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State v. Collins

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

September 25, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
RICHARD F. COLLINS, JR. Appellant

          Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 352568 Honorable Ramona L. Emanuel, Judge.

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

          RICHARD F. COLLINS, JR. Pro Se

          JAMES E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney REBECCA ARMAND EDWARDS JOSHUA K. WILLIAMS WILLIAM C. GASKINS Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for Appellee

          Before WILLIAMS, PITMAN, and McCALLUM, JJ.

          McCALLUM, J.

         Before us is an appeal by Richard F. Collins, who challenges his sentences for two felony convictions. He was convicted of indecent behavior with juveniles as a lesser responsive verdict to a charge of sexual battery, and was convicted of one count, as charged, of indecent behavior with juveniles. The trial court sentenced him to twenty-five years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence as to each conviction, to run concurrently. He contends the sentences are excessive in total and asks this Court to remand to the trial court for lesser sentences.

         For the following reasons, we affirm the conviction and sentence for the charged count of indecent behavior with juveniles. The Louisiana Supreme Court has determined that indecent behavior with juveniles is not a lesser included offense of sexual battery. Therefore, as further delineated, the conviction for indecent behavior with juveniles as a responsive verdict to the charged count of sexual battery, must be vacated.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On October 24, 2017, Richard F. Collins ("Collins") was charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of indecent behavior with juveniles. Count One was a charge of sexual battery of a victim under the age of thirteen. Count Two was a charge of sexual battery of a different victim under the age of thirteen. Count Three was a charge of indecent behavior with juveniles pertaining to the same victim as in Count One.

         Collins merely challenges the sentencing and does not challenge the factual findings or evidence at trial. Since he does not challenge the convictions, we will dispense with a protracted review of the facts. On October 8 through October 10, 2018, the trial court held a jury trial on the charges against Collins. At trial, the victims and their parents gave candid and credible testimony of the actions by Collins against the minor victims. The prosecutor also introduced the recorded interview by investigators of Collins which was essentially a confession to the allegations against him. The jury found Collins guilty on a lesser responsive verdict of indecent behavior with juveniles as to Count One of sexual battery. The jury found Collins not guilty as to Count Two of sexual battery. The jury found Collins guilty as charged as to Count Three of indecent behavior with juveniles. Subsequently, Collins filed for a post-verdict judgment of acquittal. The trial court denied that motion.

         Prior to a sentencing hearing, Collins filed a presentencing mitigation statement in which he stated the following:

(1) He was 54 years old.
(2) He had no prior convictions.
(3) He has lived a substantial portion of his life without being convicted of a crime.
(4) He neither threatened harm to the victim nor the victim's family.
(5) He did not attack the character or the veracity of the ...

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