From Casetext: Smarter Legal Research

State v. Garrott

STATE OF LOUISIANA COURT OF APPEAL FIRST CIRCUIT
Nov 9, 2015
2015 KA 0116 (La. Ct. App. Nov. 9, 2015)

Opinion

2015 KA 0116

11-09-2015

STATE OF LOUISIANA v. CHRISTOPHER SCOTT GARROTT

Warren Montgomery District Attorney Covington, LA and Kathryn W. Landry Special Appeals Counsel Baton Rouge, LA Attorneys for Plaintiff/Appellee State of Louisiana Bertha M. Hillman Louisiana Appellate Project Thibodeaux, LA Attorney for Defendant/Appellant Christopher Scott Garrott Christopher Scott Garrott Kinder, LA Defendant/Appellant Self-Represented Litigant


NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION On Appeal from the Twenty-Second Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana
No. 542259
The Honorable Raymond S. Childress, Judge Presiding Warren Montgomery
District Attorney
Covington, LA
and
Kathryn W. Landry
Special Appeals Counsel
Baton Rouge, LA
Attorneys for Plaintiff/Appellee
State of Louisiana
Bertha M. Hillman
Louisiana Appellate Project
Thibodeaux, LA
Attorney for Defendant/Appellant
Christopher Scott Garrott
Christopher Scott Garrott
Kinder, LA
Defendant/Appellant
Self-Represented Litigant
BEFORE: GUIDRY, HOLDRIDGE, AND CHUTZ, JJ. HOLDRIDGE, J.

The defendant, Christopher Scott Garrott, was charged by bill of information with simple burglary, a violation of La. R.S. 14:62. He pled not guilty and, following a jury trial, was found guilty of the responsive offense of attempted simple burglary. See La. R.S. 14:27. The State subsequently filed a habitual offender bill of information. The defendant waived the habitual offender hearing and admitted to the prior convictions in the habitual offender bill of information. The defendant was adjudicated a fourth-felony habitual offender and sentenced to twenty-five years imprisonment at hard labor. The defendant now appeals, designating one counseled assignment of error and four pro se assignments of error. We affirm the conviction, adjudication as a fourth-felony habitual offender, and sentence.

The defendant had prior convictions, all from guilty pleas, for simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling (ten counts); possession of stolen property (valued $100 to $500); distribution of marijuana; and possession of hydrocodone, methamphetamine, and MDMA.

FACTS

On October 23, 2013, Gil Fremin, a detective with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, was coming home with his daughter from ball practice at about 6:30 p.m. Fremin lives on Dundee Street in a wooded, secluded part of Abita Springs. As he drove up his driveway, Fremin saw that the door on his shed was open. Fremin's shed was a detached structure about fifty yards from his house and, according to his testimony at trial, the door on the shed was always closed. Fremin went inside his house for several minutes, then went back outside to close the door to the shed. When he got to the shed, he heard noises in the woods coming from about one hundred yards away. He could hear thrashing, and branches breaking. Fremin retrieved a flashlight, discovered where the noise was coming from, and saw a man, later identified as the defendant, run out of the woods toward La. Hwy. 36. Fremin yelled for the defendant to stop.

Fremin called the sheriff's office, and several deputies and detectives from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office went to the scene. Officers set up a perimeter around the woods. Subsequently, an officer with a K-9 was sent into the woods, and Air One, a search helicopter with a thermal detector, from the sheriff's office was sent to the scene. Corporal Mark Liberto, with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office and part of the search team in the woods, found the defendant lying on the ground. The defendant was handcuffed and escorted out of the woods. Fremin identified the defendant as the person he saw running into the woods.

Upon examination of his shed, Fremin found that several items had been moved around, including some power tools. However, nothing from the shed had been taken.

The defendant did not testify at trial.

COUNSELED (and pro se) ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR

In his pro se brief, the defendant adopts this counseled assignment of error as his own.

In this assignment of error, the defendant argues the trial court erred in denying the motion to reconsider his sentence, which he alleges is constitutionally excessive.

