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State of Louisiana v. Christian A. Satterfield
Case Number: 53,809-KA
Judge: E. Joseph Bleich
Court: COURT OF APPEAL
STATE OF LOUISIANA
Plaintiff's Attorney: WILLIAM C. GASKINS
ALEX L. PORUBSKY
Assistant District Attorneys
Shreveport LA - Criminal defense attorney represented Christian Satterfield with an aggravated battery charge
The record shows that on the evening of September 14, 2018,
Shreveport police officers responded to a 911 call regarding a stabbing at the
Stone Forks restaurant parking lot in Shreveport. The officers were directed
to a nearby Circle K store to contact the victim, Bobby Frasier, who
informed officers that defendant had attacked him with a knife, causing
wounds to his head and arm. Defendant was arrested the next day and
admitted to the investigating officer that he stabbed Frasier with a knife.
Defendant was subsequently charged with aggravated battery.
At trial, Bobby Frasier gave the following testimony: Frasier and
Joseph Cockrell had been dating since December 2017, and had broken up
just before this incident occurred; Frasier did not know defendant and had
not met him before; on September 14, 2018, Frasier texted Cockrell via cell
phone about returning Cockrell’s laptop and PlayStation game console to
him; they agreed that Frasier would bring the items to Cockrell at the Stone
Forks restaurant after work at 10:00 p.m.; Frasier asked Lindsey Parker, his
friend since childhood, to drive him to meet Cockrell; when they arrived in
the restaurant parking lot that night, no one was outside; Frasier texted
Cockrell, but did not get a response; when someone walked outside the
building and approached them, Frasier assumed the person was Cockrell and 2
stepped out of the car; Frasier then realized it was defendant, who asked
Frasier for Cockrell’s belongings; Frasier refused to hand them over because
he had never met defendant before and was uncomfortable giving him
Cockrell’s belongings. Defendant responded by suddenly, and without
hesitation, striking Frasier in the head; with the falling rain, Frasier was
initially unaware that he was bleeding and simply thought that he had been
punched in the head. Frasier, unarmed but upset, followed his attacker as he
ran to another vehicle in the parking lot; defendant then struck Frasier in the
arm and entered his vehicle; he almost backed over Frasier as he was leaving
the parking lot.
Frasier returned to Parker’s vehicle, where Parker was on the phone
with police; they initially attempted to follow defendant, but then stopped at
a Circle K store down the street and waited for the police and paramedics to
arrive. Frasier was transported to the emergency room and received four
stitches in his arm; the wound in his head was near his eye, so the doctors
used glue instead of stitches; Frasier identified State’s Exhibit 1 as pictures
taken by Parker that showed his injuries; he thought Cockrell worked at
Stone Forks, did not know that defendant worked there and did not call him
there; the police did not ask Frasier to save the text messages from Cockrell
and they were eventually erased from his phone. Frasier followed defendant
to ask why he hit him; Frasier had no intent to harm defendant and had not
threatened him verbally or physically.
Lindsey Parker testified as follows: on September 14, 2018, she
drove Frasier to the Stone Forks restaurant so that he could return items to
his ex-boyfriend, Cockrell; Parker felt that Frasier was upset and hurt about
the breakup; based on what Frasier told her about the agreed meeting, Parker 3
was expecting Cockrell to walk out of the building; Parker was aware that
defendant and Cockrell were dating, but she did not know defendant at that
time; when defendant walked out of the building, he appeared calm; Parker
heard defendant say that he would get Cockrell’s things, and Frasier refused
to give the items to anyone but Cockrell; she did not recall the conversation
being heated and did not recall hearing any negative words, but things
became physical “really quickly and unexpectedly”; Parker watched as
defendant walked up and suddenly stabbed Frasier in the head; Parker never
saw Frasier get physically or verbally aggressive with defendant; she did not
know that defendant had any weapon until she saw the blood coming from
Frasier’s head; Parker saw that defendant ran to his truck and that Frasier ran
after him, but did not see Frasier get struck a second time in the arm.
