APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 97-6378, DIVISION
"F" HONORABLE MICHAEL P. MENTZ, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D.
Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Darren A. Allemand
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, THEODORE MATHIS Bruce G.
composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and
Hans J. Liljeberg
J. LILJEBERG JUDGE.
appeals his 99-year sentence as a fourth felony offender,
which was imposed when he was resentenced pursuant to the
ruling in State ex rel. Esteen v. State, 16-949 (La.
1/30/18), 239 So.3d 233. For the following reasons, we affirm
defendant's sentence, as amended, and we remand for
correction of the uniform commitment order.
OF THE CASE
March of 1998, defendant was convicted by a jury on two
counts of armed robbery in violation of La. R.S. 14:64. He
was sentenced on each count to imprisonment at hard labor for
99 years without the benefit of parole, probation, or
suspension of sentence, to run concurrently. After the State
filed a multiple bill and the trial court found defendant to
be a fourth-felony offender, the trial court vacated
defendant's sentence on count one and resentenced him
under the multiple bill statute to life imprisonment at hard
labor without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension
of sentence. Defendant filed an appeal.
of 1999, this Court affirmed defendant's convictions and
sentences. The Louisiana Supreme Court thereafter denied
writs. See State v. Mathis, 99-137 (La.App. 5 Cir.
6/1/99), 739 So.2d 1029 (unpublished opinion), writ
denied, 99-2056 (La. 1/7/00), 752 So.2d 176. In the
years that followed, defendant filed numerous post-conviction
relief applications and motions to correct illegal sentence
that were denied by the trial court and by this Court.
April 24, 2018, defendant filed another pro se
motion to correct illegal sentence. In this motion, defendant
asserted that under Esteen, supra, he was
entitled to be resentenced under the more lenient penalty
provisions enacted by 2001 La. Acts 403, which reduced the
sentencing range for a fourth-felony offender under certain
circumstances from a life sentence to "a determinate
term not less than the longest prescribed for a first
conviction but in no event less than twenty years and not
more than his natural life."
State filed a response to the motion, in which it conceded
that defendant was entitled to be resentenced under the
ameliorative changes to the law enacted in Act No. 403 of
2001, but it argued that he was not entitled to be
resentenced under any newer changes to the law. The State
argued that the minimum sentence to which defendant could be
resentenced was 99 years.
August 30, 2018, at the hearing on the motion to correct
illegal sentence, defense counsel argued that under
Esteen, supra, defendant was entitled to be
resentenced. She also argued that under State v.
Dorthey, 623 So.2d 1276 (La. 1993), the trial court
should deviate from the mandatory minimum 99-year enhanced
sentence and resentence defendant to a lesser sentence. She
noted that defendant had obtained several certificates and
completed numerous programs while incarcerated. Defense
counsel also pointed out that defendant's family had
residency and employment plans in place for defendant should
he be released. She stated that a 99-year sentence would be
unconstitutionally excessive, given that defendant had made a
complete transformation while incarcerated.
counsel's argument, defendant addressed the court,
stating that he had been "foolish" and had hurt a
lot of people but that he was a changed man. Defendant
asserted that he was 61 years old and had lost many family
members while incarcerated. He further asserted that his life
had changed, that he wanted to give back to society, and that
he wanted to become a productive person.
defendant's statement, the trial court granted the motion
to correct illegal sentence, vacated its "earlier"
sentence, and resentenced him to imprisonment at hard labor
for 99 years without the benefit of parole, probation, or
suspension of sentence. The trial judge also commended
defendant for the work and service he had done at Angola.
counsel then argued that defendant was entitled to parole
eligibility under La. R.S. 15:529.1. The State replied that
defendant's sentence should be without the benefit of
parole because any sentence on the multiple bill must have
the same restrictions as the underlying offense, which in the
instant case was armed robbery. After hearing the arguments
of counsel, the trial judge found that defendant was entitled
to parole eligibility under the multiple offender statute,
and he ordered the enhanced sentence to be served without the
benefit of probation or suspension of sentence. For
clarification, the trial court then stated that it was
vacating the life sentence on count one and resentencing
defendant as a fourth-felony offender to 99 years
imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of probation
or suspension of sentence, to run concurrently with his
sentence on ...