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, § 20 of the Louisiana Constitution prohibit the imposition of cruel or excessive punishment. Although a sentence falls within statutory limits, it may be excessive. State v. Sepulvado, 367 So.2d 762, 767 (La. 1979). A sentence is considered constitutionally excessive if it is grossly disproportionate to the seriousness of the offense or is nothing more than a purposeless and needless infliction of pain and suffering. A sentence is considered grossly disproportionate if, when the crime and punishment are considered in light of the harm done to society, it shocks the sense of justice. State v. Andrews, 94-0842 (La. App. 1st Cir. 5/5/95), 655 So.2d 448, 454. The trial court has great discretion in imposing a sentence within the statutory limits, and such a sentence will not be set aside as excessive in the absence of a manifest abuse of discretion. See State v. Holts, 525 So.2d 1241, 1245 (La. App. 1st Cir. 1988). Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 894.1 sets forth the factors for the trial court to consider when imposing a sentence. While the entire checklist of La. Code of Crim. P. art. 894.1 need not be recited, the record must reflect the trial court adequately considered the criteria. State v. Brown, 2002-2231 (La. App. 1st Cir. 5/9/03), 849 So.2d 566, 569.

The articulation of the factual basis for a sentence is the goal of La. Code Crim. P. art. 894.1, not rigid or mechanical compliance with its provisions. Where the record clearly shows an adequate factual basis for the sentence imposed, remand is unnecessary even where there has not been full compliance with La. Code Crim. P. art. 894.1. State v. Lanclos, 419 So.2d 475, 478 (La. 1982). The trial judge should review the defendant's personal history, his prior criminal record, the seriousness of the offense, the likelihood that he will commit another crime, and his potential for rehabilitation through correctional services other than confinement. See State v. Jones, 398 So.2d 1049, 1051-52 (La. 1981). On appellate review of a sentence, the relevant question is whether the trial court abused its broad sentencing discretion, not whether another sentence might have been more appropriate. State v. Thomas, 98-1144 (La. 10/9/98), 719 So.2d 49, 50 (per curiam).

Having been adjudicated a fourth-felony habitual offender, the defendant faced a sentence of not less than twenty years and not more than his natural life. See La. R.S. 15:529.1(A)(4)(a). The trial court imposed a twenty-five-year sentence at hard labor.

The defendant argues in his brief that he never committed a crime of violence and has convictions only for simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, possession of stolen property, and "two drug charges." According to the defendant, he has been "crime free" for eight years (before the instant offense) and that the twenty-five-year sentence "makes no meaningful contribution to acceptable goals of punishment and is nothing more than a purposeless and needless imposition of pain and suffering." The defendant suggests he should not be in prison, but in a drug treatment facility. Although within its statutory limits, the defendant argues his sentence is constitutionally excessive. Citing to State v. Dorthey, 623 So.2d 1276 (La. 1993), the defendant points out that the district court has "the authority to reduce any of the mandatory minimum sentences provided by the multiple offender statute for a particular offense and offender status when such terms would violate the defendant's constitutional protection against excessive punishment."

In Dorthey, 623 So.2d at 1280-81, the Louisiana Supreme Court opined that if a trial judge were to find that the punishment mandated by La. R.S. 15:529.1 makes no "measurable contribution to acceptable goals of punishment" or that the sentence amounted to nothing more than "the purposeful imposition of pain and suffering" and is "grossly out of proportion to the severity of the crime," he has the option, indeed the duty, to reduce such sentence to one that would not be constitutionally excessive. In State v. Johnson, 97-1906 (La. 3/4/98), 709 So.2d 672, 676-77, the Louisiana Supreme Court re-examined the issue of when Dorthey permits a downward departure from the mandatory minimum sentences in the Habitual Offender Law.

A sentencing judge must always start with the presumption that a mandatory minimum sentence under the Habitual Offender Law is constitutional. A court may only depart from the minimum sentence if it finds that there is clear and convincing evidence in the particular case before it which would rebut this presumption of constitutionality. A trial judge may not rely solely upon the nonviolent nature of the instant crime or of past crimes as evidence which justifies rebutting the presumption of constitutionality. While the classification of a defendant's instant or prior offenses as nonviolent should not be discounted, this factor has already been taken into account under the Habitual Offender Law for third and fourth offenders. Johnson, 709 So.2d at 676.

To rebut the presumption that the mandatory minimum sentence is constitutional, the defendant must clearly and convincingly show that he is exceptional, which means that because of unusual circumstances this defendant is a victim of the legislature's failure to assign sentences that are meaningfully tailored to the culpability of the offender, the gravity of the offense, and the circumstances of the case. Given the legislature's constitutional authority to enact statutes such as the Habitual Offender Law, it is not the role of the sentencing court to question the wisdom of the legislature in requiring enhanced punishments for multiple offenders. Instead, the sentencing court is only allowed to determine whether the particular defendant before it has proven that the mandatory minimum sentence is so excessive in his case that it violates the constitution. Departures downward from the minimum sentence under the Habitual Offender Law should occur only in rare situations. Johnson, 709 So.2d at 676-77.