Parker was already on the phone with the police when Frasier returned
to her vehicle and wanted to follow defendant; she was shaking too badly to
pursue defendant, so she pulled into a Circle K gas station several blocks
away, and they waited for the police and paramedics; she accompanied
Frasier to the hospital, where they learned that Frasier’s wounds were not as
bad as they thought; Parker did not see that Frasier was armed with anything
and did not see Frasier attack defendant; Parker maintained that defendant
was the aggressor; Frasier was still upset about the breakup as they drove to
meet Cockrell; Frasier told Parker that the attacker’s name was Christian
Satterfield as she was speaking with the police on the phone. Parker
acknowledged prior convictions for possession of Xanax and Lortab, simple
battery, and driving while intoxicated, and that she had charges pending, but
denied being promised any inducements or leniency in exchange for her 4
testimony. Parker denied being under the influence of anything at the time
of the incident, and at trial.
Shreveport patrol officers Jemela Freeman and Andre Wilson testified
that they responded to the 911 call of a stabbing at the Stone Forks
restaurant. After arriving at the empty parking lot of the business, they were
redirected to the nearby Circle K gas station, where they found Frasier and
Parker. Officer Freeman observed that Frasier seemed frantic. Both officers
observed the wounds to Frasier’s head and arm, and Officer Freeman noted
that there was blood everywhere. Officer Freeman testified that Frasier said
he had gone to the restaurant to return some belongings to his ex-boyfriend,
but was met by his ex’s new boyfriend, defendant, who wanted to take the
items. Frasier told the officers that he refused to give defendant the items
because he wanted to give them to the owner; Parker told the officers that
defendant pulled out an unknown sharp object and stabbed Frasier twice,
once in the head and once in the arm. Along with this testimony, the jury
viewed the dash cam video from Officer Freeman’s police vehicle that
contained the voices of Frasier and Parker describing the incident.
Shreveport police investigator Marlon Clark testified about his
investigation into the incident as follows: he attempted to record his 15-
minute interview with defendant but the machine failed to properly record;
he used his handwritten notes taken during the interview to prepare his
report and he was still in possession of his notes, which he had not turned
over to the district attorney’s office; defendant said in his statement that he
was working at Stone Forks that day, and he had received several
threatening phone calls from Frazier on the restaurant phone; defendant said
that after closing the restaurant at 10:00 p.m., he went outside and was 5
confronted by Frasier; initially, defendant told the officer that he was
unarmed and that he did not stab Frasier, but that he may have punched
Frasier; defendant later admitted that he had a steak knife from the restaurant
on his person and that when Frasier confronted him, he stabbed Frasier with
it before he fled the scene; defendant said that he brought the steak knife
with him because he was worried that Frasier was going to be there and then
returned the knife to Stone Forks; when asked why he did not call the police
after Frasier made the phone calls and confronted him at the restaurant,
defendant told the officer that he did not have an answer; he (Officer Clark)
did not obtain Frasier’s phone to verify a call to the restaurant and did not
obtain a search warrant, but agreed that if there was evidence that Frasier
was calling Stone Forks, such evidence might indicate that Frasier instigated
the conflict; Officer Clark also confirmed that none of the police officers had
attempted to take pictures of the items that Frasier alleged he was returning
to Cockrell that night and none of the officers took pictures of Frasier’s
injuries; Frasier and Parker stated that Frasier was at the restaurant parking
lot to return items to Cockrell, but defendant was there instead and asked for
the items; the officer acknowledged that he did not record the statement that
he obtained from Parker at the hospital, even though witness statements are
“typically” recorded; and he did not re-interview Cockrell after speaking
with the others because Parker’s account of what happened corroborated
Frasier’s story and defendant had confessed that he stabbed the victim.
