APPLICATION FOR WRITS DIRECTED TO CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT
ORLEANS PARISH NO. 531-509, SECTION "G" Honorable
Dennis J. Waldron, Judge
A. Cannizzaro, Jr. District Attorney Scott G. Vincent
Assistant District Attorney COUNSEL FOR RELATOR, STATE OF
T. Fuller Marcus O. DeLarge John T. Fuller & Assoc, LLC
COUNSEL FOR RESPONDENT/DEFENDANT, DONOVAN ALEXANDER
composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay III, Judge Terri F.
Love, Judge Dale N. Atkins
F. LOVE, JUDGE
State of Louisiana seeks review of the trial court's
December 6, 2018 ruling granting defendant's motion to
suppress statement. The trial court found that questioning of
defendant should have ceased once his cousin, an attorney,
informed the police that he was there to serve as
that the right to counsel is invoked by a defendant.
Defendant freely and voluntarily signed the waiver of rights
form before giving his statement. Therefore, we find that the
trial court erred by granting the motion to suppress
statement. We grant the writ, reverse the trial court's
ruling, and remand for further proceedings.
Donovan Alexander, was charged by bill of information with
possession with intent to distribute heroin, a violation of
La. R.S. 40:966(A)(1) and illegally carrying a weapon with a
controlled dangerous substance, a violation of La. R.S.
14:95(E). Mr. Alexander entered a plea of not guilty and
filed a motion to suppress evidence, statement, and
identification along with a request for a preliminary
hearing. The trial court conducted a hearing on Mr.
Alexander's motion to suppress statement and preliminary
hearing. Following testimony and argument by counsel, the
trial court denied Mr. Alexander's motion to suppress
evidence and granted his motion to suppress statement. The
State's application for supervisory review followed.
BACKGROUND AND TESTIMONY
Roccaforte, a New Orleans Police Officer assigned to the Task
Force Office as DEA, testified he began investigating Mr.
Alexander in June of 2016, when he received information from
a confidential informant that Mr. Alexander was distributing
heroin in the New Orleans metro area. The CI informed Officer
Roccaforte that Mr. Alexander stored heroin and firearms at
8243 Curran in New Orleans, but lived in Kenner on Vintage
Drive. Extensive surveillance of Mr. Alexander was conducted.
21, 2016, the task force set up surveillance of the Vintage
Drive location. The task force acquired consent to search
that location. Two pounds of marijuana, a firearm, and
Carisoprodol pills were seized from the Vintage Drive
location, and Mr. Alexander was arrested.
Mr. Alexander's arrest, but on the same day, Officer
Roccaforte and a team of agents proceeded to 8243 Curran
Boulevard, a suspected "stash" house for Mr.
Alexander. Dontrell Minor, a female friend of Mr. Alexander,
opened the door and was extremely cooperative. Ms. Minor
consented to the search of the residence. Ms. Minor admitted
that Mr. Alexander stored narcotics and a firearm in the
bottom dresser drawer in her bedroom. When the drawer was
removed, Officer Roccaforte recovered a loaded firearm and an
STP oil can with a false bottom and a secret compartment.
When the STP can's false bottom was removed, Officer
Roccaforte recovered about eight grams of heroin. Packaging
material and a digital scale were also recovered from the
bedroom. As a result, an arrest warrant was prepared two days
later for possession with intent to distribute heroin and
possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance
for Mr. Alexander from Orleans Parish.
Agent Joseph Blackledge, DEA, testified that he was the agent
who arrested Mr. Alexander. Mr. Alexander was informed of his
rights in accordance with Miranda following his
arrest and once again before he was interviewed. Mr.
Alexander signed a form indicating he waived his rights and