It is clear in its reasons for the sentence that the trial court considered La. Code Crim. P. art. 894.1, including the defendant's criminal history, in arriving at an appropriate sentence:

[H]e's now being sentenced in accordance with the Provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 894.1, Multiple Offender Bill of Information, which has been prepared and filed into the record. It indicates numerous occasions where this defendant -- the first allegation was simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling back in '88.
In '97, he had possession of stolen property.
In 2007, again, simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling.
And then, a couple of drug charges.
Considering that and considering the conviction that the defendant had here which I've previously referenced, the defendant obviously has a pattern of entering into other people's property and availing himself to the contents therein.
Fortunately, in this case, there was no real interaction with any of the victims. But given this pattern and given the fact that there appears to be no instance where this defendant has been rehabilitated, The Court thinks that the appropriate sentence, relative to the Multiple Offender Bill, in accordance with Revised Statute 15:529.1, et seq., I would sentence the defendant to twenty-five (25) years with the Department of Corrections and give him credit for time served.
And obviously, to impose a lesser sentence would deprecate the seriousness of the offense.
While he is in the custody of the Department of Corrections, I think it would -- given the last two Bills of Information -- actually, guilty pleas dealing with drugs, I think that it would be incumbent that the defendant avail himself to any and all substance abuse treatment available to him while he is in custody of the DOC.
It would probably be beneficial if he also has some type of vocational, technical training that might be available to him.

Considering the trial court's reasons for sentencing, and the defendant's repeated criminality, we find no abuse of discretion by the trial court. There is nothing particularly unusual about the defendant's circumstances that would justify a downward departure from the mandatory minimum sentence. The defendant has not proven by clear and convincing evidence that he is exceptional such that a twenty-five-year sentence would not be meaningfully tailored to the culpability of the offender, the gravity of the offense, and the circumstances of the case. See Johnson, 709 So.2d at 676. Accordingly, no downward departure from the presumptively constitutional sentence is warranted. The sentence imposed is not grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense and, therefore, is not unconstitutionally excessive.

Because we find the sentence is not excessive, the trial court did not err in denying the motion to reconsider sentence.

This assignment of error is without merit.

PRO SE ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 2

In his second pro se assignment of error, the defendant argues the trial court committed reversible error in finding part of a written statement to be inadmissible hearsay. Specifically, the defendant contends that because this specific statement was not introduced at trial, he was denied the constitutional right to present a defense, pursuant to the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and La. Const. art. I, § 16.

Deputy Thomas Schlesinger, with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, testified at trial that he was one of the officers dispatched to Fremin's house. Deputy Schlesinger was on the perimeter of the property near La. Hwy. 36 when the defendant was escorted by officers out of the woods onto Dundee Street. Deputy Schlesinger took custody of the defendant at that point, placed him under arrest, and transported him to jail. The following day, Deputy Schlesinger drafted a probable cause determination to be signed by a judge. The probable cause determination, which was not introduced at trial, but proffered for appellate purposes, stated the following:

Pursuant to being dispatched to the scene of a burglary at 71222 Dundee Street, it was learned w/m Garrott, Christopher was observed by the homeowner/victim, to have entered his undetached [sic] shed and move items around. Upon the victim making contact with the subject Mr. Garrott was observed to flee to the adjacent wooded area where he was later located by K-9 and Deputies to be hiding. Subject advised he was in the immediate area looking for scrap metal.

On cross-examination, Deputy Schlesinger read aloud to the jury the entirety of the probable cause determination, except for the last sentence ("Subject advised he was in the immediate area looking for scrap metal."). Before the deputy could read this last sentence, the State objected to admission of this portion of the probable cause determination, i.e., the last sentence, on the grounds of hearsay. The trial court sustained the objection, and this last sentence was not allowed to be heard (or seen) by the jury.