Defendant gave the following testimony: at the time of trial, he was
32 years old and employed at Casa Jimador in Shreveport; he was previously
the general manager at Stone Forks, and before that was the event and party
coordinator at another restaurant; he met Cockrell through an internet dating 6
site about one month before the incident and they immediately began dating;
it would be difficult to confuse him with Cockrell because Cockrell was not
as tall as him and had a smaller build than him; as general manager of Stone
Forks at the time of the incident, he could confirm that Cockrell did not
work at Stone Forks; he knew that Cockrell previously dated Frasier, and
had seen Frasier key Cockrell’s vehicle; and he felt that Cockrell was fearful
of Frasier, and observed that Cockrell received daily text messages from
Defendant also provided the following testimony: while working on
September 14, 2018, he received a call at 7:30 p.m. from Frasier on the
Stone Forks restaurant phone; Frasier asked for Cockrell, and he told him
that Cockrell was not there; Frasier said that he wanted to return Cockrell’s
belongings to him; he told Frasier that was a matter between Cockrell and
Frasier, and that he did not like Frasier calling him where he worked; Frasier
became angry and began yelling at him; he told Frasier that he was not
welcome on the premises because of his hostility and hung up the phone;
when closing the restaurant at 10:00 p.m., he noticed a vehicle parked in the
lot and went outside to let the people inside the vehicle know the restaurant
was closed and to ask if they needed anything; he had never met Frasier
before, but he had seen a picture of him; Frasier told him that he had come to
return Cockrell’s things; he told Frasier that was between him and Cockrell
and that Frasier was not permitted on the property because he had been
hostile on the phone; Frasier yelled at him that he wanted to give Cockrell
his belongings, and defendant replied that he would take the items to
Cockrell because Cockrell was fearful of Frasier, who began pacing, yelling
obscenities, and flailing his arms; he never saw the items that Frasier said he 7
wanted to return to Cockrell; defendant turned to get into his truck; as he put
his hand in his pocket to get his keys, Frasier came around the car door
toward him; he had silverware and a knife in his work apron, and he pulled
the knife out with his keys; he felt threatened because Frasier was chasing
him; when he started to open his vehicle door, Frasier came from behind and
tried to grab him, so he spun around with the knife in his hand and that is
how Frasier ended up with the cut on his temple and the wound to his arm;
after he got inside his truck and locked the door, Frasier beat on the vehicle
and yelled at him; he drove away and went home; and he did not call the
police because he felt that his defensive actions would not have “looked
good on him,” and he was concerned that he might lose his job.
Defendant acknowledged that he stabbed Frasier with a knife, but
only to defend himself. Defendant admitted that he initially was not
“forthcoming” to officers about having the knife and stabbing Frasier.
Defendant also insisted that Frasier instigated the incident when he showed
up at defendant’s place of employment, confronted him, and then chased
him when he tried to leave, causing defendant to defend himself.
After the close of evidence, the six-person jury returned a unanimous
verdict finding defendant guilty of aggravated battery. Defendant filed
motions for post-verdict judgment of acquittal and for new trial alleging that
the evidence was insufficient to sustain the conviction of aggravated battery
because the state’s witnesses gave inconsistent testimony showing they were
not credible and the state failed to negate his claim of self-defense.
Defendant also argued that a new trial was required because the state had
failed to share with the defense the handwritten notes of Officer Clark from
his unrecorded interview with defendant. The trial court denied the motions 8
and sentenced defendant to serve two years at hard labor. Defendant’s
motion to reconsider the sentence was denied. This appeal followed.
The defendant contends the evidence presented at trial was
insufficient to support the conviction. Defendant argues that the state failed
to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed aggravated battery
because the state’s witnesses were not credible and defendant proved he
acted in self-defense.
Defendant asserts that under the circumstances shown at trial, he
reasonably acted in self-defense after being confronted at his workplace by
Frasier, who then chased and grabbed defendant in a dark parking lot. The
state argues that defendant failed to prove by a preponderance of the
evidence that he acted in self-defense, because his actions were neither
reasonable nor necessary under the circumstances.
A battery is the intentional use of force or violence upon the person of
another. La. R.S. 14:33. An aggravated battery is a battery committed with
a dangerous weapon. La. R.S. 14:34. “Dangerous weapon” includes any
instrumentality, which in the manner used, is calculated or likely to produce
death or great bodily harm. La. R.S. 14:2.
