FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 20529-17 HONORABLE G. MICHAEL CANADAY,
Foster DeRosier, District Attorney Fourteenth Judicial
District Court COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
Constance Hanes COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Will Antonio
Jeffrey M. Landry, Attorney General J. Taylor Gray, Assistant
Attorney General COUNSEL FOR OTHER APPELLEE: Attorney General
of the State of Louisiana
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Billy
Howard Ezell, and John E. Conery, Judges.
HOWARD EZELL, JUDGE
Will Antonio Celestine, was charged by bill of information
filed on November 17, 2017, as a fourth habitual offender, a
violation of La.R.S. 15:529.1. On January 8, 2018, Defendant
was adjudicated a fourth felony offender for the offense of
attempted illegal use of a weapon, a violation of La.R.S.
14:27 and La.R.S. 14:94, and sentenced to life imprisonment
without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of
27, 2018, Defendant filed a "Notice of Appeal" and
"Motion for Appeal." The motion for appeal was
granted. Defendant is now before this court asserting trial
counsel rendered ineffective assistance at sentencing for
failing to file a motion to reconsider and/or request a
downward departure from the sentence of life without parole
for attempted illegal use of a weapon. He also alleges his
life sentence is excessive.
was convicted of attempted illegal use of a weapon in trial
court docket number 16636-15 on November 15, 2017, and was
subsequently adjudicated and sentenced as a habitual offender
in trial court docket number 20529-17. The underlying offense
occurred on May 16, 2015.
accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are
reviewed for errors patent on the face of the record. After
reviewing the record, we find no errors patent.
OF ERROR NUMBERS ONE AND TWO
first assignment of error, Defendant contends trial counsel
rendered ineffective assistance at sentencing because he
failed to file a motion to reconsider Defendant's
sentence and/or seek a downward departure from the mandatory
life sentence, which is to be served without benefit of
parole. In his second assignment of error, Defendant contends
his sentence is excessive. Inasmuch as these two assignments
of error pertain to Defendant's sentence, we will address
habitual offender hearing, the State set forth
Defendant's prior convictions as follows:
16636-15 is the incident conviction wherein he was convicted
of one count attempted illegal use of [a] dangerous
instrumentality, one count of firearm by a felon, one count
of unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling. That
conviction was on November 16th, 2017.
26093-13 was one count of obscenity wherein he was sentenced
to one year parish prison on February 26th, 2014.
And 39274-11 that was one count of attempted possession of a
firearm by a convicted felon, and he was sentenced to six
years department of corrections on February 26th, 2014.
14206-09 was one count of theft over $500 wherein he was
sentenced to five years DOC. That was suspended. He was
placed on five years active supervised probation on November
3rd, 2009. That probation was revoked on October 28th, 2011.
He was ordered to serve the original five years DOC sentence.
In 16851-07 it was one count of attempted simple escape. He
was sentenced to serve three months parish prison on January
In 6669-07 was one count of theft over [$]500. He was
sentenced to four years DOC on January 28th, 2008.
In 10648-05 was one count of possession with intent to
distribute CDS II. He was sentenced to four years department
of corrections, suspended, three years active supervised
probation wherein on November 17th, 2005, that probation was
also revoked on January 28th, 2008. He was ordered to serve
four years DOC.
In 17264-05 one count of aggravated flight wherein he was
sentenced to one year DOC. It was suspended. He was placed on
three years active supervised probation. He was also
convicted on -- in that matter of illegal possession of
stolen things over [$]500. He was sentenced in that matter to
four years DOC. It was suspended. He was placed on two years
active supervised probation. All of that occurred on March
He was also revoked on January 28th, 2008, and sentenced to
serve four years department of corrections and one year
department of corrections concurrent on January 28th, 2008.
was then adjudicated a fourth felony offender.
State subsequently called Don Dixon, the Lake Charles Chief
of Police, to testify. Chief Dixon testified he had dealt
with Defendant for sixteen years. He discussed Defendant's
escape from "JDC," indicating a manhunt ensued.
Chief Dixon considered Defendant to be "the No. 1 menace
to society since [he'd] been chief of police . . .
." According to Chief Dixon, Defendant's last arrest
cost $36, 983.75 in overtime pay. Additionally, Defendant had
thirty-eight criminal files with law enforcement agencies.
the trial court stated it did not see any reason to address
the sentencing guidelines because the penalty was mandatory.
After the State indicated the trial court should address the
sentencing guidelines, the court discussed them as follows:
It says, when the defendant has been convicted of a felony,
the court shall impose a sentence of incarceration if any of
the following occurs:
There's an undue risk during a period of a suspended
sentence he would commit another crime.
Historically it has been established that he has been
convicted of offenses as well as charged with a number of
offenses. The court answers that in the affirmative based on
the totality of what has been presented here today.
Is he in need of correctional treatment or custodial
environment that can [be] provide[d] most effectively by his
commitment to an institution?
Again, with the totality of the CDS significant charges as
well as his failed opportunities on probation and the recent
conviction for a violent offense and the prior conviction of
a violent offense, the court would find that he is definitely
in need of custodial commitment.
Would any lesser sentence deprecate the seriousness of the
As indicated from the totality, the court would answer that
also in the affirmative because of his history, crimes of
violence and habitual involvement with the criminal justice
In looking at this application of aggravating or mitigating,
offences [sic] that are considered violent, I would find that
those --that conduct manifests direct cruelty to victims,
should know that the victims are particularly vulnerable or
incapable of resistance, offenses in which it has appeared
that he has used weapons or attempted to use weapons,
indicate that he is more familiar with those individuals that
they were aimed at. The court cannot say it was extreme
youth-advanced age, disability, or ill-health, but whether
they were --regardless if they were not armed and he was and
went after those individuals. That would be significant.
Has he offered or received something of valve [sic] for the
I have thefts over [$]500 on occasion, which would indicate
that's also in the affirmative.
Has he used his position to facilitate the commission?
The court does not have any information with regard to that.
Has he created risk of death or great bodily harm to more
than one person?
That's clear from the one case that the court was
familiar with, the jury trial, in which a number of people
were outside a residential area in which the crime for which
he was -- attempted illegal use or possession of dangerous
weapons as found by the jury, noting also that there were
bullets found; and some testimony indicated that firearms was
[sic] shot. However, he was only found guilty of attempted