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State v. Hardman

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

October 9, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
JOHNNIE PAUL HARDMAN, JR.

          APPEAL FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF CALCASIEU, NO. 14776-17 HONORABLE CLAYTON DAVIS, DISTRICT JUDGE

          John F. DeRosier Karen C. McLellan Elizabeth B. Hollins COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: State of Louisiana

          Edward K. Bauman COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Johnnie Paul Hardman, Jr.

          Court composed of John D. Saunders, Phyllis M. Keaty, and Jonathan W. Perry, Judges.

          JOHN D. SAUNDERS JUDGE.

         On August 3, 2017, Defendant, Johnnie Paul Hardman, Jr., was charged by bill of indictment with one count of armed robbery with a firearm, in violation of La.R.S. 14:64 and 14:64.3; two counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery with a firearm, in violation of La.R.S. 14:26, 14:64, and 14:64.3; and one count of first degree murder, in violation of La.R.S. 14:30(A)(1). On May 24, 2018, a jury found Defendant guilty as charged on all counts.

         On July 25, 2018, Defendant was sentenced to ninety-nine years at hard labor on the armed robbery conviction plus five years on the firearm enhancement, thirty years at hard labor for each conspiracy conviction, and life imprisonment without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence for the first degree murder conviction. The trial court ordered all of Defendant's sentences to be run consecutively.

         Defendant now appeals his convictions, asserting two trial court errors related to jury composition. Defendant contends the trial court erred in denying his challenges for cause of Kaley Willis and Torin Washington and in replacing juror Elijah Washington with alternate juror Christine Granger (We will address jurors Torin Washington and Elijah Washington by their first names to avoid confusion).

         FACTS:

         The bill of indictment charges that on July 22, 2017, Defendant, his companion Mr. Desmond Orphey, and a juvenile with the initials D.I., robbed Mr. Clinton Curtice while Defendant held him at gunpoint at the 12 Palms R.V. Park in Lake Charles, Louisiana. They then confronted Mr. Joshua Touchet at which time Defendant shot Mr. Touchet during an attempted armed robbery.

         ERRORS PATENT:

         In accordance with La.Code Crim.P. art. 920, all appeals are reviewed by this court for errors patent on the face of the record. After reviewing the record, we find two errors patent that we must address concerning the sentences imposed.

         First, the trial court failed to impose Defendant's sentence for first degree murder at hard labor even though a hard labor sentence is required by La.R.S. 14:30(C)(2). Thus, the sentence is illegally lenient. See State v. Perkins, 13-245 (La.App. 3 Cir. 11/6/13), 124 So.3d 605. Although the authority to correct an illegally lenient sentence is granted and discretionary under La.Code Crim.P. art. 882, we choose to take no action because an illegally lenient sentence was not raised as an error.

         Next, the trial court erroneously imposed indeterminate sentences for armed robbery with a firearm (104 years) and for each count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery with a firearm (30 years on each). Although the court minutes indicate the trial court imposed "ninety-nine (99) years in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections, without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence, to include an additional five (5) years on the firearm enhancement, for a total of one hundred-four (104) years," for Defendant's conviction of armed robbery with a firearm, the sentencing transcript reflects that the court imposed 104 years "without benefit." "[W]hen the minutes and the transcript ...


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