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State v. Lane

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

September 27, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
CASEY LYNN LANE

          Appealed from the Twenty-Second Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana Docket Number 583831-1 Honorable August J. Hand, Judge Presiding

          Warren L. Montgomery District Attorney Matthew Caplan Assistant District Attorney Covington, Louisiana Counsel for Appellee State of Louisiana

          Cynthia Meyer New Orleans, Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/Appellant Casey Lynn Lane

          BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., GUIDRY, AND CRAIN, JJ.

          GUIDRY, J.

         The defendant, Casey Lynn Lane, was charged by bill of information with two counts of possession of heroin, violations of La. R.S. 4O;966(C). The defendant initially pled not guilty to the charged offenses, but subsequently withdrew her not guilty pleas and pled guilty to both charges at a Boykin hearing. See Bovkin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 89 S.Ct. 1709, 23 L.Ed.2d 274 (1969). The defendant entered Crosby pleas, reserving her right to challenge the proper sentencing provision under which she should be sentenced. See State v. Crosby, 338 So.2d 584 (La. 1976). For each count, the defendant was sentenced to ten years imprisonment at hard labor. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently. The defendant filed a motion to reconsider sentence. Following a hearing on the matter, the trial court denied the motion. The defendant now appeals, designating one assignment of error. We affirm the convictions, vacate the sentences, and remand for resentencing.

         FACTS

         Because the defendant pled guilty, the facts were not developed at a trial. At the Boykin hearing, the prosecutor offered a stipulation of the factual basis for the guilty pleas. The bill of information charged the defendant with two counts of possession of heroin, once on November 22, 2016 and once on April 7, 2017.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

         In her sole assignment of error, the defendant argues the trial court erred in sentencing her under the incorrect version of the statute for possession of heroin. Specifically, the defendant contends she should have been sentenced under the ameliorative sentencing provisions of the 2017 amendments to La. R.S. 40:966.

         This assignment of error has merit because the defendant's sentences are illegally excessive. For each of the two convictions for possession of heroin, the trial court sentenced the defendant to ten years imprisonment at hard labor, with the sentences to run concurrently. At the time the defendant committed each of the offenses (November 22, 2016 and April 7, 2017), La. R.S. 40:966 provided in pertinent part:

C. Possession. It is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled dangerous substance classified in Schedule I . . . . Any person who violates this Subsection with respect to:
(1) A substance classified in Schedule I which is a narcotic drug (all substances in Schedule I preceded by an asterisk), shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than four years nor more than ten years and may, in addition, be required to pay a fine of not more than five thousand dollars.

         Under 2017 La. Acts No. 281, § 2, which became effective on August 1, 2017, the provision for the possession of heroin ...


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