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State v. Lambert

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

March 27, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
NATHANIEL LAMBERT STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
NATHANIEL LAMBERT

          APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 387-752, SECTION "D" Honorable Paul A Bonin, Judge

          Leon Cannizzaro, District Attorney Scott G. Vincent, Assistant District Attorney, DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, ORLEANS PARISH, COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE/STATE OF LOUISIANA

          Sherry Watters, LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT, COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT/DEFENDANT.

          Court composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Tiffany G. Chase

          TIFFANY G. CHASE JUDGE.

         Nathaniel Lambert (hereinafter "Mr. Lambert") appeals the trial court's denial of his motion to quash, motion for discharge, and motion to reconsider sentencing pertaining to the resentencing of his convictions for aggravated rape and aggravated crime against nature. He asserts two counseled assignments of error. First, Mr. Lambert maintains the seventeen-year delay in resentencing is unreasonable, warranting a discharge of his convictions for aggravated rape and aggravated crime against nature. Second, he contends the sentences imposed are excessive.

         Additionally before us is Mr. Lambert's pro se writ, seeking review of the trial court's denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence - life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence - for his conviction of aggravated burglary enhanced by virtue of being adjudged a quadruple offender. We have consolidated this writ with this appeal.

         For the reasons that follow, we affirm Mr. Lambert's sentences and deny his writ.

         RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In 1997, Mr. Lambert was charged by grand jury indictment of aggravated rape (La. R.S. 14:42), aggravated burglary (La. R.S. 14:60), and aggravated crime against nature (La. R.S. 14:89.1).[1] A twelve-person jury found him guilty on all counts. Mr. Lambert was sentenced to life imprisonment without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence for the charge of aggravated rape; thirty years for the charge of aggravated burglary; and fifteen years for the charge of aggravated crime against nature. The State then filed a multiple bill on the aggravated burglary conviction. After a habitual offender hearing, the trial court vacated the thirty-year sentence and resentenced Mr. Lambert as a recidivist offender to life imprisonment. He appealed. This Court affirmed all of Mr. Lambert's convictions, but vacated the sentences on his convictions of aggravated rape and aggravated crime against nature, and remanded for resentencing because the trial court sentenced him prior to hearing his motion for new trial. Lambert, 1998-0730, p. 45, 749 So.2d at 767. Although the trial court ruled on other post-conviction relief, it never resentenced Mr. Lambert on his convictions for aggravated rape and aggravated crime against nature.

         In September 2017, Mr. Lambert filed a pro se motion to clarify sentences averring that his "RAP sheet" incorrectly reflected two life sentences and should be amended to only reflect the life sentence resulting from the enhanced sentence on aggravated burglary. The trial court denied the motion for clarification as premature and appointed Mr. Lambert counsel for a resentencing hearing.

         The resentencing hearing occurred on April 3, 2018. In conjunction with the hearing, Mr. Lambert filed a pro se motion to quash and pro se motion for discharge from custody based on the delay in resentencing. These motions were denied and the court resentenced Mr. Lambert to life imprisonment without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on the count of aggravated rape, and fifteen years on the count of aggravated crime against nature, with both sentences to run concurrently, with credit for time served. After his motion to reconsider the sentences was denied, Mr. Lambert timely appealed.

         After the appeal was lodged in this Court, Mr. Lambert filed a pro se motion in the trial court to correct his multiple offender sentence on the aggravated burglary conviction on the grounds of retroactive application of La. R.S. 15:308 and State ex rel. Esteen v. State, 2016-0949 (La. 1/30/18), 239 So.3d 233. The trial court denied the motion in a written ruling, finding Mr. Lambert would be ineligible for relief. Since he was resentenced to life imprisonment for the charge of aggravated rape, the retroactive application would not ameliorate his circumstances. La. R.S. 15:308(B). Mr. Lambert filed a pro se writ to this Court seeking supervisory review and further requesting a stay of his appeal or consolidation of his writ into his appeal. As disposition of this claim is germane to the appeal of his life sentence for aggravated rape, we ordered the writ to be consolidated with the instant appeal.

         STANDARD ...


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