Louisiana vs. Lyles
Opinion Date: October 22, 2019
Judge: Per Curiam
Areas of Law: Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
In 2016, a jury found defendant Henri Lyles guilty of an aggravated battery, committed in 2015. The State filed a habitual offender bill of information alleging two predicate offenses: a 1991 distribution of cocaine conviction, and a 2004 manslaughter conviction. In early 2017, the district court adjudicated defendant a third-felony offender and sentenced him to the life sentence mandated by La.R.S. 15:529.1(A)(3)(b) (effective August 15, 2010). The court of appeal vacated the habitual offender sentence and remanded for resentencing because of the trial court’s failure to vacate the underlying aggravated battery sentence. After remand, the district court resentenced defendant on to the same term of imprisonment under the same provision of law. Defendant appealed, contending the Habitual Offender law, as amended by 2017 La. Acts 282, should have been applied to him. Among other changes, the act reduced from ten to five years the time allowed (known as the cleansing period) between expiration of correctional supervision for one offense and commission of the next offense on the habitual offender ladder. Defendant’s probation for distribution of cocaine expired in 1996 and he did not commit manslaughter until 2003. Therefore, defendant contended he was a second-felony offender subject to a sentencing range of 3 1/3 to 20 years imprisonment under the amended law. Finding Act 282 applied, the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the court of appeal, vacated the habitual offender adjudication and sentence, and remanded with instructions to the district court for further proceedings.
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