of "FAN." M.R. first testified
that he saw one member from each group about to fight, but
then clarified that he was supposed to fight one of the boys
from "BB-for-L." Both M.R. and one of his friends
saw N.D., a member of "BB-for-L," pull out a gun,
and his friend alerted the rest of their group that N.D. had
a gun. M.R.'s group began running away, and as M.R. was
running, he realized that he had been shot in the shoulder
from behind. M.R. testified that he heard four shots. M.R.
identified J.S. in open court as one of the people present
that evening, and testified that J.S. was standing behind the
shooter. M.R. also noted that no one in his group had a gun,
and that everyone was in relatively close proximity to each
other when the shooting started, though he ran in a different
M.R.'s friends, D.B., also testified about that night.
D.B. was familiar with J.S. and N.D. He confirmed M.R.'s
version of the events, where some of the boys from
"BB-for-L" sought to fight two members of
"FAN." As they were about to fight, D.B. saw N.D.
fire a gun, identifying it by the "sparks." D.B.
testified that at that point, he fled because he did not want
to get shot. D.B. also heard four gunshots as he ran away.
D.B. explained that no one in their group had a gun. D.B.
identified J.S. as one of the members of "BB-for-L"
that was at the scene.
younger brother of D.B., also testified. His recollection was
not as clear as that of M.R. or D.B., but he did recall
seeing a firearm, running away, and hearing four shots. S.B.
said he saw N.D. hold the gun and pull the trigger.
Rouge Police Department Detective Joshua Brogan testified for
the State. Det. Brogan investigated the crime scene and
recovered four spent shell casings found in a line on the
street. Det. Brogan testified that in his experience, that
configuration indicated the shooter was moving either towards
or away from an intended target. Upon his arrival, uniformed
officers had already detained four victims at the scene, with
one more being transported to the hospital. While Det. Brogan
initially focused his investigation on N.D. as the
perpetrator, he later developed J.S. as a suspect and
interviewed him in the presence of J.S.'s mother. J.S.
indicated he understood his Miranda rights, and
waived them by signing a waiver form. The juvenile court
found J.S. knowingly and voluntarily waived his rights, and
without objection admitted his statement into evidence.
interview video, recorded on Det. Brogan's body camera
and played for the court, J.S. admitted that he stole the gun
from his sister's boyfriend, who lived in the same home.
J.S. said he stole the gun in anticipation of the fight and
that no one told him to bring one. The same firearm was
subsequently located in J.S.'s home pursuant to a search
warrant, and J.S. admitted it was the firearm used by N.D. in
the shooting. J.S. also admitted to running away after the
first two shots, but then stopping and waiting for N.D. to
catch up. After they met back up, N.D. gave the gun back to
J.S. to return it to the location from which he stole it.
J.S. testified that he moved it because he felt the police
would be looking for the gun soon. Det. Brogan testified that
J.S. did not contact the police to report an attempted
murder, but was instead only found after the detective
OF ERROR #1, #2: INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE
J.S.'s first two assignments of error, he contends that
the State presented insufficient evidence to find him
delinquent beyond a reasonable doubt of either charged
offense. With regards to the accessory after the fact charge,
J.S. posits that the State did not affirmatively establish
that he assisted N.D. evade arrest or conviction after N.D.
shot the gun four times at the fleeing boys. Moreover, J.S.
argues that the State did not establish beyond a reasonable
doubt that N.D. committed attempted first degree murder. As
for the possession of a firearm charge, J.S. asserts that
there was no independent evidence to support his conviction.
Specifically, and relative to both charges, J.S. claims
nothing was presented to the juvenile court in support of a
delinquency adjudication outside of his own uncorroborated
statement to Det. Brogan. Without more, J.S. concludes,
finding him delinquent on solely his ...