STATE OF LOUISIANA V. D.G
My client was arrested for Second Degree Murder and was subsequently indicted for manslaughter. According to the police reports and testimony at trial, my client was involved in a verbal altercation outside his home with the deceased. During the altercation, D.G went inside his home and retrieved a deer rifle. D.G. fired one shot from his inside his home striking the deceased in the heart. At the time of his death, the deceased was thirty to fifty yards away from D.G.'s home and no gun or weapon was found on the deceased. After D.G. was arrested, he confessed to killing the deceased and he told the police he did not see the deceased reaching for any weapon. Moreover, D.G. told the police the deceased made no attempt to follow him into his home. D.G faced a maximum of forty years in jail and no plea offer was made other than jail time.
During trial, we established the deceased had harassed and threatened D.G under the mistaken belief D.G. was seeing his girlfriend. Character witnesses were presented at trial to demonstrate D.G. was not violent and was a good moral and upstanding citizen. During closing argument, we argued the homicide was justifiable under La. R.S 14:20. Although no gun was found and our client did not see the deceased reaching for anything, it was argued the jury should consider the totality of the circumstances. Since D.G. had received multiple threats in the past and was involved in a heated argument, his use of force was reasonable, as D.G. did not know what the deceased might do. In addition, it was argued D.J. should not be second guessed or Monday Morning Quarterbacked, as we often make decisions that seem reasonable at the time but in hindsight should not have been made.
The jury returned a verdict of not guilty in fifteen minutes.
STATE OF LOUISIANA V. J.R.
Defendant was indicted for Aggravated Rape, Aggravated Incest on a Child under 13, Aggravated Incest and Oral Sexual Battery and faced a mandatory life sentence without benefit of parole or suspension of sentence.
According to the police reports and testimony produced at trial, the defendant was caught by his wife having sexual relations with his underage stepdaughter. Defendant fled the scene when his wife called the police and he was arrested several days later out of state. Police found seminal fluid on the step-daughter's dress that the defendant allegedly used to clean himself up with. Subsequent test revealed the seminal fluid matched the DNA of the defendant. During the trial, the stepdaughter testified she was sexual abused by her stepfather since the age of ten or eleven.
Defendant's wife wanted defendant arrested and removed from her life so she could access community property and access defendant's private bank account. As a result, it was alleged the wife lied about seeing defendant having sex with her daughter and any seminal fluid found on the child's dress was planted by the wife. In order to corroborate this assertion, the defense was able to establish the wife had accessed and removed funds from defendant's private bank account.
Not Guilty on all counts.
STATE OF LOUISIANA V. L.V.
Defendant was charged with Child Pornography
According to the police reports and testimony produced at trial, child pornography was found on a computer in the defendant's home. Police were able to trace the child pornography to defendant's home, as the child pornography was downloaded from a file sharing program known as Lime Wire. After his arrest, defendant confessed to downloading and viewing the child pornography.
The images of child pornography were found on a computer that had more than one user. It was established the police stopped their investigation once the defendant confessed to the crime. The defense pointed out the police failed to do a complete forensic analysis of the computer. A complete forensic analysis could establish user patterns and demonstrate which user actually downloaded the child pornography images.
The defense also established defendant's confession was a false. At the time of his arrest, defendant was seventeen or eighteen years old and it was argued his age made him more susceptible to giving a false confession. To drive this point home to the jury, the defense demonstrated the defendant's statement was not corroborated by the facts. In his statement to the police, defendant contended he downloaded over five hundred images of child pornography. The computer containing the pornography only contained approximately fourteen separate images of child pornography. If the defendant actually downloaded the images, he would have known how many images were on the computer.
Verdict: Not Guilty
STATE OF LOUISIANA V. D.T.
Defendant was charged with Simple Burglary
Defendant was allegedly captured on video breaking into the fenced-in yard of a Walmart and removing items from the store property. A second individual was seen on tape watching the burglary. During trial, the witness testified the defendant was the one seen on the video breaking into Walmart's yard. Upon his arrest, the defendant confessed to the crime.