In his pro se brief, the defendant offers no argument of why the statement (the last sentence of the probable cause determination) at issue is not hearsay or falls under an exception to the hearsay rule. He simply recites hearsay law. Without addressing whether the statement was hearsay or not, the defendant argues that, regardless, the statement should have been allowed into evidence and that the ruling by the trial court "rose to the level of an impingement of the defendant's right to present a defense at trial." The defendant continues in his brief:

The defense's theory was that the defendant was a scrapper out looking for scrap metal and upon being observed by Mr. [Fremin], he fled. When arrested, the defendant informed that the arresting officer, Thomas Schlesinger that he was in the area of Mr. Gilbert [Fremin]'s property on October 23, 2013 looking for scrap metal. . . . The trial court sustained the objection and as a result, the defendant was not able to put his defense before the jury.

Hearsay evidence is evidence of an out-of-court, unsworn, oral or written statement made by a person other than the testifying witness which is offered for the truth of its content. La. Code Evid. art. 801(C); State v. Veal, 583 So.2d 901, 903 (La. App. 1st Cir. 1991). However, if offered for any other purpose, then the statement is not hearsay. State v. Byrd, 540 So.2d 1110, 1113 (La. App. 1st Cir.), writ denied, 546 So.2d 169 (La. 1989).

We find that Deputy Schlesinger's testimony as to the contents of his probable cause determination (including the unread portion "Subject advised he was in the immediate area looking for scrap metal.") was not hearsay. The text of the probable cause determination was not offered for the truth of its content, but was merely adduced to show what information Deputy Schlesinger had obtained, which established probable cause for the defendant's arrest. Accordingly, the trial court erred in sustaining the State's objection on the grounds of hearsay. The error, however, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt because the guilty verdict rendered in this case was surely unattributable to the error. See La. Code Crim. P. art. 921; Sullivan v. Louisiana, 508 U.S. 275, 279, 113 S.Ct. 2078, 2081, 124 L.Ed.2d 182 (1993).

Curiously, it appears to us that the statement at issue was inculpatory, rather than exculpatory. This so-called defense of the defendant, if anything, was an admission by the defendant that he went onto someone else's property, without the owner's permission, looking for items that did not belong to him; as such, these actions by the defendant may well have placed into the minds of the jurors that he had the intent to commit a theft.

It seems a proper objection by the State would have been to the relevancy of the contents of the probable cause determination. See La. Code Evid. art. 402. Further, the State could have requested the trial court to issue a limiting instruction to the jury that the defendant's statement was not offered for its truth. --------

Based on the foregoing, we find the defendant was not precluded from presenting a defense. Accordingly, this pro se assignment of error is without merit.

PRO SE ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 3

In his third pro se assignment of error, the defendant argues he was entitled to a twelve-person jury because he was facing mandatory hard labor as a fourth-felony habitual offender.

The defendant was tried by a six-person jury for the crime of simple burglary, a relative felony (a crime punishable with or without hard labor). See La. R.S. 14:62(B) & La. Code Crim. P. art. 782(A). The defendant asserts he was offered a plea deal of five years at hard labor and that he declined the deal. The State then, according to the defendant, "made it abundantly clear" that if it got a conviction, it would file a habitual offender bill of information. Such an enhanced sentence as a habitual offender, the defendant points out, would require a sentence at hard labor. The defendant argues that since he was facing hard labor as a habitual offender and that, even with a guilty plea, he was facing hard labor, he was entitled to a twelve-person jury. See La. Const. art. I, § 17; La. Code Crim. P. art. 782(A).

This assertion is baseless. While it has no effect on our analysis, we note it appears hard labor was not brought up regarding the plea offer (although it is very likely the sentence would have been at hard labor), as indicated by the following exchange at a pretrial hearing regarding the State's offer:

THE STATE: Your Honor, Nick Noriea on behalf of The State. We've offered Mr. Garrott to plead guilty, as charged, to five (5) years on a burglary charge.
He's declined that offer. But I'd like to put, on the record, that his prior convictions make it a mandatory life sentence.
So if we go to trial and he is convicted on circumstantial evidence, which is good evidence, The State intends to multiple bill him and this Court has no discretion to get a life sentence.
So that when, if and when, he's convicted and they start looking for Dorothy Dahmer (sic) departures and everything, I'm just advising The Court and everyone else that he has his chance today.

MR. SIMS: Darrell Sims representing Mr. Christopher Garrott.
Mr. Garrott understands the plea deal and I'd like him to address The Court as to whether or not he would like to accept the plea offer of five (5) years, with no multiple bill, on the charge of simple burglary.

DEFENDANT GARROTT: With all due respect, I'm not going to accept it.

