FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 528-098,
SECTION "J" Honorable Darryl A. Derbigny, Judge.
Cannizzaro, District Attorney Donna Andrieu, Assistant
District Attorney Scott G. Vincent, Assistant District
Attorney DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE ORLEANS PARISH
COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT/THE STATE OF LOUISIANA .
Matthew S. Vogel ORLEANS PUBLIC DEFENDERS Cesar R. Burgos
Robert J. Daigre Gabriel O. Mondino George M. McGregor BURGOS
& ASSOCIATES, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR APPELLEES/DEFENDANTS.
composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Rosemary Ledet,
Judge Tiffany G. Chase
Rosemary Ledet Judge.
a criminal appeal. The State of Louisiana seeks review of the
district court's judgment granting the defendants'
motion to quash. For the reasons that follow, we reverse and
February 5, 2016, the State filed a bill of information
jointly charging Colleen Brown, Joseph Livaccari, Tiffany
Brown, and Chester Brown with one count of "commit[ing]
insurance fraud by presenting a written or oral statement
and/or conspiracy, knowing that such statement contained any
false, incomplete, or fraudulent information concerning any
fact or thing material to such claim," a violation of
La. R.S. 22:1921, et seq. (the "Insurance Fraud
Statute"). After arraignment, each of the defendants
filed a motion to quash the bill of
information. Ultimately, the district court granted the
motion. This appeal followed.
sole assignment of error, the State contends that the
district court erred in granting the motion to quash. "A
motion to quash is a mechanism whereby pre-trial pleas are
urged, i.e., pleas which do not go to the merits of
the charge." State v. Marcelin, 13-0893, p. 3
(La.App. 4 Cir. 12/18/13), 131 So.3d 427, 430 (quotation
marks omitted). "All pleas or defenses raised before
trial, other than mental incapacity to proceed, or pleas of
'not guilty' and of 'not guilty and not guilty by
reason of insanity,' shall be urged by a motion to
quash." La. C.Cr.P. art. 531. The available grounds for
a motion to quash are listed in La. C.Cr.P. art. 532 and 534.
These lists, however, "are merely illustrative";
thus, "motions not based on the grounds therein should
not be automatically denied." Marcelin,
13-0893, p. 4 (La.App. 4 Cir. 12/18/13), 131 So.3d at 430.
the defendants' motion to quash recited three grounds,
motion, in substance, asserted only two grounds: (1) pursuant
to La. C.Cr.P. art. 532(2),  that the bill of information is
deficient; and (2) pursuant to La. C.Cr.P. art. 532(8),
that the district court lacks jurisdiction over this case. We
address each substantive ground separately.
the defendants cited La. C.Cr.P. art. 532(2), the motion to
quash fails to identify any cognizable formal deficiency in
the bill of information. Nonetheless, the motion to quash
asserts a substantive deficiency-that the bill of information
fails to allege that any of the defendants ever presented an
insurance claim to an insurer. This argument sounds not in
La. C.Cr.P. art. 532(2) but in La. C.Cr.P. art. 485-also
cited in the motion to quash-which provides, in relevant
part, as follows:
If it appears from the bill of particulars furnished under
Article 484, together with any particulars appearing in the
indictment, that the offense charged in the indictment was
not committed, or that the defendant did not commit it, or
that there is a ground for quashing the indictment, the court
may on its own motion, and on motion of the defendant shall,
order that the indictment be quashed unless the defect is
See State v. Legendre, 362 So.2d 570, 571 (La. 1978)
(analyzing a substantive "deficiency" in the
indictment under La. ...