The defense argued that although the video may have looked like the defendant in size and shape, a juror could not conclude with any certainty he was the person on the video. The defense also challenged the credibility of the eyewitness, as the witness had prior narcotic convictions. Further, the witness was destitute and homeless. Before his testimony, the police transported the witness to trial and bought the witness food. It was argued the witness would say anything for a burger.
Finally, it was argued the defendant's confession was false. At the time of his arrest, defendant was being transported to rehab facility and the defense contended the defendant was under the influence of drugs when he confessed. Thus, the confession should be looked at skeptically. To demonstrate this point, the defense showed discrepancies between the confession and the actual facts of the case. In his confession, the defendant stated he climbed over the fence to steal the items. The video of the burglary showed the actual perpetrator walked through the gate and the fence.
Verdict: Not Guilty
STATE OF LOUISIANA V. F.D.
Indicted for Second Degree Murder
The deceased was killed during a botched armed robbery and burglary of his home. During the initial investigation, the police developed the defendant as a suspect as a witness indicated the defendant was bragging about being a participant in the murder. As result, the police brought the defendant in for questioning. During the questioning, defendant confessed to participating in the crime.
Representation of the Defendant
At the time of the offense and the confession to the crime, defendant was approximately fifteen to sixteen years old. Defendant's confession was video recorded and this would become crucial to the defendant's case. The Detectives on the case were from the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office and they obtained the defendant's confession at the Slidell Police Department. The Defense contended the Detectives did not know Slidell Police videotaped the statement as the detectives would later audio record the ladder part of the defendant's statement.
The video statement demonstrated the defendant initially knew nothing about the case. Instead, the detectives threaten the defendant with a life sentence and spoon-fed certain facts to the defendant. At one point during the interview, the detectives left the room and the defendant told his mother he was guessing as to what the detectives wanted to hear. After a lengthy period of time and after versing the defendant on the facts of the case, the detectives began to audio tape the defendant's statement.
During our representation of the defendant, we were able to obtain the complete video statement from the Slidell Police Department. We carefully went over the video interview and we were able to show the defendant had limited knowledge of the murder prior to his audio statement to the police. Any knowledge he obtained, was directly obtained from the police. The video demonstrated the police threatened the defendant with a life sentence if he did not confess. Unbeknownst to the police, the video showed how the complete confession was obtained and demonstrated the confession was false.
Finally, one of the co-defendants wrote a letter to his girlfriend while he was incarcerated. In the letter, the co-defendant admitted to participating in the murder and mentioned the nicknames of two other individuals who participated in the murder. The defense was able to establish, the defendant did not go by any of the nicknames in the letter. Thus, the letter established defendant's lack of participation in the crime.
State Dismissed the Charge
STATE OF LOUISIANA V. M.J.
Charge: Aggravated Incest
Defendant was charged with touching his stepdaughter inappropriately.
The defense argued the charges stemmed from an ongoing custody dispute between defendant's wife and her ex-husband.
Verdict: Not Guilty
STATE V. F.S.
Charge two Counts of Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile
The defendant was accused of having sexual relations with two teenage girls.
The defense contended the allegations were influenced by one of the teenage girls' mother who had a dispute with the defendant. The defense argued the police did not do a thorough investigation and accepted the charges at face value due to the nature of the charges and the defendant's prior record. A thorough investigation by the police would have revealed motive for making false allegations.
Verdict: Not Guilty to both Counts
STATE OF LOUISIANA V. M.A.
Charge: Indecent Behavior of a Juvenile
Defendant was accused of molesting his teenage niece when she came to visit defendant's father's home.
The defense was able to demonstrate the accuser had mental health issues and it was alleged the accuser lacked credibility due to her health issues. In addition, the defendant's family testified the defendant was not living in the family home when the allegations allegedly occurred.
Verdict: Not Guilty
STATE OF LOUISIANA V. K.P.
Charge: Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Defendant was charged with failing to comply with registering as a sex offender in the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office.
The defense presented evidence the defendant had complied with the registration requirements over a lengthy period of time. During the time period he was accused of failing to register, he had complied with other registration requirements for the State Police. The defense also presented evidence the person in charge of registration requirements with the Sheriff's Department had been relieved of employment and it was alleged this person failed to maintain the records properly.