FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 443-175,
SECTION "B" Honorable Tracey Flemings-Davillier,
Cannizzaro District Attorney David S. Pipes, Jr. Assistant
District Attorney DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, ORLEANS
PARISH COUNSEL FOR THE STATE OF LOUISIANA
S. Ibrahim, Esq. IBRAHIM & ASSOCIATES, LLC COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Rosemary Ledet,
Judge Tiffany G. Chase.
A. Lombard Judge.
defendant, Rudy Francis, challenges his 2010 conviction for
manslaughter in this out-of-time appeal. After review in
light of the applicable law and arguments of the parties, we
affirm the defendant's conviction and sentence.
Facts and Procedural History
August 9, 2000, Larry Lawrence was murdered. On October 3,
2003, the defendant was indicted and charged with second
degree murder, a violation of La. Rev. Stat. 14:30.1. He
pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on December 9, 2001.
After two mistrials, he was found guilty of manslaughter by a
unanimous jury on September 16, 2010. He was sentenced to
twenty-five years at hard labor with credit for time served.
On appeal, this court affirmed his conviction and sentence.
State v. Francis, unpub. 2011-1082 (La.App. 4 Cir.
11/7/12), 103 So.3d 746, writ denied, 2012-2575 (La.
5/3/13), 113 So.3d 209.
defendant applied for post-conviction relief on May 1, 2014,
claiming actual innocence and that both his trial and
appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance. The
district court summarily denied the application and this
court subsequently denied the defendant's writ
application pertaining to that decision. State v.
Francis, unpub. 2015-1215 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/24/15). The
Louisiana Supreme Court granted writs in part and remanded
the matter to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing on
the defendant's claim of ineffective assistance based on
appellate counsel's failure to challenge the sufficiency
of the evidence and the excessiveness of his sentence.
State v. Francis, 2016-0513 (La. 5/19/17), 220 So.3d
remand, the State and the defendant agreed to an out-of-time
appeal in lieu of an evidentiary hearing. This appeal
Rev. Stat. 14:31(A)(1) provides, in pertinent part, that
manslaughter is a murder under either La. Rev. Stat. 14:30,
first degree murder, or La. Rev. Stat. 14:30.1, second degree
murder, but the offense is committed in sudden passion or
heat of blood.
Rev. Stat. 14:20(A) states that a homicide is justifiable
"when committed in self-defense by one who reasonably
believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or
receiving great bodily harm and that the killing is necessary
to save himself from that danger." There are two
components necessary to invoke self-defense under Article
20(A): (1) the defendant's reasonable belief that he is
in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great
bodily harm; and (2) the killing of the other person is
necessary to save himself from that danger. When a defendant
in a homicide prosecution claims self-defense, the burden is
on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
the defendant did not act in self-defense. State v.
Miller, 2014-0406, pp. 19-20 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2/25/15),
160 So.3d 1069, 1082-1083.
defendant asserts that he acted in self-defense and his
action resulted in a homicide, it is undisputed that the
burden is on the State to establish beyond a reasonable doubt
that the defendant did not act in self-defense. State v.
Lynch, 436 So.2d 567, 569 (1983) (thus, the "issue
is whether, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable
to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have
found beyond a reasonable doubt that the homicide was not
committed in self-defense"); see also State v.
Patterson, 295 So.2d 792, 794 (it is well-settled that
the defendant in homicide prosecution asserts he acted in
self-defense, the burden is on the State to prove that the
defendant otherwise). Where there was contradictory testimony
as to essential facts, the State failed to meet its burden of
disproving the defendant's self-defense claim. State
v. Fenner, 1994-1498, p 8 (La.App. 4 Cir. 11/16/95), 664
So.2d 1315, 1320.
of the Evidence
to Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979), this
court must determine that the evidence, viewed in the light
most favorable to the prosecution, "was sufficient to
convince a rational trier of fact that all the elements of
the crime had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt."
State v. Neal, 00-0674, p. 9 (La. 6/29/01), 796
So.2d 649, 657 (citations omitted). When circumstantial
evidence is used to prove the commission of an offense,
"assuming every fact proved that the evidence tends to
prove, in order to convict, it must exclude every reasonable
hypothesis of innocence." La. Rev. Stat. 15:438. This
statutory test (of La. Rev. Stat. 15:438) "works with
the Jackson constitutional sufficiency test to
evaluate whether all the evidence, direct and circumstantial,
is sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to a
rational jury." Neal, 00-0674, p. 9, 796 So.2d
at 657 (citation omitted). It is not a separate test from the
Jackson reasonable doubt standard but, rather, it is
an evidentiary guideline to facilitate appellate review of
whether a rational juror could have found a defendant guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Wright, 445
So.2d 1198, 1201 (La.1984).
finder'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.