In considering the issue of sufficiency of the evidence, a reviewing
court must determine whether, after 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 proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson
v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S. Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L. Ed. 2d 560
(1979); State v. Tate, 01-1658 (La. 5/20/03), 851 So. 2d 921, cert. denied, 9
541 U.S. 905, 124 S. Ct. 1604, 158 L. Ed. 2d 248 (2004); State v. Frost,
53,312 (La. App. 2 Cir. 3/4/20), 293 So. 3d 708.
The appellate court does not assess the credibility of witnesses or
reweigh evidence and accords great deference to the trier of fact’s decisions
to accept or reject witness testimony in whole or in part. State v. Frost,
supra. Where 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.
State v. Jackson, 53,497 (La. App. 2 Cir. 5/20/20), 296 So. 3d 1156.
The Jackson standard of review is applicable in cases involving both
direct and circumstantial evidence. State v. Frost, supra. The facts
established by the direct evidence and inferred from the circumstances
established by that evidence must be sufficient for a rational trier of fact to
conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of every
essential element of the crime. State v. Jackson, supra.
La. R.S. 14:18 provides that the fact that an offender’s conduct is
justifiable, although otherwise criminal, shall constitute a defense to
prosecution for any crime based on that conduct. La. R.S. 14:18(7) provides
that this defense of justification can be claimed when the offender’s conduct
is in defense of persons or of property under any of the circumstances
described in R.S. 14:19 through 14:22.
The use of force or violence upon the person of another is justifiable
when committed for the purpose of preventing a forcible offense against the
person or a forcible offense or trespass against property in a person’s lawful
possession, provided that the force or violence used must be reasonable and
apparently necessary to prevent such offense. La. R.S. 14:19(A)(1)(a). In a 10
non-homicide situation, a claim of self-defense is subject to a two-part
inquiry. State v. Barron, 51,491 (La. App. 2 Cir. 8/9/17), 243 So. 3d 1178,
writ denied, 17-1529 (La. 6/1/18), 243 So. 3d 1063. First, there is an
objective inquiry into whether the force used was reasonable under the
circumstances. Second, there is a subjective inquiry into whether the force
used was apparently necessary. State v. Williams, 50,004 (La. App. 2 Cir.
9/30/15), 178 So. 3d 1051.
A person who is the aggressor or who brings on a difficulty cannot
claim the right of self-defense unless he withdraws from the conflict in good
faith and in such a manner that his adversary knows, or should know, that he
desires to withdraw and discontinue the conflict. La. R.S. 14:21; State v.
Williams, supra. No finder of fact shall be permitted to consider the
possibility of retreat as a factor in determining whether or not the person
who used force or violence in defense of his person or property had a
reasonable belief that force or violence was reasonable and apparently
necessary to prevent a forcible offense or to prevent the unlawful entry. La.
The statutes do not clearly define or allocate the burden of proving
self-defense in a non-homicide case. State v. Williams, supra. This Court
has repeatedly held that the burden of proving self-defense in a nonhomicide case rests with the defendant to prove the defense by a
preponderance of the evidence. State v. Barron, supra. In State v. Jackson,
51,841 (La. App. 2 Cir. 1/10/18), 246 So. 3d 646, this Court noted that while
the burden of proof was the defendant’s by a preponderance of the evidence,
the Court in some cases also required that the state must then prove beyond a
reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense. This Court 11
has also noted, however, that the Louisiana Supreme Court has not clearly
approved of this additional burden. Id.
In State v. Jackson, supra, the jury was instructed that the defense has
the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that his actions
were in self-defense and that the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt
that the defendant did not act in self-defense. This Court held that the
defendant did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he acted in
self-defense. Id. This Court also held that the state met its burden of
proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s attempted homicide
was not perpetrated in self-defense. Id.
