FROM THE THIRTY-FIFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
GRANT, NO. 17-145 HONORABLE WARREN DANIEL WILLETT, DISTRICT
James P. Lemoine District Attorney, 35th JDC Renee W. Nugent
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
K. Bauman Louisiana Appellate Project COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT: Stephen Lloyd Mock
composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, John E. Conery, and Candyce
G. Perret, Judges.
CANDYCE G. PERRET JUDGE.
Stephen Lloyd Mock, appeals his conviction of one count of
sexual battery, a violation of La.R.S. 14:43.1. Because we
find that the district court lacked jurisdiction over
Defendant, we hereby vacate Defendant's conviction and
sentence for sexual battery and remand this matter to the
trial court for further proceedings.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
February 15, 2017, Defendant was charged by bill of
information with two counts of sexual battery, violations of
La.R.S. 14:43.1. On March 31, 2017, an amended bill of
information was filed, charging Defendant with fifteen counts
of sexual battery, violations of La.R.S. 14:43.1. After
waiving his right to a trial by jury, Defendant was tried by
a judge on January 25, 2018, and found guilty of one count of
sexual battery of H.L., a victim that had not obtained the
age of fifteen and was at least three years younger than
Defendant. Defendant was also found to be sixteen or younger
when he committed the offense.
the trial court specifically found Defendant committed the
sexual battery when he was sixteen, the trial court found
Defendant must be sentenced in accordance with the
Children's Code to the Department of Public Safety until
his twenty-first birthday. Based on a motion to reconsider
sentence filed by the State, the trial court reconsidered the
sentence and found Defendant could be sentenced to the amount
of time he would have served as a juvenile up to his
twenty-first birthday (up to five years). Subsequently, on
March 29, 2018, the trial court sentenced Defendant to four
years at hard labor. The trial court also ordered Defendant
to pay court costs and a fee of $1250.00 to the Public
Defender's Office. The trial court notified Defendant of
his obligation to register as a sex offender upon his release
from incarceration. Finally, the trial court ordered
Defendant to have no contact with the victim or the
victim's parents until the victim turned eighteen.
April 18, 2018, Defendant filed a motion for appeal, which
was granted by the trial court that same date. Defendant now
appeals alleging one assignment of error as to the
sufficiency of the evidence.
accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are
reviewed for errors patent on the face of the record. After
reviewing the record, we find there is an error patent
requiring Defendant's conviction be vacated and declared
a nullity for lack of jurisdiction.
was originally charged with two counts of sexual battery
committed in September 2014. Since Defendant's date of
birth is December 18, 1996, Defendant would have been
seventeen at the time of the charged offenses and, thus,
subject to jurisdiction in district court. See
La.Ch.Code art. 804(1)(a) and La.Ch.Code art. 303(A)(1).
However, the State filed an amended bill of information
charging Defendant with committing fifteen counts of sexual
battery between October 2012 and September 2014. Considering
Defendant's date of birth, Defendant would have been
under seventeen during a portion of the date range charged in
the bill. In fact, the trial court found Defendant guilty of
one count of sexual battery and found Defendant was sixteen
or younger when he committed the offense. As pointed out by
Defendant's trial counsel, sexual battery is not an
offense for which jurisdiction over a juvenile offense may be
transferred to district court. La.Ch.Code arts. 305 and 857.
Defense counsel argued at sentencing that because the trial
court found Defendant was a juvenile when he committed the
offense, the trial court lost jurisdiction to impose
sentence. The trial court, however, found that jurisdiction
was proper in the district court under the following
(2) An adult who is charged with an offense committed at the
time he was a child for which the time limitation for the
institution of prosecution pursuant to Code of Criminal
Procedure Article 571 has not lapsed and for which he was not
subject to prosecution as an adult due to his age at the time
the offense was committed shall be prosecuted as an adult in
the appropriate court exercising criminal jurisdiction. If
convicted, he shall be committed to the custody of the
Department of Public Safety and Corrections to be confined in
secure placement for a period of time as determined by the
court not to exceed the maximum amount of confinement he
could have been ordered to serve had he been adjudicated for
the offense as a child at the time the offense was committed.
La.Ch.Code art. 857(C)(2).
trial court explained its ...