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State v. Thibodeaux

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

December 4, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
ERNEST C. THIBODEAUX, JR.

          APPEAL FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 515-141, SECTION "J" Honorable Darryl A. Derbigny, Judge.

          Leon Cannizzaro DISTRICT ATTORNEY Donna Andrieu CHIEF OF APPEALS Scott G. Vincent ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY Parish of Orleans COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT

          James Hoeffgen Orleans Public Defenders COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE

          Court composed of Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Rosemary Ledet, Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods.

          Regina Bartholomew-Woods Judge.

         The State seeks review of the trial court's November 30, 2018 ruling that granted Ernest C. Thibodueaux, Jr.'s ("Defendant") motion to quash the bill of information based on a finding that the State failed to timely bring Defendant to trial within the two-year prescriptive period set forth in La. C.Cr.P. art 578(A)(2). For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         BACKGROUND

         On February 25, 2013, the State filed a bill of information against Defendant charging him with issuing a worthless check in the amount of $500 or more in violation of La. R.S. 14:71(D)[1]. On April 8, 2013, Defendant appeared for arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty. The minute entry reflects that a pre-trial conference was set in the matter for April 24, 2013, and also notes, "send notice to defense." On April 24, 2013, Defendant appeared for his pre-trial conference. The trial court reset the pre-trial conference until June 12, 2013. Again, the minute entry reflects, "send notice to defense."

         Defendant failed to appear for his June 12, 2013 pre-trial conference. Although his counsel appeared, an alias capias was issued for Defendant's arrest; and another pre-trial conference was set for June 13, 2013. On June 13, 2013, Defendant appeared with counsel, and the alias capias for his arrest was recalled. Again, another pre-trial conference was set for July 11, 2013. Again, the minute entry reflects, "send notice to defense."

         On July 11, 2013, Defendant appeared for the scheduled pre-trial conference without counsel, and it is noted in the minute entry that counsel was not able to appear due to illness. At the conference, a probation officer from Jefferson Parish appeared and informed the trial court that Defendant had an outstanding warrant from Jefferson Parish. Consequently, Defendant was remanded to the custody of the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff, and it is noted in the minute entry that "Defendant will be transferred to JP [Jefferson Parish]." Another pre-trial conference was set for August 8, 2013, and the minute entry notes, "State to writ in the Defendant." The docket master also notes that "the State filed [a] Motion and Order for Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum." However, unlike previous entries, there is no notation in the July 11, 2013 minute entry to reflect that Defendant was notified in open court of the August 8, 2013 pre-trial conference date.

         On August 8, 2013, when Defendant was not brought to court for the pre-trial conference and the minute entry reflected at the time that Defendant was in "JP custody," another pre-trial conference was set for August 16, 2013. Again, the minute entry notes that "the State filed [a] Motion and Order for Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum . . . Jefferson Parish." Also, it noted "the State to writ in the Defendant." Again, unlike previous entries, the minute entry does not reflect "send notice to defense."

         A series of pre-trial conferences were set thereafter and Defendant failed to appear in court for each one of them. The record clearly reflects that Defendant was not in court when those pre-trial conferences were set. Finally, on January 15, 2014, the court issued an alias capias for Defendant's arrest.

         On October 31, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to quash the bill of information on the basis that the State failed to bring him to trial within the two-year prescriptive period as provided in La. C.Cr.P. art. 578(A)(2). In its opposition, the State countered that the two-year prescriptive period did not expire because prescription was interrupted pursuant to La. C.Cr.P. art. 579(A)(3). On November 30, 2018, the trial court granted ...


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