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2005 News Releases

News Release #025
 

FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE


NEWS RELEASE # 25


FROM: CLERK OF SUPREME COURT OF LOUISIANA



The Opinions handed down on the 1st day of April, 2005 , are as follows:



BY KIMBALL, J. :


2003-KA-1980       STATE OF LOUISIANA v. SHAWN J. HIGGINS (Parish of Jefferson)

(First Degree Murder)

For the reasons assigned herein, we set aside the defendant's first degree murder conviction and death sentence. We hereby modify the jury's verdict of guilty of first degree murder and render a judgment of guilty of second degree murder. La. Code Crim. Proc. art. 821(E). We remand the case to the trial court for sentencing of the defendant on the modified judgment to serve life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence as provided for in La. R.S. 14:30.1(B).

CONVICTION OF FIRST DEGREE MURDER AND DEATH SENTENCE SET ASIDE; JUDGMENT OF GUILTY OF SECOND DEGREE MURDER RENDERED; REMANDED TO THE TRIAL COURT FOR SENTENCING OF DEFENDANT TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT AT HARD LABOR WITHOUT BENEFIT OF PAROLE, PROBATION, OR SUSPENSION OF SENTENCE.

JOHNSON, J., dissents and assigns reasons.

TRAYLOR, J., dissents and assigns reasons.



BY VICTORY, J. :

2004-KA-1841       STATE OF LOUISIANA v. ADRIAN CITIZEN AND STATE OF LOUISIANA V. BENJAMIN G. TONGUIS (Parish of Calcasieu)

 (Funding for Indigent Defendants in Criminal Cases)

For the reasons stated herein, the judgment of the trial court is reversed. We order that unless adequate funds are identified and made available in a manner authorized by law as expressed in this opinion, upon motion of the defendants, the trial judge may halt the prosecution of these cases until adequate funds become available to provide for these indigent defendants' constitutionally protected right to counsel or take other measures consistent with this opinion which protect the constitutional or statutory rights of the defendants.

REVERSED AND REMANDED.

JOHNSON, J., concurs in part, dissents in part and will assign reasons.

KNOLL, J., concurs in the result.



BY WEIMER, J. :

2004-C- 0473       WILLIS-KNIGHTON MEDICAL CENTER v. CADDO-SHREVEPORT SALES AND USE TAX COMMISSION (Parish of Caddo)

For the reasons expressed herein, we affirm the decision of the second circuit court of appeal. However, we remand this matter to the district court for consideration of the constitutionality of  LSA-R.S. 47:305(D)(1)(s).AFFIRMED; CASE REMANDED TO DISTRICT COURT.

KIMBALL, J., concurs in part and dissents in part and assigns reasons.

JOHNSON, J., concurs in part and dissents in part with reasons.

TRAYLOR, J., concurs in part and dissents in part and assigns reasons.

KNOLL, J., concurs in result and assigns reasons.

WEIMER, J., assigns additional reasons.



PER CURIAM :


2004-B- 2064       IN RE: HENRY J. LAFONT, JR .

(Disciplinary Proceedings)

Upon review of the findings and recommendation of the hearing committee and the disciplinary board, and considering the record, briefs, and oral argument, it is ordered that Henry J. Lafont, Jr., Louisiana Bar Roll number 8094, be suspended from the practice of law in Louisiana for a period of ninety days. All costs and expenses in the matter are assessed against respondent in accordance with Supreme Court Rule XIX, §10.1, with legal interest to commence thirty days from the date of finality of this court's judgment until paid.

Retired Judge Melvin A. Shortess, assigned as Justice ad hoc, sitting for Associate Justice John L. Weimer, recused.

JOHNSON, J., would impose a more severe penalty.

 

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