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Melancon v. State

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

July 22, 2019

RAYMOND MELANCON
v.
STATE OF LOUISIANA IN RE RAYMOND MELANCON

          APPLYING FOR SUPERVISORY WRIT FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA, DIRECTED TO THE HONORABLE SCOTT U.SCHLEGEL, DIVISION "D", NUMBER 12-5762

          Panel composed of Judges Stephen J. Windhorst, Hans J. Liljeberg, and Timothy S. Marcel, Pro Tempore

         WRIT DENIED IN PART AND GRANTED IN PART FOR THE LIMITED PURPOSE OF REMAND WITH INSTRUCTIONS TO CORRECT 10/1/14 SENTENCING MINUTE ENTRY AND UNIFORM COMMITMENT ORDER

         Relator, Raymond Melancon, seeks review of the trial court's March 18, 2019 Order denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence. Relator argues that the trial court sentenced him to 40 years imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence as a third felony offender. He contends that neither Louisiana's habitual offender law, La. R.S. 15:529.1, nor the sentencing provision for the underlying offense, distribution of heroin (La. R.S. 40:966(A)) contain a parole restriction. For the reasons stated more fully below, we deny relator's writ application in part and grant in part for the limited purpose of remand with instructions to the trial court to correct the October 1, 2014 sentencing minute entry and uniform commitment order as explained below.

         On December 5, 2013, relator was convicted by a jury of distribution of heroin (Count 2), possession with the intent to distribute heroin (Count 3), both in violation of La. R.S. 40:966A, and convicted felon in possession of a weapon in violation of La. R.S. 14:95.1 (Count 4). The trial court sentenced relator to 30 years imprisonment at hard labor each for the distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin charges, with the first 5 years of each sentence to be served without the benefit of probation or suspension of sentence.[1] The district court also sentenced relator to 20 years imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of probation, parole and suspension of sentence for the convicted felon in possession of a firearm charge. The district court ordered all of these sentences to run concurrently. The State filed a multiple offender bill with respect to Count 2 and relator was adjudicated a third felony offender on January 15, 2014. The trial court vacated the 30-year sentence and resentenced relator to 40 years imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of probation or suspension of sentence to run concurrent with all other sentences.[2]

         This Court affirmed relator's convictions and sentences on appeal. State v. Melancon, 14-221 (La.App. 5 Cir. 9/24/14), 151 So.3d 100, writ denied, 14-2161 (La. 5/22/15), 170 So.3d 982. However, this Court remanded the matter to the trial court to correct the Uniform Commitment Order ("UCO") because it contained an incorrect date of offense for Count 4 and also listed an incorrect adjudication date for all offenses.

         On October 1, 2014, the trial court amended the sentencing minute entry to correct the adjudication date and the UCO to correct the offense date and adjudication date. However, these documents both stated that relator's 40-year enhanced sentence on Count 2 was now without the benefit of "parole, probation or suspension of sentence."

         On March 1, 2019, relator filed a motion to correct illegal sentence alleging that his 40-year enhanced sentence imposed on Count 2 was illegal because it was without the benefit of parole. On March 18, 2019, the trial court denied relator's motion noting that in our opinion affirming relator's convictions and sentences, the Fifth Circuit stated that with respect to his enhanced sentence on Count 2, relator was sentenced "under La. R.S. 15:529.1 to 40 years at hard labor without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence." The trial court also stated that the "commitment order" did not include a parole restriction.

         On May 31, 2019, relator filed a writ of mandamus with this Court asking that we direct the trial court to rule on his motion to correct illegal sentence. In our June 20, 2019 ruling (Case No. 19-KH-258), this Court noted that the trial court previously ruled on relator's motion on March 18, 2019. However, the trial court served relator at the Louisiana State Prison in Angola, La, when relator was currently serving his sentence at Raymond Laborde Correctional Center. Therefore, this Court granted the writ of mandamus for the limited purpose of directing the trial court to serve relator at his current location.

         On July 3, 2019, relator filed the instant writ application alleging the trial court erred by denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence because it improperly included a parole restriction on his 40-year enhanced sentence on Count 2. As noted above, the trial court did not include a parole restriction when it imposed the 40-year enhanced sentence on Count 2 on January 15, 2014. Therefore, relator's sentence is not illegal and we deny relator's writ application with respect to this issue.

         However, according to the official record, after receiving this Court's instructions to correct the UCO in State v. Melancon, supra, the trial court signed an amended minute entry and UCO, which both incorrectly included a parole restriction on relator's 40-year enhanced sentence on Count 2. Therefore, we grant relator's writ application for the limited purpose of remanding the matter and ordering the trial court to correct the October 1, 2014 minute entry and UCO to remove the parole restriction on relator's 40-year sentence on Count 2 imposed under La. R.S. 15:529.1. We further direct the Clerk of Court to transmit the original of the amended UCO to the officer in charge of the institution to which defendant has been sentenced and the Department of Corrections' legal department.

         HJL

         SJW

...


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