FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 526-408,
SECTION "J" Honorable Darryl A. Derbigny, Judge
A. Cannizzaro District Attorney Donna R. Andrieu Assistant
District Attorney Irena Zajickova Assistant District Attorney
COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT
Zagory ORLEANS PUBLIC DEFENDERS COUNSEL FOR
composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Edwin A.
Lombard, Judge Rosemary Ledet
A. LOMBARD JUDGE
State appeals the district court judgment granting the
defendant's motion to quash. After review of the record
in light of the applicable law and arguments of the parties,
the judgment of the district court is reversed.
Facts and Procedural History
September 22, 2015, the State filed a bill of information
charging Ms. Ferguson with two counts of theft: Count I
charged Ms. Ferguson with theft in an amount "less than
fifteen hundred dollars" belonging to Philip Cooper with
the intent to permanently deprive Mr. Cooper of said
property;" and Count II charged Ms. Ferguson with theft
in an "amount less than fifteen hundred dollars
belonging to Total Community Action Credit Union (TCACU) with
the intent to permanently deprive TCACU of said property. No
bill of particulars was requested or filed.
arraignment on November 9, 2015, Ms. Ferguson pleaded not
guilty. She filed the motion to quash the bill of information
on August 14, 2018. On August 31, 2018, after a hearing, the
district court found that based on the undisputed facts in
the case and citing La. Code Crim. Proc. art. 532(A)(8), it
lacked the jurisdiction to resolve the matter which was, in
essence, a civil contract dispute. Pursuant to the
jurisprudence in New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Found.,
Inc. v. Kriskey, 2009-1433, p. 13 (La.App. 4 Cir.
5/26/10) 40 So.3d 394, 403, the district court found that Ms.
Ferguson had no personal liability for the legal obligations
of Knowledge Speaks, the company to which the Coopers paid
State appeals this judgment.
decision by a district court to grant or deny a motion to
quash is "solely a question of law" and, therefore,
reviewed de novo. State v. Ancalade,
14-0739, p. 10 (La.App. 4 Cir. 1/14/15), 158 So.3d 891, 897
(citation omitted). When reviewing de novo, this
court does not defer to any factual findings made by the
district court." Id.
motion to quash is a procedure by which to raise pre-trial
defenses that do not go to the merit of the charge. State
v. Petitto, 10-0581, p. 4 (La. 3/15/11), 59 So.3d 1245,
1248. "[F]actual defenses going to the merits of the
charge are not proper grounds to be considered when deciding
a motion to ...