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State v. Hickman

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

January 30, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
RYAN O HICKMAN

          APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 522-295, SECTION "A" Honorable Laurie A. White, Judge

          Leon Cannizzaro District Attorney Donna Andrieu Irena Zajickova Assistant District Attorney Orleans Parish COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE/STATE OF LOUISIANA

          Mary Constance Hanes Louisiana Appellate Project P. O. Box COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT

          Court composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Tiffany G. Chase

          ROLAND L. BELSOME JUDGE

         The defendant, Ryan Hickman, is appealing the twenty years sentence imposed by the trial court after finding him a fourth felony offender. For the following reasons the sentence is affirmed.

         Statement of Facts

         On April 30, 2013, New Orleans Police Officer Walter Edmond and his partner, Officer Devon Ashmore, were on active patrol on Jackson Avenue in New Orleans. At that time, their attention was drawn to a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on Simon Bolivar Avenue approaching Jackson Avenue. Officer Edmond noticed that the vehicle ran the red light. Thereafter, the officers observed the vehicle make a U-turn at Josephine Street and Simon Bolivar Avenue and drive back toward Jackson Avenue. The officers turned on their lights and siren attempting to make a traffic stop. The vehicle picked up speed, drove down Jackson Avenue, and turned onto Freret Street. After a car chase, during which the vehicle exceeded sixty miles per hour, the officers chose to disengage their pursuit in the interest of public safety and lost sight of the vehicle.

         Later, the officers learned that the vehicle had crashed into two parked cars and had come to rest on a sidewalk at the intersection of Freret and Toledano Streets. At the scene, the officers found Mr. Hickman slumped over and helped him out of his wrecked vehicle. EMS transported him to the hospital for observation. Officer Edmonds then searched Mr. Hickman's vehicle and discovered, a plastic bag of marijuana on the floorboard by the driver's seat and two Xanax pills on the passenger seat.

         Mr. Hickman was charged with six traffic violations in addition to charges of possession of marijuana second offense, possession of alprazolam and aggravated resisting arrest.[1]

         Procedural History

         Mr. Hickman was convicted by a jury of flight from an officer[2] and possession of marijuana second offense.[3] The State then filed a multiple bill of information, alleging that Mr. Hickman was a fourth felony offender, predicating the multiple offender bill on three prior convictions: (1) aggravated assault of a peace officer and attempted possession of a firearm by a felon, to which Mr. Hickman pled guilty; (2) attempted possession of a firearm by a felon, to which Mr. Hickman pled guilty; and (3) a second attempted possession of a firearm charge to which Mr. Hickman pled guilty.

         At the multiple bill hearing, the trial court found Mr. Hickman to be a second felony offender, rather than a fourth felony offender as argued by the State. Then, the State noticed its intent to seek supervisory writs of the trial court's finding that the appellant was a second felony offender.[4] On December 21, 2016, this Court reversed the trial court's ruling on the multiple bill, and found the appellant to be a fourth felony offender and remanded the case for further proceedings, noting that its decision did not preclude the appellant from seeking a downward departure from the statutory minimum sentence.[5] Mr. Hickman filed a writ with the Louisiana Supreme Court, which was denied. However, Justice Crichton wrote separately to acknowledge that the violation of possession of marijuana second offense had been reduced from a felony offense to a misdemeanor and that under the right facts a downward departure is appropriate for certain non-violent offenses.[6]

         On remand, the State filed a sentencing memorandum requesting that Mr. Hickman be sentenced to serve forty years with the Department of Corrections as a quadruple felony offender, noting that the appellant had six prior felony convictions and was awaiting disposition of charges of second degree murder and obstruction of justice. Attached to the State's memorandum was a copy of Mr. Hickman's rap sheet, a copy of the arrest ...


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