THE COURT: All right. That's fine. The record so reflects. We're just covering that to make sure that everybody is understanding, and more importantly, to make sure what the offer is and the fact that, if you are convicted and they choose to multiple-bill you, that your future is not going to look real bright. Okay.

MR. SIMS: And I'd like him to say that you do decline.

DEFENDANT GARROTT: I do decline the plea; the plea offer.

In any event, it is the instant offense the defendant was charged with (simple burglary) that is determinative of the number of jurors to which he was entitled for a trial by jury. That the defendant faced a sentence necessarily at hard labor as a habitual offender had no bearing on whether he was entitled to a six-person or twelve-person jury. As explained almost forty years ago by our supreme court in State v. Sherer, 354 So.2d 1038, 1039-40 (La. 1978):

The habitual offender proceeding is not applicable until after a person has been convicted of a felony within this [S]tate. La. R.S. 15:529.1(A) and (D). Thereafter, the filing of an information accusing the convicted felon of a previous conviction(s) is discretionary with the district attorney. La. R.S. 15:529.1(D). Hence, the habitual offender proceeding is a separate proceeding applicable only after conviction and then at the discretion of the district attorney. It forms no part of the punishment of the criminal case involving defendant's guilt or innocence; therefore, it has no bearing on the determination of the number of persons comprising the jury for the trial of the case.

This pro se assignment is without merit.

PRO SE ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 4

In his fourth pro se assignment of error, the defendant argues the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction for simple burglary or the responsive offense of attempted simple burglary.

A conviction based on insufficient evidence cannot stand as it violates Due Process. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV; La. Const. art. I, § 2. The standard of review for the sufficiency of the evidence to uphold a conviction is whether or not, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). See La. Code Crim. P. art. 821(B); State v. Ordodi, 2006-0207 (La. 11/29/06), 946 So.2d 654, 660; State v. Mussall, 523 So.2d 1305, 1308-09 (La. 1988). The Jackson standard of review, incorporated in Article 821, is an objective standard for testing the overall evidence, both direct and circumstantial, for reasonable doubt. When analyzing circumstantial evidence, La. R.S. 15:438 provides that the factfinder must be satisfied the overall evidence excludes every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. See State v. Patorno, 2001-2585 (La. App. 1st Cir. 6/21/02), 822 So.2d 141, 144.

Simple burglary is the unauthorized entering of any dwelling, vehicle, watercraft, or other structure, movable or immovable, or any cemetery, with the intent to commit a felony or any theft therein. See La. 14:62(A).

Specific intent to commit a felony or theft is required for attempted simple burglary. La. R.S. 14:27 and 14:62; State v. Jones, 426 So.2d 1323, 1325 (La. 1983); State v. Marcello, 385 So.2d 244, 245 (La. 1980). Specific intent is that state of mind which exists when the circumstances indicate that the offender actively desired the prescribed criminal consequences to follow his act or failure to act. La. R.S. 14:10(1). Such state of mind can be formed in an instant. State v. Cousan, 94-2503 (La. 11/25/96), 684 So.2d 382, 390. Specific intent need not be proven as a fact, but may be inferred from the circumstances of the transaction and the actions of defendant. State v. Graham, 420 So.2d 1126, 1127 (La. 1982). The existence of specific intent is an ultimate legal conclusion to be resolved by the trier of fact. State v. McCue, 484 So.2d 889, 892 (La. App. 1st Cir. 1986).

An attempt is defined in La. R.S. 14:27, which provides in pertinent part:

A. Any person who, having a specific intent to commit a crime, does or omits an act for the purpose of and tending directly toward the accomplishing of his object is guilty of an attempt to commit the offense intended; and it shall be immaterial whether, under the circumstances, he would have actually accomplished his purpose.

B. (1) Mere preparation to commit a crime shall not be sufficient to constitute an attempt.
Accordingly, to be found guilty of attempted simple burglary, a defendant must have a specific intent to make an unauthorized entry of any dwelling, vehicle, watercraft, or other structure to commit a felony or any theft therein. See State v. Davis, 546 So.2d 843, 847 (La. App. 1st Cir. 1989).

In his pro se brief, the defendant suggests that, while the State proved that he was near the area of Fremin's shed, the State did not prove that he entered the shed or that he had the intent to commit a theft. Fremin checked on his opened shed about thirty minutes after he got home. It would have been unreasonable, according to the defendant, for the jury to have concluded that he was in the shed when Fremin "arrived home and after thirty minutes to still have been there." The defendant asserts there is no evidence to prove he committed any crime other than trespassing.

