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State v. Bradford

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

August 14, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
JEFFREY BRADFORD Appellant

          Appealed from the Second Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jackson, Louisiana Trial Court No. 47, 841 Honorable Don C. Burns, Judge Ad Hoc

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Carey J. Ellis, III Counsel for Appellant

          DANIEL W. NEWELL District Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          DARRELL ROBERT AVERY TERESA CULPEPPER CARROLL Assistant District Attorneys

          Before GARRETT, COX, and STEPHENS, JJ.

          STEPHENS, J.

         This criminal appeal arises from the Second Judicial District Court, Parish of Jackson, State of Louisiana. The defendant, Jeffrey Bradford, pled guilty to two counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of attempt to disarm a peace officer. He was sentenced to 24 years' imprisonment at hard labor on each of the two convictions for attempted second degree murder, and 2½ years' imprisonment on the conviction for attempt to disarm a peace officer, to be served concurrently. Bradford now appeals. His appellate counsel has filed a motion to withdraw, together with a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967), alleging that there are no nonfrivolous issues upon which to base the appeal. For the following reasons, appellate counsel's motion to withdraw is granted and Bradford's conviction and sentence, as amended, are affirmed.

         FACTS

         Bradford was charged by bill of information with three counts of attempted second degree murder, in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1 and 14:27, and one count of attempt to disarm a peace officer, in violation of La. R.S. 34.6 and 14:27. On August 20, 2018, Bradford entered a guilty plea, under North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 91 S.Ct. 160, 27 L.Ed.2d 162 (1970), to two counts of attempted second degree murder and one count of attempt to disarm a peace officer.[1] As a factual basis for the plea, the state noted that on May 3, 2016, Quintin Bradford and Willie Banks arrived in a vehicle at Bradford's home, at which time Bradford pulled a pistol and fired into the passenger side window and front windshield of the vehicle. Willie was able to escape uninjured, but Quintin was shot in the leg, nearly bled to death at the scene, and eventually had to have the injured leg amputated. Two police officers saw the shooting and attempted to apprehend Bradford. The Chief of Police arrived within minutes and was attacked by Bradford. Bradford attempted to take the Chief's drawn weapon but was ultimately subdued and arrested.

         On August 23, 2018, prior to sentencing, Bradford filed a motion to withdraw his plea, arguing that while the state's evidence could not be rebutted at the time of his guilty plea, he had recently discovered exculpatory evidence and wished to withdraw his guilty plea. Bradford argued he was unaware of two new witnesses prior to entering his guilty plea and he would not have entered a guilty plea had he known of their existence.

         A hearing on the motion was held on October 10, 2018, wherein the trial court heard the testimony of those two witnesses, Takela Bradford and James Culpepper. Takela, Bradford's sister-in-law, testified that she was not present at the time of the shooting and could not offer any testimony regarding the shooting, only the events from the days following the shooting. James, who has known Bradford since childhood, testified that he was working on a vehicle across the street from Bradford's house at the time of the shooting. James stated he observed Bradford and a woman, whom he believed to be Bradford's sister, arguing in the yard. The woman pushed Bradford and Bradford fired a gun into the ground twice. James testified that the woman refused to leave, even after the gunshots and being repeatedly told to leave. He stated two men arrived in a vehicle and that one of the men appeared to have a weapon, but he could not say for certain as he could only see the men through the back windshield. James believed Bradford shot into the vehicle to defend himself, although he admitted that no shots were fired by the men in the vehicle. James acknowledged seeing police at the scene but testified that he did not make a statement at that time.

         The trial court denied Bradford's motion to withdraw his guilty plea, finding he had a clear understanding of the charges against him and of his rights at the time of his guilty plea and he knowingly and willingly waived his rights with no misunderstanding. The trial court noted the testimony of the two new witnesses had been carefully considered but neither witness testified to anything that would have significantly altered the outcome of the case had there been a trial.

         On October 10, 2018, in accordance with his plea agreement, Bradford was sentenced to 24 years' imprisonment at hard labor on each of the two convictions for attempted second degree murder and 2½ years' imprisonment on the conviction for attempt to disarm a peace officer, to be served concurrently. This appeal by Bradford ensued.

         Bradford's appellate counsel has filed with this court a motion to withdraw and an Anders brief asserting that after a thorough review of the entire record, no nonfrivolous issues remained for appeal. See Anders, supra; State v. Jyles, 1996-2669 (La. 12/12/97), 704 So.2d 241; State v. Mouton, 1995-0981 (La. 4/28/95), 653 So.2d 1176. The brief outlines the procedural history of the case and a statement of the facts of the case, and contains a detailed and reviewable assessment for both the defendant and this court regarding whether the appeal is worth pursuing. Appellate counsel verified he mailed copies of the motion to withdraw and his brief to Bradford. This court held the motion to withdraw in abeyance and allowed Bradford 30 days within which to file a pro se brief, which he ...


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