FROM THE THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
EVANGELINE, NO. 112303-F HONORABLE CHUCK R. WEST, DISTRICT
Corley Marx Counsel for Defendant/Appellant: Robert Marquez
Brignac District Attorney Counsel for Appellee: State of
Jeffrey M. Landry Attorney General Colin Clark J. Taylor Gray
Assistant Attorney General Counsel for Appellee: State of
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Phyllis M.
Keaty, and Candyce G. Perret, Judges.
PHYLLIS M. KEATY, JUDGE.
appeals his conviction and sentence. For the following
reasons, Defendant's conviction is reversed, his sentence
is vacated, and this matter is remanded for a new trial.
& PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
matter involves a shooting that occurred in Ville Platte on
April 23, 2017. Prior to the shooting, there was an
altercation between Defendant, Robert Marquez Wilson, and
Santiago Thomas. After the shooting, Santiago found a bullet
that had pierced the back of his car. A bystander, Kathy
Weston, was also shot and killed. On April 11, 2018,
Defendant was indicted for second degree murder, a violation
of La.R.S. 14:30.1. The State charged Defendant with other
offenses by bill of information although the trial court
ordered these to be severed from the murder charge on October
1, 2018. On that same day, a jury was selected, and trial
commenced one day later. On October 5, 2018, the jury
returned a responsive verdict finding Defendant guilty of
manslaughter, a violation of La.R.S. 14:31. On January 17,
2019, Defendant was sentenced to twenty-five years at hard
labor. Defendant appealed.
appeal, Defendant asserts the following three errors:
1. The trial court erred in its denial of Robert Marquez
Wilson's right to confront and cross-examine two
witnesses for the State. The court abused its discretion in
weighing the out of court statements for credibility as a
test to carve out an exception to the confrontation clause.
2. The State failed to prove Robert Marquez Wilson fired the
shot that resulted in the death of Kathy Weston, thus the
State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Robert
Marquez Wilson was guilty of manslaughter.
3. A. Louisiana's constitution and statutory provisions
allowing a conviction with a verdict of less than all twelve
jurors violate the Equal Protection Clause of the United
States Constitution. The 1898 Constitution of Louisiana was
written "to establish the supremacy of the white race in
this State." As racism was a substantial or motivating
factor behind the enactment of the laws allowing
non-unanimous jury verdicts, those provisions violate the
Equal Protection Clause.
B. Considering the sixth amendment right to a jury trial
applies in state criminal courts, the right to a unanimous
jury verdict should also apply ...