Louisiana v. BurtonAnnotate this Case
Defendant Randall Burton was found guilty as charged of the second degree murder of Cody Fletcher. The trial court sentenced him to serve life imprisonment at hard labor without parole eligibility. The court of appeal affirmed. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted defendant’s application to examine whether the trial court erred in excluding evidence of the victim’s dangerous character, pursuant to La. C.E. art. 404(A)(2). This evidence was relevant to defendant’s claim that the homicide was justifiable, under La. R.S. 14:20(A). After examining the record, the arguments of the parties, and the jurisprudence, the Supreme Court found defendant was entitled to a new trial because the trial court erred when it excluded this evidence after defendant introduced appreciable evidence of an overt act or hostile demonstration by the victim. Accordingly, the Court vacated the sentence, set aside the conviction, and remanded for further proceedings.