To convict defendant of aggravated battery in this case, the state was
required to prove that he committed an intentional battery on Frasier with a
dangerous weapon. At trial, the victim, Frasier, and the eyewitness, Parker,
both testified, and defendant admitted, that he intentionally used a knife and
inflicted injury on the victim. Frasier’s testimony that he suffered wounds to
his head and arm was corroborated by the testimony of Parker and Officers
Freeman, Wilson, and Clark. La. R.S. 14:34 does not include serious bodily
injury as an element of the offense, so whether Frasier’s wounds were
superficial or serious is irrelevant. Thus, the state proved beyond a
reasonable doubt that defendant committed aggravated battery in using a
dangerous weapon, a knife, to intentionally commit a battery on Frasier.
In this case, as in State v. Jackson, supra, the jury was advised as
The burden of proof is on the State to prove the offense beyond
a reasonable doubt. The defendant must prove a claim of selfdefense by a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance
of the evidence means more probable than not. If a
preponderance of the evidence shows that the defendant acted 12
in self-defense, then the State must prove beyond a reasonable
doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
Defendant was thus required to prove that his use of force and
violence, though otherwise criminal, was justified because he acted in
defense of his person, to prevent a forcible offense against him, and that the
force used was reasonable under the circumstances and apparently
Even taking defendant’s assertions as true, that Frasier repeatedly
called the restaurant that day and that Frasier was upset and “manic” because
he could not return the items directly to Cockrell, the jury could have
determined, based upon the evidence presented at trial, that defendant was
not in danger of a forcible offense that justified his use of a knife against an
unarmed person. Furthermore, defendant’s testimony that Frasier keyed
Cockrell’s vehicle and was sending daily “harassing” text messages to
Cockrell described actions made toward Cockrell, not defendant. The only
evidence presented at trial regarding Frasier’s behavior, prior to being
stabbed in the head by defendant, was testimony by Parker that Frasier was
still upset about the breakup with Cockrell and defendant’s statement that
Frasier had tried to grab him.
Regarding the sequence of events – whether defendant stabbed Frasier
first and then Frasier chased him, or whether Frasier first chased defendant,
who then stabbed Frasier in defense – we have only the testimony of
defendant, Frasier, and Parker. The determination of who did what first,
based on the limited evidence presented at trial, required a credibility
determination by the jurors, whose verdict indicates that they found Frasier
and Parker’s testimony more credible than that of defendant. 13
As noted above, if defendant was the aggressor, he would be
precluded from raising a self-defense claim unless he could show that he
withdrew from the conflict in good faith and in such a manner that Frasier
knew, or should have known, that he desired to withdraw and discontinue
the conflict. Defendant argues that if the police had obtained Frasier’s
phone records, then that evidence would have established that Frasier called
defendant at Stone Forks that day, but such evidence would not, by itself,
establish Frasier as the aggressor as defendant claims. Defendant also
asserts that Frasier’s phone, with text messages, could have been used to
determine the veracity of Frasier’s statement that he appeared at Stone Forks
that night to return Cockrell’s belongings, and not just to confront Cockrell’s
new boyfriend, defendant. Even assuming that Frasier was not being
truthful, and Cockrell’s belongings were just an excuse for him to talk to
Cockrell or defendant, such evidence would only impact Frasier’s
credibility, and would not, by itself, establish Frasier as the aggressor, even
if none of what followed would have happened had he not appeared at the
The only evidence before the jury was that Frasier told defendant that
he had items to return to Cockrell and that he would give them only to him.
Frasier testified that defendant then stabbed him; defendant testified that
Frasier chased him and then he stabbed Frasier as he was running to flee in
his vehicle. Again, this is a credibility determination for the jury, and the
jury found that Frasier’s version of the incident, regarding who was the
aggressor, was more credible.
When considered in a light most favorable to the prosecution, the
evidence was sufficient for the jury to reasonably conclude that defendant 14
failed to show by a preponderance of evidence that he was acting in selfdefense, and that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant
was guilty of aggravated battery. This assignment is without merit.
Defendant contends the trial court erred in denying his motions for
post-verdict judgment of acquittal and for new trial. All assignments of
error and issues for review must be briefed. The court may consider as
abandoned any assignment of error and issue for review which has not been
briefed. U.R.C.A. 2-12.4(B)(4).
