Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Sandifer

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

January 15, 2020

STATE OF LOUISIANA Appellee
v.
TONYA AVANT SANDIFER Appellant

          Appealed from the Eighth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Winn, Louisiana Trial Court No. 43, 909 Honorable Jacque D. Derr, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Peggy J. Sullivan Counsel for Appellant

          R. CHRISTOPHER NEVILS District Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          COLE B. SMITH Assistant District Attorney

          Before MOORE, GARRETT, and COX, JJ.

          MOORE, J.

         After a jury trial, the defendant, Tonya Sandifer, was convicted of distribution of methamphetamine, a Schedule II CDS, and attempted distribution of methamphetamine. The court imposed consecutive sentences of 25 years and 15 years at hard labor, and denied the defendant's motion to reconsider sentence. Defendant appealed. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the conviction, vacate the sentence, and remand to the trial court with instructions.

         FACTS

         Tonya Avant Sandifer was charged by bill of information with distribution of methamphetamine, a Schedule II CDS, in violation of La. R.S. 40:967A, and attempted distribution of methamphetamine, a Schedule II CDS, in violation of La. R.S. 40:967A and 14:27. These offenses were committed on May 10 and 16, 2016.

         The Winn Parish Sheriff's Office and the Louisiana State Police Department ("LSP") were investigating drug crimes in Winn Parish. Raymond Durbin was employed by the police as a confidential informant ("CI") to confect a drug deal between Sandifer and an undercover LSP officer, Sergeant William Moore. On May 10, 2016, Sgt. Moore was working undercover using the alias, "Luke," when he met Sandifer, Durbin and Misty Holmes at Gum Springs Park in Winn Parish. Durbin introduced Sandifer to "Luke," and Sandifer entered the passenger's side of Luke's vehicle. Sandifer sold the undercover officer one ounce of methamphetamine (approximately 28 grams) for $700. The methamphetamine from the purchase was transferred to the North Louisiana Crime Lab.

         Sandifer and "Luke" exchanged cell phone numbers and texted one another over the next few days. Through a text message, "Luke" requested another drug buy in the amount of four ounces of methamphetamine. Sandifer checked with her supplier and informed the undercover agent that the price would be $2, 450. He agreed to the price, and the two agreed to meet at Gum Springs on May 16, 2016, to complete the transaction.

         Due to the risk associated with large drug deals, Officer Patrick Deshautelle, the LSP case agent in charge of the operation, decided to intercept the drugs before they were delivered to Sandifer. On May 16, 2016, Ramonta Jackson, Sandifer's alleged supplier, was apprehended by a state trooper while Jackson was en route to meet Sandifer. Some four ounces of a substance was recovered from Jackson's vehicle; it later tested positive for methamphetamine.

         Luke (Sgt. Moore) and Sandifer met on May 16, 2016, as scheduled, but Sandifer informed him that her supplier had been stopped by a state trooper. Sandifer attempted to find a second supplier, but was unable to procure any drugs to sell to the agent. Three months later, Sandifer was arrested on August 10, 2016. At trial, Sandifer testified that Durbin was living with her and that it was his idea to sell drugs, and in fact it was Durbin who introduced her to the undercover officer she knew as Luke.

         The jury unanimously found Sandifer guilty of distribution of methamphetamine and, by an 11-1 vote, found her guilty of attempted distribution.

         On February 19, 2019, Sandifer appeared for sentencing. The court stated that it had reviewed the sentencing guidelines of La.C.Cr.P. art. 894.1, and concluded that it should impose a sentence of imprisonment because any other sentence would not adequately reflect the seriousness of the offenses. The court stated that illegal drugs are the source of most of the evil that occurs in the world. It noted the destructive effect drugs have on individual lives and families, as drug use tears at the fabric of our society. The court also opined that distribution of drugs is a far more egregious offense than mere possession, and, in this case, the defendant was convicted of distribution and attempted distribution of large quantities of methamphetamine. Finding no mitigating factors in the case, the court concluded that the facts of the case warrant substantial terms of imprisonment. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.