FROM CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT ORLEANS PARISH NO. 515-510,
SECTION "C" Honorable Benedict J. Willard, Judge
Cannizzaro District Attorney Scott G. Vincent Assistant
District Attorney COUNSEL FOR STATE OF LOUISIANA/APPELLEE
Vincent Boshea ATTORNEY AT LAW COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano,
Judge Tiffany G. Chase.
F. LOVE JUDGE
Chasity Andrews ("Ms. Andrews") appeals her
convictions and sentences for one count of simple rape, in
violation of La. R.S. 14:43 and two counts of indecent
behavior with a juvenile, in violation of La. R.S. 14:81. We
find the criminal district court lacked jurisdiction over Ms.
Andrews to try her for the offenses of indecent behavior with
a juvenile and aggravated rape. For certain enumerated
offenses, where an indictment is returned alleging that the
child was 15 years or older at the time of the alleged
offense, the juvenile court is automatically divested of
jurisdiction pursuant to La. Ch.C. art. 305(A)(1)(a).
Indecent behavior with a juvenile is not among the enumerated
offenses under the statute. Consequently, we find the
criminal district court never had jurisdiction to try Ms.
Andrews for indecent behavior with a juvenile.
when the State amended the indictment to reflect that Ms.
Andrews was 14 years old at the time of the alleged criminal
acts, the criminal district court lost jurisdiction to try
Ms. Andrews on the aggravated rape charge. La. Ch.C. art.
305(A)(1)(a) only applies to those enumerated offenses which
are committed when the child is 15 years or older; thus La.
Ch.C. art. 305(A)(1)(a) was no longer applicable after the
State amended the indictment. Further, the criminal district
court lacked jurisdiction to try Ms. Andrews for aggravated
rape because there was no hearing in juvenile court, in
accordance with La. Ch.C. art. 857(A), to determine whether
transfer of jurisdiction was appropriate. Therefore, we find
the trial court lacked jurisdiction over Ms. Andrews to try
her for the offenses of indecent behavior with a juvenile and
aggravated rape. For these reasons, we pretermit discussion
of the remaining assigned errors, vacate Ms. Andrews'
convictions and sentences, and remand the matter for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
HISTORY AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
April 2013, a grand jury indictment was filed charging Ms.
Andrews with one count of aggravated rape of
T.S., one count of indecent behavior with a
juvenile, namely, A.B. Ms. Andrews was initially listed as
being 15 years old at the time of the charged offenses. A
jury trial in the present matter was held from January 8,
2019, to January 17, 2019. During the course of the trial,
defense counsel moved for a mistrial on January 10, 2019, and
January 15, 2019, which the trial court initially granted.
However, the trial court's orders for mistrial on January
10, 2019, and January 15, 2019, were reversed by the
Louisiana Supreme Court and this Court, respectively.
purpose of this appeal, we limit our recitation of the facts
of the case to the information most relevant to this
Court's findings on the issue of jurisdiction. The
following testimony was elicited at trial.
testified that he is T.S.'s stepfather and A.B. and Ms.
Andrews' uncle. He stated that he married T.S.'s
mother in 2004. From 2006 to 2007, after Hurricane Katrina,
Ms. Andrews came to live with K.W., his wife, and T.S. While
living with her uncle's family, Ms. Andrews shared a
bedroom with T.S. K.W. testified that he and his wife learned
about the allegations involving Ms. Andrews, T.S., and A.B.,
from a third-party and reported the matter to the New Orleans
Police Department in December 2012.
testified at trial that she was 17 years old and born on May
31, 2001. A.B., who was living in Texas at the time,
testified that she was visiting T.S.'s family in New
Orleans when a sexual encounter took place, involving
herself, T.S., and Ms. Andrews. While A.B. could not recall
how old she was when the incident occurred, she testified
that after the matter was reported to police (several years
after the incident), her forensic interview in 2013 took
place and at that time she was almost 12 years old.
testified at trial that she was 17 years old and her
birthdate was April 7, 2001. T.S. similarly testified to the
incident involving her cousins A.B. and Ms. Andrews. She
additionally stated that over the course of the year that Ms.
Andrews lived with her family, Ms. Andrews sexually abused
her. T.S. further indicated that the alleged abuse stopped
once Ms. Andrews moved back to Texas.
Andrews testified in her defense at trial. Born on June 3,
1992, Ms. Andrews stated that she was 13 years old when
Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. She moved from Texas to
New Orleans, following the hurricane, and moved in with her
uncle and his family. She testified that she attended John
McDonogh High School in New Orleans for the 2006-2007 school
year and then moved back to Texas, attending Garland High
School for the 2007-2008 school year. Additionally, at trial,