Defendant’s appellate attorney combined this assignment of error with
the first assignment in her brief. The combined argument addresses the
errors raised in the motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal regarding
the inconsistent testimony of the state’s witnesses and the self-defense claim,
but does not address the argument raised in the motion for new trial
regarding the absence of the investigator’s notes from his interview with
defendant. Assignments of error which are neither briefed nor argued are
considered abandoned. U.R.C.A. Rule 2-12.4; State v. Jones, 48,458 (La.
App. 2 Cir. 11/20/13), 128 So. 3d 593, writ denied, 13-2926 (La. 5/30/14),
140 So. 3d 1173. Accordingly, that argument is considered abandoned.
Defendant also contends the trial court erred in requiring him to meet
an affirmative burden of proof that he acted in self-defense. Defendant
argues that the burden of proving guilt rests upon the state because the
Louisiana Constitution provides that every person charged with a crime is
innocent until proven guilty.
A party may not assign as error the giving or failure to give a jury
charge unless an objection thereto is made before the jury retires or within
such time as the court may reasonably cure the alleged error. The nature of 15
the objection and the grounds therefor shall be stated at the time of the
objection. La. C. Cr. P. art. 801.
As noted above, La. R.S. 14:18 allows for the use of affirmative
defenses, such as justification, and La. R.S. 14:19 provides the statutory
standard by which the use of force or violence in a non-homicide case is
deemed justifiable – the action must be reasonable and apparently necessary.
Failure to raise an objection to these statutes, or to a jury instruction
explaining these statutes, in the trial court precludes the defendant from
raising such objections on appeal. State v. Barron, supra.
In Barron, the defendant was also charged with aggravated battery.
This Court rejected the defendant’s claim that the trial court erred in
instructing the jury that he had the burden of proving self-defense in a nonhomicide case and held that there was no error in the instructions given.
This Court also noted that in State v. Freeman, 427 So. 2d 1161 (La. 1983),
the supreme court observed that the defendant in a non-homicide case may
have the burden of proving self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence,
since a subjective inquiry is involved. This Court also noted Martin v. Ohio,
480 U.S. 228, 235, 107 S. Ct. 1098, 94 L. Ed. 2d 267 (1987), in which the
United States Supreme Court held that placing the burden on the defendant
to prove by a preponderance that she acted in self-defense in a murder did
not violate due process because the state must still prove every element of
the offense. State v. Barron, supra.
As noted by defendant, La. R.S. 14:18 and La. R.S. 14:19 do not
expressly change the state’s burden to prove the defendant guilty of the
offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt. However, neither do the
statutes assign the state a greater burden of proof regarding a defendant’s 16
claim of an affirmative defense and the jurisprudence has found there is no
due process violation by requiring the defendant in a non-homicide case to
bear the burden of proof to show that he was defending himself against a
forcible offense. Defendant had the opportunity to justify his actions and
show that, under the circumstances at the time of the offense, his actions
were reasonable and apparently necessary. The verdict shows that the jury
found that he failed to do so. To the extent that defendant would argue that
the jury received an improper instruction, he failed to raise his objections
before the trial court and preserve the issue for appeal. This assignment of
error lacks merit.
Defendant contends the trial court erred in imposing an excessive
sentence and in denying his motion to reconsider sentence. Defendant
argues that the two-year sentence is harsh considering that he had no prior
felony convictions, he had been gainfully employed for years, and the trial
court failed to consider these mitigating factors.
An excessive sentence claim is reviewed by examining whether the
trial court adequately considered the guidelines established in La. C. Cr. P.
art. 894.1, and whether the sentence is constitutionally excessive. State v.
Wing, 51,857 (La. App. 2 Cir. 2/28/18), 246 So. 3d 711. A review of the
sentencing guidelines does not require a listing of every aggravating or
mitigating circumstance. State v. Boehm, 51,229 (La. App. 2 Cir. 4/5/17),
217 So. 3d 596. When the defendant’s motion to reconsider sentence raises
only a claim that the sentence imposed was constitutionally excessive,
review of the sentence on appeal is restricted to that claim. La. C. Cr. P. art.
