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State v. White

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

January 29, 2019



          Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Stephen J. Windhorst, and John J. Molaison, Jr.

         Relator, the State of Louisiana ("the State"), seeks review of the trial court's dismissal of an extradition proceeding against defendant, Eric Darnell White.

         Facts and Procedural History

         On November 8, 2017, St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office was dispatched to 2916 Cambridge Drive, in Laplace, in reference to a disturbance. While en route to this location, deputies encountered defendant, who was stopped in the roadway and flagged deputies down. Dispatch informed the deputies that defendant was involved in the disturbance at 2916 Cambridge Drive. While conducting an investigation, Deputy Jackson advised dispatch of defendant's name, date of birth, and the last four digits of his social security number. Dispatch performed an NCIC check and advised Deputy Jackson that defendant was wanted on a fugitive warrant from Florida for human trafficking of juveniles. Defendant was advised of his rights and arrested.

         On November 13, 2017, defendant appeared before the trial court for an extradition hearing. Defendant was given notice to appear for an extradition hearing on November 15, 2017.

         On November 15, 2017, defendant appeared with counsel before the trial court to address his fugitive warrant. The trial court ordered defendant to be released on a $7, 500 bond until the state of Florida produced the necessary extradition documents.

         On January 16, 2018, the state of Florida, Office of the Governor, sent extradition documents to the Louisiana for the return of defendant to Florida.

         On February 26, 2018, defendant appeared before the trial court on his scheduled appearance bond date to address his fugitive warrant. The trial court reset the matter to February 28, 2018, for an extradition hearing status. On February 28, 2018, the State submitted the governor's warrant to the trial court, defendant was remanded into custody, and defendant's bond was revoked. Defense counsel requested a full extradition hearing, which the trial court set for March 14, 2018.

         On March 14, 2018, defense counsel stipulated that defendant was the person identified in the extradition documents. Defense counsel argued that defendant should be discharged because: (1) the State did not timely move for extradition within ninety (90) days from defendant's arrest under La. C.Cr.P. art. 270;[1] and (2) the affidavit submitted in the extradition documents is insufficient as to form under La. C.Cr.P. art. 263. The State opposed, arguing that: (1) the extradition documents were sufficient under La. C.Cr.P. art. 263; (2) defendant does not meet the requirements for dismissal of the extradition proceedings under La. C.Cr.P. art. 268; (3) La. C.Cr.P. art. 267 contains the actual rights of an accused at an extradition hearing and the ninety-day period under La. C.Cr.P. art. 270 is not included; and (4) under La. C.Cr.P. art. 271, [2] a governor's warrant is presumed valid. Therefore, the State argued that defendant should be released to the state of Florida. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court took the matter under advisement.

         On March 19, 2018, the trial court rendered judgment dismissing the extradition proceeding and ordering defendant released from custody. The trial court stated:

Our review of the paperwork suggests that the State of Florida was aware of the 90 day time limitation. In its January 16, 2018 letter to the State of Louisiana, the Florida representative indicated in bold lettering, "90th day on or about: 2/6/2018." The Louisiana Governor's warrant was signed on February 6, 2018. It is unclear why it took the State of Florida nearly sixty-nine (69) days to forward the necessary paperwork - neither was any explanation offered why the state, upon receipt of the paperwork failed to present it until February 26, 2018. Furthermore, there is nothing in the record to indicate that the state made any attempt to notify the Court of its receipt of the extradition documents before February 26, 2018. In State v. Ross, the Court found that the State of Texas failed to present the necessary paperwork in the prescribed time. They specifically found that "the law does not permit the state to hold indefinitely over the head of any accused a threat of extradition, whether or not he is imprisoned, or out on bail." The Court notes that there is very little jurisprudence in this area, and no subsequent case law has held otherwise. Therefore, this Court finds that the extradition proceedings are untimely and must be dismissed and defendant released. (Footnotes and citations omitted.)

         On May 3, 2018, the State filed this writ application contending that the trial court abused its discretion and/or prejudiced the State by its dismissal of the ...

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