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State v. Woods

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 26, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
COREY WOODS A/K/A COCOMO

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 17-1036, DIVISION "L" HONORABLE DONALD A. ROWAN, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D. Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Anne M. Wallis Lynn Schiffman Douglas W. Freese

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, COREY WOODS AKA COCOMO Corey Woods Prentice L. White

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Jeffrey M. Landry J. Taylor Gray Michelle W. Ghetti

          Panel composed of Judges Marc E. Johnson, Stephen J. Windhorst, and John J. Molaison, Jr.

          STEPHEN J. WINDHORST JUDGE.

         Defendant, Corey Woods a/k/a "Cocomo," has appealed his convictions and sentences for three counts of second degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. For the reasons that follow, we vacate defendant's sentences and the trial court's rulings on defendant's Motion for New Trial and Motion for Post-Verdict Judgment of Acquittal, and remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings.

         Facts and Procedural History

         On May 25, 2017, a Jefferson Parish Grand Jury indicted defendant, Corey Woods a/k/a "Cocomo," with three counts of second degree murder in violation of La. R.S. 14:30.1 (counts one, two, and three) and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of La. R.S. 14:95.1 (count four). Defendant was arraigned on June 12, 2017, and pled not guilty. On July 31, 2018, the case proceeded to trial; however, on August 1, 2018, the State and the defense moved for a mistrial, which the trial court granted. On November 5, 7, and 8, 2018, the case was tried before a twelve-person jury. At the conclusion of trial, the jury found defendant guilty as charged.

         On December 2, 2018, defendant filed Motions for New Trial and for Post-Verdict Judgment of Acquittal, a Motion for Appeal, and a Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence. On December 10, 2018, in a written order, the trial court granted the Motion for New Trial and ordered the trial to be held on January 7, 2019. Also on December 10, 2018, the trial court granted the Motion for Appeal. On that same date, the trial court set the Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence for hearing on January 7, 2019.

         A new trial was not held on January 7, 2019, as ordered on December 10, 2018. On that date, the trial court denied the Motions for New Trial and for Post-Verdict Judgment of Acquittal. Afterward, on that same date, the trial court sentenced defendant to life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence each on counts one, two and three, with those sentences to run concurrently with each other. On count four, the trial court sentenced defendant to imprisonment at hard labor for twenty years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, with that sentence to run concurrently with the sentence on count one in case number 17-1037. The record does not reflect that the trial court ruled on defendant's Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence.

         Discussion

         Pursuant to La. C.Cr.P. art. 916, a trial court is divested of jurisdiction upon the granting of a defendant's motion for an appeal. State v. Lampkin, 12-391 (La.App. 5 Cir. 5/16/13), 119 So.3d 158, 162; State v. Sims, 09-509 (La.App. 5 Cir. 2/12/10), 33 So.3d 340, 343, writ denied, 10-0596 (La.10/8/10), 46 So.3d 1264. Once the trial court is divested of jurisdiction, it may take only certain specified actions, none of which include ruling on a motion for a new trial or imposing a sentence. State v. Johnson, 13-75 (La.App. 5 Cir. 10/9/13), 128 So.3d 325, 327. A defendant can appeal from a final judgment of conviction only when the sentence has been imposed. La. C.Cr.P. art. 912; State v. Calloway, 18-708 (La.App. 5 Cir. 4/24/19), 271 So.3d 349, 351.

         In State v. Calloway, supra, the defendant was convicted on June 13, 2018. On June 27, 2018, he filed a Motion for New Trial, a Motion for Post-Verdict Judgment of Acquittal, and a Motion for Appeal. The next day, the trial court denied the Motion for New Trial and the Motion for Post-Verdict Judgment of Acquittal and then granted the Motion for Appeal. Afterward, on that same day, the trial court sentenced the defendant. This Court found that upon the granting of the defendant's Motion for Appeal, the trial court was divested of jurisdiction to subsequently sentence the defendant. On appeal, the defendant only raised sentencing issues. This Court vacated the ...


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