881.1; State v. Williams, 51,667 (La. App. 2 Cir. 9/27/17), 245 So. 3d 131. 17
Pursuant to La. Const. art. I, § 20, the reviewing court considers
whether the sentence is grossly out of proportion to the seriousness of the
offense or nothing more than a purposeless and needless infliction of pain
and suffering. State v. Boehm, supra. A sentence is considered grossly
disproportionate if, when the crime and punishment are viewed in light of
the harm done to society, it shocks the sense of justice. State v. Wing, supra.
The court must state for the record the considerations taken into
account and the factual basis for the sentence imposed. La. C. Cr. P. art.
894.1(C). The court must consider the defendant’s personal history, the
defendant’s criminal record, the seriousness of the offense, and the
likelihood of rehabilitation. State v. Boehm, supra. There is no requirement
that specific matters be given any particular weight at sentencing. Id. All
convictions and all prior criminal activity may be considered, as well as
other evidence normally excluded from the trial. State v. Platt, 43,708 (La.
App. 2 Cir. 12/3/08), 998 So. 2d 864.
A trial court has wide discretion in imposing a sentence within the
statutory limits, and a sentence should not be set aside absent a showing of
abuse of discretion. State v. Vanhorn, 52,583 (La. App. 2 Cir. 4/10/19), 268
So. 3d 357, writ denied, 19-00745 (La. 11/19/19), 282 So. 3d 1065; State v.
Weston, 52,312 (La. App. 2 Cir. 11/14/18), 260 So. 3d 722. Absent specific
authority, it is not the role of an appellate court to substitute its judgment for
that of the sentencing court as to the appropriateness of a particular sentence.
The statutory sentencing range in this case states whoever commits an
aggravated battery shall be fined not more than $5,000, imprisoned with or
without hard labor for not more than 10 years, or both. La. R.S. 14:34(B). 18
Prior to imposing sentence, the trial court noted that it had considered
the sentencing guidelines of La. C. Cr. P. art. 894.1 and found that there was
an undue risk that defendant would commit another crime if given a
suspended sentence, that defendant was in need of a custodial environment,
and that a lesser sentence would deprecate the seriousness of the offense.
Finding that defendant’s crime was a “needless violent act,” the trial court
sentenced defendant to serve two years at hard labor.
The record shows that the trial court was informed at sentencing that
defendant attempted to make restitution to Frasier. The trial court did not
articulate mitigating factors, but having presided over the trial, the court was
aware that defendant had been gainfully employed for several years and the
extent of his criminal history.
In this case, an emotional argument escalated into an aggravated
battery when one person suddenly stabbed the other person in the head and
arm with a knife. The relatively minor nature of Frasier’s injuries does not
diminish the fact that defendant struck an unarmed man in the head with a
knife, creating the risk that the victim might have been blinded or worse. In
addition, the evidence produced at trial did not show that defendant faced a
threat of forcible offense from the victim.
Under the circumstances of this case, the imposition of a two-year
sentence, which is at the lower end of the sentencing range for this offense,
does not shock the sense of justice. There is no showing that the sentence is
constitutionally excessive or that the trial court abused its discretion in
imposing sentence. This assignment of error lacks merit. 19
La. C. Cr. P. art. 930.8(C) requires the trial court to inform the
defendant of the limitations period for filing an application for postconviction relief at sentencing. If a trial court fails to properly advise the
defendant of the time period limitations for filing, the appellate court may
correct this error by informing the defendant of the applicable prescriptive
period for post-conviction relief by means of its opinion.
The trial court here inadvertently informed the defendant that he had
two years from the date that his sentence was final to seek post-conviction
relief. By way of this opinion, this Court hereby advises defendant that no
application for post-conviction relief shall be considered if it is filed more
than two years after the judgment of conviction and sentence has become
final under the provisions of La. C. Cr. P. arts. 914 or 922.
Outcome: For the foregoing reasons, the defendant’s conviction and sentence are