Louisiana Supreme Court - 400 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130 | Tel: 504-310-2300 Hon. Bernette J. Johnson. Chief Justice.  John Tarlton Olivier., Clerk of Court.  Sandra A. Vujnovich. Judicial Administrator
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 2017 News Releases

News Release #050

 

FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE
NEWS RELEASE #050
   
FROM: CLERK OF SUPREME COURT OF LOUISIANA  

 

The Opinions handed down on the 18th day of October, 2017, are as follows:

 

BY JOHNSON, C.J.:

2017-KK-0448 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. KAYLA BRIGNAC (Parish of Orleans)

La. C.Cr. P. art. 895(A)(13)(a) requires that a warrantless search of a probationer’s residence be conducted by the probation officer specifically assigned to that probationer. The determination of whether a probation officer is “assigned to” a particular probationer is a factual finding to be made by the district court. Based on the record in this case, we find no error in the district court’s finding that the search of Ms. Brignac’s residence was not conducted by the probation officer assigned to her. Accordingly, we hold the search failed to comply with the requirements of Article 895(A)(13)(a). We further find this statute provides certain privacy protections for probationers, and thus its violation resulted in an unconstitutional search under Article I, §5 of the Louisiana Constitution. Because the search was unconstitutional, we hold the evidence obtained in the search should be excluded pursuant to La. C.Cr. P. art. 703(C). The district court correctly granted defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence. Therefore, the ruling of the court of appeal is reversed, and the ruling of the district court is reinstated.
REVERSED AND REMANDED TO THE DISTRICT COURT FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS CONSISTENT WITH THIS OPINION.

GUIDRY, J., concurs in the result.
CRICHTON, J., concurs in the result and assigns reasons.

 

2017-KK-0557 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. AVERY JULIEN (Parish of Orleans)

Having found the search in this case did not comply with the requirements of Article 895(A)(13)(a), we further hold the search constituted an unreasonable search and invasion of Mr. Julien’s privacy under Article I, §5 of the Louisiana Constitution for the same reasons assigned this day in State v. Brignac, 17-448 (La. --/--/17), -- So. 3d. --. Thus, the evidence is properly excluded, and the district court correctly granted defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence. See La. C.Cr. P. art. 703(C).
AFFIRMED AND REMANDED TO THE DISTRICT COURT FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS CONSISTENT WITH THIS OPINION.

GUIDRY, J., concurs in the result.
CRICHTON, J., concurs and assigns reasons.

 


BY WEIMER, J.:

2016-K -0473 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. DERRICK A. DOTSON (Parish of Orleans)

The state’s writ application was granted to consider whether the court of appeal erred in reversing defendant’s conviction, finding that the trial judge abused his discretion in denying a challenge for cause of a prospective juror. During voir dire, the prospective juror gave an equivocal answer as to whether she could be impartial after indicating her mother had been the victim of a violent crime. The record of the voir dire proceeding is bereft of any information that would clarify the prospective juror’s response, and the remainder of her responses during voir dire indicate that she would be impartial. As such, deference should have been afforded by the appellate court to the trial court’s ruling on the challenge. The decision of the appellate court is reversed and this matter is remanded to the appellate court for determination of the remaining issue raised on appeal by defendant. For these reasons, the decision of the appellate court is reversed. This matter is remanded to the appellate court for determination of the remaining issue raised on appeal by defendant.
REVERSED and REMANDED.

GUIDRY, J., dissents and assigns reasons.
HUGHES, J., dissents for the reasons given by Guidry, J.

 

BY GUIDRY, J.:

2016-C -1647 RON WARREN, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF THE ESTATE OF DEREK HEBERT v. SHELTER MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, ET AL (Parish of Calcasieu)

After reviewing the record and the applicable law in this case, we find no reversible error in the trial court’s rulings; however, we do find the award of punitive damages was excessive and resulted in a violation of the defendant’s right to constitutional due process. For the reasons expressed above, we affirm the lower court’s judgment in part, amend the judgment to award $4,250,000 in punitive damages to the plaintiff, and affirm as amended.

WEIMER, J., dissents and assigns reasons.
CLARK, J., dissents and gives reasons.
CRICHTON, J., dissents and assigns reasons.

 

2017-CC-0482 PHILIP SHELTON v. NANCY PAVON (Parish of Orleans)

After reviewing the applicable law, we hold that La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 971(F)(1)(a), which states that “[a]ny written or oral statement or writing made before a legislative, executive, or judicial body” is an “[a]ct in furtherance of a person’s right of petition or free speech … in connection with a public issue,” must nonetheless satisfy the requirement of La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 971(A)(1), that such statements be made “in connection with a public issue….” We therefore conclude the court of appeal was correct in reversing the trial court’s ruling granting Dr. Shelton’s special motion to strike, and in awarding reasonable attorney fees and costs to Ms. Pavon as the prevailing party, to be determined by the trial court on remand. Accordingly, the judgment of the court of appeal is affirmed.
AFFIRMED

WEIMER, J., dissents and assigns reasons.
CLARK, J., dissents for the reasons given by Justice Weimer.
HUGHES, J., dissents with reasons.
CRICHTON, J., additionally concurs and assigns reasons.

 


BY CLARK, J.:

2016-K -1160 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. SKYLAR FRANK (Parish of Allen)

Accordingly, we take this opportunity to make clear that the protections against double jeopardy mandated by the federal constitution, as restated in this state’s constitution, fall within the analytical framework set forth in Blockburger and Louisiana courts need only apply that framework in analyzing questions of double jeopardy. Because no double jeopardy violation is apparent here under Blockburger, we reverse in part the court of appeal and reinstate defendant’s conviction and sentence for attempted felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
REVERSED IN PART

 

BY CRICHTON, J.:

2017-B -0178 IN RE: RONALD SEASTRUNK

The disclosure obligations found in Rule 3.8(d) of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct and in Brady v. Maryland are coextensive. For this reason, we find ODC failed to meet its burden of proof in this case and dismiss all charges against respondent.

