State Of Louisiana VS Aubrey William Sikes

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NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION STATE OF LOUISIANA COURT OF APPEAL FIRST CIRCUIT NO 2010 KA 0341 STATE OF LOUISIANA VERSUS AUBREY WILLIAM SIKES Judgment rendered September 10 2010 Appealed from the 21st Judicial District Court in and for the Parish of Tangipahoa Louisiana Trial Court No 801482 Honorable Bruce C Bennett Judge HON SCOTT M PERRILLOUX DISTRICT ATTORNEY ATTORNEYS FOR STATE OF LOUISIANA JEFFREY JOHNSON PATRICIA PARKER ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AMITE LA FRANK SLOAN LA MANDEVILLE ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANT APPELLANT AUBREY WILLIAM SIKES BEFORE KUHN PETTIGREW 31 and KLINE J pro tempore 1 Judge William F Kline Jr retired is serving as judge pro tempore by special appointment of the Louisiana Supreme Court PETTIGREW J The defendant Aubrey William Sikes was charged by grand jury indictment with second degree murder a violation of La R 14 The defendant pled not guilty S 30 1 After a trial by jury the defendant was found guilty as charged The defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor without the benefit of probation parole or suspension of sentence The trial court denied the defendant motion to reconsider s sentence The defendant now appeals arguing that the sentence imposed by the trial court is excessive in this case For the following reasons we affirm the conviction and sentence STATEMENT OF FACTS Around April 2007 approximately one year before the instant offense the defendant at the age of seventeen years old began having a sexual relationship with Brooklyn Becc Huber Brown and her then boyfriend Christopher Slater Brown the victim Brooklyn Brown and the victim were in their late twenties at the time At some point Brooklyn Brown and the defendant also began having sexual encounters in the victim absence and without his knowledge The sexual relationship s between the three individuals sporadically continued during the time period leading to and subsequent to the marriage of the victim and Brooklyn Brown In February 2008 Brooklyn Brown ended her relationship with the defendant After the defendant mailed nude photos of her to the victim she admitted to the outside sexual relationship that took place between her and the defendant On the night of April 9 2008 the defendant came to the Browns residence and shot the victim Brooklyn Brown was awakened by the gunfire and the defendant attempted to have her leave with him She refused to leave with the defendant and contacted the police The victim died as a result of the multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by the defendant Dr Fraser MacKenzie the forensic pathologist and expert witness who performed the autopsy specifically testified that the victim suffered four separate gunshot wounds and that the cause of death was perforating wounds in the lung and heart 2 ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR In the sole assignment of error the defendant contends that the mandatory life sentence imposed by the trial court is excessive as to this defendant The defendant notes that he was only seventeen years of age when he was drawn into a threeway sexual relationship with the victim and his then fiancée The defendant further notes that Brooklyn Brown admitted to being about twenty or twenty years of age seven eight when the sexual relationship began and further admitted that she and the defendant developed a sexual and loving relationship outside of the encounters that included the victim The defendant also notes that he did not attempt to conceal the shooting escape or resist at the time of his arrest The defendant concludes that a life sentence is unwarranted excessive and a needless imposition of pain for the single rash act of an emotionally vulnerable young man Article I Section 20 of the Louisiana Constitution explicitly prohibits excessive sentences Although a sentence is within the statutory limits the sentence may still violate a defendant constitutional right against excessive punishment s In reviewing a sentence for excessiveness the appellate court must consider the punishment and the crime in light of the harm to society and gauge whether the penalty is so disproportionate as to shock its sense of justice or that the sentence makes no reasonable contribution to acceptable penal goals and therefore is nothing more than the needless imposition of pain and suffering See State v Guzman 991528 991753 p 15 La 5 769 00 16 2d So 1158 1167 The trial court has wide discretion in imposing a sentence within the statutory limits and such a sentence will not be set aside as excessive in the absence of