|FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE
|FROM: CLERK OF SUPREME COURT OF LOUISIANA
The Opinions handed down on the 13th day of March, 2018, are as follows:
BY WEIMER, J.:
2016-KP-0234 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. ROGERS LACAZE (Parish of Orleans)
This matter is currently before the court in light of the remand by the United States Supreme Court in LaCaze v. Louisiana, 138 S.Ct. 60 (2017), which vacated the decision in State v. LaCaze, 16-0234 (La. 12/16/16), 208 So.3d 856, in which the defendant’s writ application related to his petition for post-conviction relief was denied, and the defendant’s conviction was upheld. On remand, this court was instructed to consider whether the trial judge’s recusal should have been required because “objectively speaking, ‘the probability of actual bias on the part of the judge or decisionmaker is too high to be constitutionally tolerable’” under the circumstances. After carefully considering all the facts, we find the defendant has not shown that the circumstances created an unconstitutionally high risk of bias, and the original denial of the defendant’s recusal claim in LaCaze, 16-0234, 208 So.3d 856, is correct.
For the foregoing reasons, we find that the court of appeal correctly reversed the trial court’s order for a new trial and properly reinstated Defendant’s conviction. Defendant’s request for substantive relief is denied.
BY HUGHES, J.:
ERROL G. WILLIAMS, ASSESSOR, PARISH OF ORLEANS v. OPPORTUNITY HOMES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP AND LOUISIANA TAX COMMISSION (Parish of Orleans)
At issue in these consolidated cases is the correctness of administrative decisions issued by the Louisiana Tax Commission (“Commission”) on review of the valuations, for the 2014 and 2015 tax years, by the Orleans Parish Tax Assessor (“Assessor”) of a low-income housing development, owned by Opportunity Homes Limited Partnership (“Opportunity Homes”), for purposes of assessment of ad valorem taxes. The Commission ruled in favor of Opportunity Homes for both tax years. The administrative decisions were upheld by the district court but reversed by the appellate court. Accordingly, we reverse the appellate court rulings and reinstate the Louisiana Tax Commission decisions, modifying the Orleans Parish Assessor’s assessments of the fair market value of the Opportunity Homes Limited Partnership property to $1,525,000 for both the 2014 and 2015 tax year.
APPELLATE COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED; TAX COMMISSION DECISIONS REINSTATED.
WEIMER, J., additionally concurs and assigns reasons.
BY CRICHTON, J.:
2017-O-2008 IN RE: JUSTICE OF THE PEACE JEFF SACHSE WARD 1, LIVINGSTON PARISH STATE OF LOUISIANA
Upon review of the findings and recommendations of the Judiciary Commission, and considering the record filed herein, we find respondent has violated Canons 1 and 2A of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and hereby suspend respondent without pay for six months. Respondent must also pay to the Commission $3,040.02 in costs.
JOHNSON, C.J., concurs.
BY GENOVESE, J.:
IBERVILLE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD v. LOUISIANA STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION AND THE STATE OF LOUISIANA THROUGH THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION C/W LOUISIANA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS, CADDO ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS, CALCASIEU ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS, INC., CONCORDIA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS, THE EAST BATON ROUGE ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS, LAFAYETTE PARISH ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS, MADISON ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS, MONROE ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS, ST. LANDRY ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS, ST. MARY ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS, ANN BURRUSS, REV. OSCAR HAMILTON, DEBORAH HARGRAVE, MELINDA WALLER MANGHAM AND THOMAS TATE v. STATE OF LOUISIANA, THE LOUISIANA STATE BOARD OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION AND THE STATE OF LOUISIANA THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (Parish of E. Baton Rouge)
After de novo review, we find La. Const. art. VIII, § 13, does not prohibit the allocation of state or local MFP funding to New Type 2 charter schools. Accordingly, the declaration of unconstitutionality from the court of appeal is reversed.
JOHNSON, C.J., dissents and assigns reasons.
WEIMER, J., concurs and assigns reasons.
HUGHES, J., dissents with reasons.
2016-KP-1285 STATE OF LOUISIANA v. LANDON D. QUINN (Parish of Orleans)
Here, the eyewitness identified relator from a photographic lineup and testified at two trials. At all times, the eyewitness was adamant that relator was the shooter. He highlighted relator’s eyes, eyebrows, nose, and high cheekbones as the distinctive characteristics leading to his identification. He correctly told the police that they would find no shell casings. The surveillance footage from a nearby business also confirmed the eyewitness’s account that the shooter ran up with his head and lower face obscured by a white t-shirt, leaving the neck hole to expose the portion of the shooter’s face the eyewitness described. It is also significant that the affidavit does not indicate that the eyewitness said the person in the booking photo was not the shooter; the eyewitness simply indicated that the shooter had shorter hair.
Finally, we note that a person with short twists in his hair appears on the surveillance video, and relator had short twists in his hair when arrested 24–48 hours after the shootings. While the affidavit may call into question the eyewitness’s ability to accurately discern the style of hair beneath a t-shirt worn over it, the likelihood of a different result if that information had been used at trial appears conceivable but not substantial, and is insufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome of the second trial. Therefore, we reverse the district court’s ruling that granted relator a new trial and we reinstate relator’s convictions and sentences.
JOHNSON, C.J., dissents and assigns reasons.
2017-CK-0281 STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF R.M. (Parish of Orleans)
Thus, we find that the time afforded to the state to commence the adjudication was suspended during the time in which R.M.’s competency was in question. Cf. State in the Interest of A.C., 17-0182, p. 4 (La. 6/29/17), 225 So.3d 1047, 1049 (“To find the 90-day time limit unsuspended by appellate review would render the appellate review process futile and the court of appeal’s initial ruling here purely academic.”).
The state’s ability to commence the adjudication ceased on December 8, 2015, when the juvenile court stayed the proceedings pursuant to La.Ch.C. art. 832 pending a determination of R.M.’s competency. At that point, just 15 days from R.M.’s appearance had elapsed. R.M. was not found competent to proceed until March 17, 2016. When the juvenile court granted R.M.’s motion to dismiss 48 days later on May 4, 2016, close to a month of the 90-day period provided by La.Ch.C. art. 877 remained. Therefore, the juvenile court prematurely dismissed the petition. Furthermore, we note that the 90-day period has remained suspended by appellate review. See State in the Interest of A.C., supra. Accordingly, we reverse the rulings of the courts below and remand for further proceedings in the juvenile court consistent with the views expressed here.
REVERSED AND REMANDED.
2017-B-1546 IN RE: LAETITIA BLACK
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 Laetitia Black, Louisiana Bar Roll number 28497, be and she hereby is suspended from the practice of law for one year. 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.
HUGHES, J., dissents with reasons.