JOHNSON, C.J., concurs in result.
WEIMER, J., concurs and assigns reasons.
HUGHES, J., concurs with reasons.

 

BY GENOVESE, J.:

2017-C -0698 NIKOLA P. VEKIC v. DRAGUTIN POPICH, MARY A. POPICH & HELEN HARRIS POPICH (Parish of St. Bernard)

This case concerns a contractual dispute regarding which party is entitled to the proceeds from the BP oil spill settlement for damages to certain oyster leases. We disagree with the Court of Appeal and find that the trial court did not err in accepting evidence beyond the four corners of the contract at issue and did not manifestly err in its factual findings and ultimate interpretation that the agreement at issue entitled the plaintiff to the settlement proceeds for property damage to the leases at issue. For the foregoing reasons, we reverse the Court of Appeal’s decision and reinstate the trial court’s judgment.
REVERSED.

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

 

PER CURIAM:

2016-K -0043 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. CALVIN LOUIS NOEL, III AKA - CALVIN NOEL (Parish of Lafayette)

We agree with the court of appeal that defendant produced an indicia of insanity and we further agree with Judge Conery that the district court erred in finding good cause was not shown because defendant was engaging in a dilatory tactic. Accordingly, we reverse the court of appeal, vacate the conviction and sentence, and remand for a new trial.
REVERSED AND REMANDED

GUIDRY, J., dissents.

 

2016-K -0750 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. FAHIM A. SHAIKH (Parish of Beauregard)


While it may be true that the sentence is longer than those imposed in other cases, this fact alone does not demonstrate a manifest abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court. Moreover, it is important to note that while defendant received the maximum sentence, the trial court suspended 40% of that sentence. Thus, defendant will likely serve far less than the five years imposed. Under the circumstances, the sentence is an acceptable exercise of the trial court’s broad discretion. Therefore, we reinstate the sentence for simple kidnapping as originally imposed. Because defendant argued on appeal that his sentence for indecent behavior is excessive, which issue the court of appeal did not reach because it vacated the underlying conviction, see Shaikh, 15-0687, p. 24, 188 So.3d at 425 (“Shaikh’s assignment of error with respect to the sentence imposed for indecent behavior of a juvenile is moot given our reversal and vacating of same.”), we remand this matter to the court of appeal for consideration of this pretermitted claim.
REVERSED AND REMANDED

 

2016-K -0797 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. KEITH C. KISACK (Parish of Orleans)

Accordingly, we reverse the court of appeal in part to vacate the habitual offender adjudication that immediately followed the failure to observe the statutory sentencing delay and remand this matter to the district court for further proceedings consistent with the views expressed here.
REVERSED IN PART AND REMANDED

 

2016-CK-0939 STATE IN THE INTEREST OF C.T. (Parish of E. Baton Rouge)

The totality of the circumstances here, when viewed in the light most favorable to the State under the due process standard of Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979), sufficed to exclude every reasonable hypothesis of innocence regarding C.T.’s criminal intent. See generally R.S. 15:438; see State v. Jacobs, 504 So.2d 817, 820 (La. 1987) (all direct and circumstantial evidence must meet the Jackson test). Finding no error in the court of appeal’s ruling, we affirm.
AFFIRMED

JOHNSON, C.J., dissents for the reasons assigned by Genovese, J.
GENOVESE, J., dissents and assigns reasons.

 

2017-OK-0081 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. CALVIN LEWIS (Parish of Jefferson)

Finding the evidence sufficient, when viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution under the due process standard of Jackson v. Virginia, for the trial court to reasonably conclude defendant operated his vehicle while intoxicated until it stalled, we reverse the court of appeal and reinstate defendant’s conviction and sentence.
REVERSED

 

2017-B -0453 IN RE: ADAM ANTHONY ABDALLA

Upon review of the findings and recommendations of the hearing committee and disciplinary board, and considering the record, briefs, and oral argument, it is ordered that Adam Anthony Abdalla, Louisiana Bar Roll number 30370, be and he hereby is disbarred, retroactive to October 22, 2014, the date of his interim suspension. His name shall be stricken from the roll of attorneys and his license to practice law in the State of Louisiana shall be revoked. 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.

HUGHES, J., dissents for the reasons given by Crichton, J.
CRICHTON, J., dissents and assigns reasons.
GENOVESE, J., dissents for the reasons assigned by Justice Crichton.

 

2017-B -0874 IN RE: C. MIGNONNE GRIFFING

Upon review of the findings and recommendations of the hearing committee and disciplinary board, and considering the record, briefs, and oral argument, it is ordered that C. Mignonne Griffing, Louisiana Bar Roll number 19601, be and she hereby is suspended from the practice of law for one year and one day. It is further ordered that all but six months of the suspension shall be deferred. Following the active portion of the suspension, respondent shall be placed on unsupervised probation for one year, subject to the conditions set forth in this opinion. The probationary period shall commence from the date respondent and the ODC execute a formal probation plan. Any failure of respondent to comply with the conditions of probation, or any misconduct during the probationary period, may be grounds for making the deferred portion of the suspension executory, or imposing additional discipline, as appropriate. 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 Hillary Crain assigned as Justice ad hoc, sitting for Clark, J., recused.

JOHNSON, C.J., concurs in discipline assigned.
GUIDRY, J., dissents and assigns reasons.



 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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