Appeal from the 22nd Judicial District Court In and for the
Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana No. 597061-1
Honorable Scott Gardner, Judge Presiding
L. Montgomery District Attorney Matthew Caplan Assistant
District Attorney Covington, Louisiana Attorneys for
Appellee, State of Louisiana
M. Hillman Covington, Louisiana Attorney for
Defendant/Appellant, Patrick James Kraemer
BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, PENZATO, AND LANIER, JJ.
defendant, Patrick James Kraemer, was charged by bill of
information with three counts of theft of a firearm,
violations of La. R.S. 14:67.15. He pled not guilty.
Following a jury trial, he was found guilty as charged on all
counts. On each count, he was sentenced to ten years at hard
labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of
sentence and "a single $1000[.00] fine."
Thereafter, the State filed a habitual offender bill of
information against the defendant. The defendant admitted to
the allegations in the habitual offender bill. The court
adjudged him a second-felony habitual offender on count I,
vacated the sentence previously imposed, and resentenced him
to twelve years at hard labor without benefit of probation,
parole, or suspension of sentence on count I. The court also
ordered that the sentences on all three counts be served
concurrently. He now appeals, contending: (1) the trial court
erred in denying a request for a special jury charge; and (2)
the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions. For
the following reasons, we affirm the convictions, the
habitual offender adjudication and sentence on count I, amend
the sentences on counts II and III, and affirm the sentences
on counts II and III as amended.
October 3, 2017, Carl Muir reported that someone had stolen
three of his firearms. Hilda Kraemer,  the
defendant's grandmother, had stored the guns in her home
for Muir when he worked out-of-state. The defendant lived in
Hilda's home. In 2016, he had taken four firearms,
including one of the same firearms involved in the instant
offenses, and pawned them. In regard to the instant offenses,
Hilda testified Emily Sipos told her the defendant stole the
guns, and she sold them to her drug dealer. Hilda indicated
that after the 2016 incident, she told the defendant she had
returned the guns to Muir.
OF THE EVIDENCE
assignment of error number two, the defendant argues the
evidence was insufficient to support the convictions because
Sipos was a drug addict and liar who took the guns and pled
guilty to their theft. On appeal, the defendant acknowledges
that he admitted taking Sipos to New Orleans to sell the guns
in a recorded statement, but he denied stealing the guns.
Lastly, the defendant argues he was not guilty as a principal
to the theft of the guns because he "only participated
in 'transportation and facilitation' after the
taking." In cases such as this one, where the defendant
raises issues on appeal both as to the sufficiency of the
evidence and as to one or more trial errors, the reviewing
court should preliminarily determine the sufficiency of the
evidence, before discussing the other issues raised on
appeal. When the entirety of the evidence, both admissible
and inadmissible, is sufficient to support the conviction,
the accused is not entitled to an acquittal, and the
reviewing court must review the assignments of error to
determine whether the accused is entitled to a new trial.
State v. Hearold, 603 So.2d 731, 734 (La. 1992);
State v. Smith, 2003-0917 (La.App. 1st Cir.
12/31/03), 868 So.2d 794, 798. Accordingly, we will first
address the defendant's second assignment of error, which
challenges the sufficiency of the State's evidence.
conviction based on insufficient evidence cannot stand, as it
violates due process. See U.S. Const, amend. XIV; La. Const,
art. I, § 2. In reviewing claims challenging the
sufficiency of the evidence, this court must consider
"whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of
fact could have found the essential elements of the crime
beyond a reasonable doubt." Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61
L.Ed.2d 560 (1979); see also La. C.Cr.P. art.
821(B); State v. Mussall, 523 So.2d 1305, 1308-09
(La. 1988). The Jackson standard, incorporated in
Article 821, is an objective standard for testing the overall
evidence, both direct and circumstantial, for reasonable
doubt. State v. Watts, 2014-0429 (La.App. 1st Cir.
11/21/14), 168 So.3d 441, 444, writ denied,
2015-0146 (La. 11/20/15), 180 So.3d 315.
conviction is based on both direct and circumstantial
evidence, the reviewing court must resolve any conflict in
the direct evidence by viewing that evidence in the light
most favorable to the prosecution. When analyzing
circumstantial evidence, La. R.S. 15:438 provides that, in
order to convict, the fact finder must be satisfied that the
overall evidence excludes every reasonable hypothesis of
innocence. The facts then established by the direct evidence
and inferred from the circumstances established by that
evidence must be sufficient for a rational trier of fact to
conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was
guilty of every essential element of the crime.
Watts, 168 So.3d at 444.
persons concerned in the commission of a crime, whether
present or absent, and whether they directly commit the act
constituting the offense, aid and abet in its commission, or
directly or indirectly counsel or procure another to commit
the crime, are principals. La. R.S. 14:24. However, the
defendant's mere presence at the scene is not enough to
"concern" him in the crime. Only those persons who
knowingly participate in the planning or execution of a crime
may be said to be "concerned" in its commission,
thus making them liable as principals. A principal may be
connected only to those crimes for which he has the requisite
mental state. State v. Neal, 2000-0674 (La.
6/29/01), 796 So.2d 649, 659, cert, denied, 535 U.S.
940, 122 S.Ct. 1323, 152 L.Ed.2d 231 (2002). However,
"[i]t is sufficient encouragement that the accomplice is
standing by at the scene of the crime ready to give some aid
if needed, although in such a case it is necessary that the
principal actually be aware of the accomplice's
intention." State v. Anderson, 97-1301 (La.
2/6/98), 707 So.2d 1223, 1225 (per curiam) quoting 2
W. LaFave, A. Scott, Substantive Criminal Law,
§ 6.7, p. 138 (West 1996); State v. Clay,
2011-1974 (La.App. 1st Cir. 5/3/12), 2012 WL 1564626, at *2,
writ denied. 2013-0287 (La. 6/14/13), 118 So.3d
Revised Statutes 14:67.15, in pertinent part, provides:
A. Theft of a firearm is the misappropriation or taking of
a firearm which belongs to another, either without the
consent of the other to the misappropriation or taking or
by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or
representations. An intent to deprive the other permanently
of the firearm is essential.
B. For purposes of this Section, "firearm" means
a shotgun or rifle, or a pistol, revolver, or other