manifest abuse of discretion State v Loston 2003 0977 p 20 La App 1 Cir 04 23 2 874 So 197 210 writ denied 20040792 La 9 882 So 1167 2d 04 24 2d Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 894 sets forth items that must be 1 considered by the trial court before imposing sentence The trial court need not recite Z The offense took place during the month of and just before the defendant nineteenth birthday The s victim was twentyseven years old at the time 3 the entire checklist of Article 894 but the record must reflect that it adequately 1 considered the criteria State v Leblanc 20041032 p 10 La App 1 Cir 12 04 17 897 So 736 743 writ denied 2005 0150 La 4 901 So 1063 cert 2d 05 29 2d denied 546 U 905 126 S 254 163 L 231 2005 State v Faul 2003 S Ct 2d Ed 1423 p 4 La App 1 Cir 2 873 So 690 692 Failure to comply with Article 04 23 2d 1 894 does not necessitate the invalidation of a sentence or warrant a remand for resentencing if the record clearly illuminates and supports the sentencing choice State v Smith 430 So 31 46 La 1983 2d In State v Dorthey 623 So 1276 12801281 La 1993 the Louisiana 2d Supreme Court recognized that if a trial judge determines that the punishment mandated by the Habitual Offender Law makes no measurable contribution to acceptable goals of punishment or that the sentence amounts to nothing more than the purposeful imposition of pain and suffering and is grossly out of proportion to the severity of the crime he is duty bound to reduce the sentence to one that would not be constitutionally excessive However the holding in Dorthey was made only after and in light of express recognition by the court that the determination and definition of acts that are punishable as crimes is purely a legislative function It is the legislature s prerogative to determine the length of the sentence imposed for crimes classified as felonies Moreover courts are charged with applying these punishments unless they are found to be unconstitutional Dorthey 623 So at 1278 2d In State v Johnson 971906 La 3 709 So 672 the Louisiana 98 4 2d Supreme Court reexamined the issue of when Dorthey permits a downward departure from a mandatory minimum sentence albeit in the context of the Habitual Offender Law The court held that to rebut the presumption that the mandatory minimum sentence was constitutional the defendant had to clearly and convincingly show that he is exceptional which in this context means that because of unusual circumstances this defendant is a victim of the legislature failure to s assign sentences that are meaningfully tailored to the culpability of the offender the gravity of the offense and the circumstances of the case 4 Johnson 971906 at 8 709 So at 676 While both Dorthey and Johnson involve 2d the mandatory minimum sentences imposed under the Habitual Offender Law the Louisiana Supreme Court has held that the sentencing review principles espoused in Dorthey are not restricted in application to the penalties provided by La R 15 S 529 1 See State v Fobbs 99 1024 La 9 744 So 1274 1275 per curiam 99 24 2d State v Henderson 991945 p 19 n La App 1 Cir 6 762 So 747 760 5 00 23 2d 5 n writ denied 2000 2223 La 6 793 So 1235 State v Davis 942332 01 15 2d p 12 La App 1 Cir 12 666 So 400 407408 writ denied 960127 La 95 15 2d 96 19 4 671 So 925 2d In the defendants motion to reconsider sentence he argued that the sentence was unconstitutional illegal excessive unduly harsh and severe andor a needless imposition of punishment in that the statute in question does not allow any variance in sentencing and is thus unconstitutional and is unconstitutionally harsh severe and excessive as concerns the punishment it invokes At the hearing on the motion the defendant informed the trial court that there was no further argument to add to the motion Although the defendant was only eighteen at the time of the offense he has failed to show how his youth justified a deviation from the mandatory sentence See State v Crotwell 2000 2551 p 16 La App 1 Cir 11 818 So 34 46 01 9 2d Henderson 991945 at 19 20 762 So at 760 761 The defendant did not present 2d any particular facts regarding his family history or special circumstances that would support a deviation from the mandatory sentence provided in La R 14 Based S 30 16 on the record before us we find that the defendant has failed to show that he is exceptional or that the mandatory life sentence is not meaningfully tailored to his culpability the gravity of the offense and the circumstances of the case Thus we do not find that a downward departure from the presumptively constitutional mandatory life sentence was required in this case The sentence imposed is not excessive The assignment of error lacks merit CONVICTION AND SENTENCE AFFIRMED 5