APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 16-6893, DIVISION
"M" HONORABLE HENRY G. SULLIVAN, JR., JUDGE
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Anne M. Wallis Douglas W.
Freese Lindsay L. Truhe
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, RONJI J. JENKINS, JR.
Cynthia K. Meyer
composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Marc E.
Johnson, and Robert A. Chaisson
A. CHAISSON JUDGE.
Ronji Jenkins, Jr., appeals his conviction and sentence for
obscenity. The sole issue raised on appeal is whether the
trial court abused its discretion in allowing the admission
of other crimes evidence at trial. While we agree with
defendant's argument that the evidence was improperly
admitted, we find that its admission was harmless and does
not require reversal of defendant's conviction.
Accordingly, for the reasons that follow, we affirm
defendant's conviction and sentence and remand the matter
for the correction of the uniform commitment order as noted
November 28, 2016, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney
filed a bill of information charging defendant with
obscenity, in violation of La. R.S. 14:106. Defendant pled
not guilty at his arraignment, and the matter subsequently
proceeded to trial before a six-person jury on January 3,
2018. After considering the evidence presented, the jury
found defendant guilty as charged. On March 5, 2018, the
trial court denied defendant's motion for new trial, and
after a waiver of delays, sentenced defendant to three years
imprisonment at hard labor.
on March 8, 2018, the court conducted a hearing on the
multiple offender bill of information previously filed by the
State. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court
found defendant to be a third felony offender, vacated
defendant's original sentence, and sentenced him,
pursuant to La. R.S. 15:529.1, to six years imprisonment in
the custody of the Department of Corrections without benefit
of probation or suspension of sentence. Defendant now
present case, the bill of information alleged that defendant
committed obscenity by exposing his genitals in the Jefferson
Parish Correctional Center. Two different versions of this
incident were presented at trial.
to Yashonda Lee, a correctional officer at the Jefferson
Parish Correctional Center, she saw defendant masturbating on
October 27, 2016, which was her first day on the job. Officer
Lee explained that on the morning of the incident, she was
inside the guard booth and was able to see defendant's
cell from her location. As she was visually surveying the pod
area, she felt someone staring at her. Officer Lee looked up
and observed defendant standing between his toilet and the
end of his bunk "stroking his fully eject [sic] penis in
an up and down motion and looking, like literally staring me
down." Officer Lee gestured towards defendant to stop;
however, defendant continued masturbating while looking at
her testimony, Officer Lee confirmed that defendant was not
attempting to hide his genitals from view in any way, that it
was no accident that she was able to see him masturbate, and
that she found defendant's actions offensive. Officer Lee
explained that she reported the occurrence to the officer in
charge of her training, who called the incident in but did
not turn around to see what defendant was doing. By the time
the officers responded to defendant's cell, he had pulled
up his jumpsuit and was in his bed as if nothing had
contrast to the testimony of Officer Lee, defendant denied
masturbating in front of her. Rather, defendant explained
that he woke up with a semi-erect penis and proceeded to the
toilet to urinate. Defendant acknowledged that he and Officer
Lee could see each other while he was standing at the toilet
but insisted he was not watching her and did not make eye
contact. After he was finished urinating, he had "to
shake [his penis] before" he "put it up." ...