Fremin lived in a heavily wooded, secluded part of Abita Springs with only several other houses nearby. The defendant, and only the defendant, was spotted by Fremin running on his property. It took the police about one hour to find the defendant. According to Deputy Schlesinger, when the defendant was finally caught, he was nowhere near Fremin's property. The police helicopter with a thermal detector flying over the wooded areas detected only the defendant's heat signature in the woods. The evidence established there was no one else in that wooded area except for the defendant (notwithstanding other homeowners and their families). With the evidence that the shed door was opened, several tools moved around in the shed, and Fremin testimony that the door was always closed, a rational juror could have reasonably concluded that it was the defendant who went inside Fremin's shed. The jury was then tasked with deciding whether the defendant had the specific intent to commit a theft in Fremin's shed.

Based on the defendant's actions on Fremin's property and the circumstances of this particular case, a rational juror could have reasonably concluded the defendant went inside Fremin's shed with the specific intent to take property that did not belong to him. See Graham, 420 So.2d at 1127. Having moved things around in the shed, it was clear the defendant was looking for something, perhaps something small enough to be able to carry back to his car. In any event, given part of defense counsel's closing statement indicating the defendant was in the area looking for scrap metal (perhaps, copper) and that it takes only an instant to form specific intent, see Cousan, 684 So.2d at 390, it was not unreasonable for the jury to conclude the defendant went inside Fremin's shed, if only for a brief amount of time and despite not haven taken anything, with the specific intent to commit a theft.

The trier of fact is free to accept or reject, in whole or in part, the testimony of any witness. Moreover, when there is conflicting testimony about factual matters, the resolution of which depends upon a determination of the credibility of the witnesses, the matter is one of the weight of the evidence, not its sufficiency. The trier of fact's determination of the weight to be given evidence is not subject to appellate review. An appellate court will not reweigh the evidence to overturn a factfinder's determination of guilt. State v. Taylor, 97-2261 (La. App. 1st Cir. 9/25/98), 721 So.2d 929, 932. We are constitutionally precluded from acting as a "thirteenth juror" in assessing what weight to give evidence in criminal cases. See State v. Mitchell, 99-3342 (La. 10/17/00), 772 So.2d 78, 83. The fact that the record contains evidence which conflicts with the testimony accepted by a trier of fact does not render the evidence accepted by the trier of fact insufficient. State v. Quinn, 479 So.2d 592, 596 (La. App. 1st Cir. 1985).

When a case involves circumstantial evidence and the trier of fact reasonably rejects the hypothesis of innocence presented by the defense, that hypothesis falls, and the defendant is guilty unless there is another hypothesis which raises a reasonable doubt. State v. Moten, 510 So.2d 55, 61 (La. App. 1st Cir.), writ denied, 514 So.2d 126 (La. 1987). The jury's verdict reflected the reasonable conclusion that the defendant entered Fremin's property, came upon his shed, went inside the shed looking for something to take and either decided he did not want anything or ran off when he heard Fremin driving up to his house, or when he heard Fremin walking toward his shed. In finding the defendant guilty, the jury clearly rejected the defense's theory of innocence (or that the most he was doing was trespassing). See Moten, 510 So.2d at 61.

After a thorough review of the record, we find the evidence supports the jury's guilty verdict. We are convinced that viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, any rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt, and to the exclusion of every reasonable hypothesis of innocence, that the defendant was guilty of attempted simple burglary. See State v. Calloway, 2007-2306 (La. 1/21/09), 1 So.3d 417, 418 (per curiam).

This pro se assignment of error is without merit.

CONCLUSION

For all of the foregoing reasons, we affirm the conviction, habitual offender adjudication, and sentence of the defendant, Christopher Garrott. CONVICTION, ADJUDICATION AS A FOURTH-FELONY HABITUAL OFFENDER, AND SENTENCE AFFIRMED.


Summaries of

State v. Garrott

STATE OF LOUISIANA COURT OF APPEAL FIRST CIRCUIT
Nov 9, 2015
2015 KA 0116 (La. Ct. App. Nov. 9, 2015)
Case details for

State v. Garrott

Case Details

Full title:STATE OF LOUISIANA v. CHRISTOPHER SCOTT GARROTT

Court:STATE OF LOUISIANA COURT OF APPEAL FIRST CIRCUIT

Date published: Nov 9, 2015

Citations

2015 KA 0116 (La. Ct. App. Nov. 9, 2015)