Louisiana Supreme Court Opinions
Louisiana v. Turner
Opinion Date: May 8, 2019
Judge: Per Curiam
Areas of Law: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
Defendant Randy Turner was found guilty of aggravated flight from an officer. He was adjudicated a habitual offender based on the commission of seven predicate felonies and sentenced to 40 years imprisonment at hard labor. The court of appeal reversed the conviction and sentence. A majority of the panel found the district court erred in instructing the jury, and in allowing the State to argue, that the jury could find human life was endangered if the defendant committed one of the acts enumerated in La. R.S. 14:108.1(D) more than once. The dissent disagreed with the majority's interpretation of the statute; the Louisiana Supreme Court granted certiorari review to resolve the disagreement as to whether the crime of aggravated flight from an officer requires proof that a defendant committed two different acts from among those enumerated in La.R.S. 14:108.1(D), or whether proof of the repeated commission of one of those enumerated acts suffices. The Supreme Court found no real uncertainty in the meaning of “at least two of the following acts” in La.R.S. 14:108.1(D). Instead, the Court found the language of the statute in its context plainly encompassed the commission of one of the acts enumerated in that provision more than once. Therefore, the district court did not err in instructing the jury. Accordingly, it reversed the court of appeal and reinstated defendant’s conviction and sentence.
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