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STATE of Louisiana v. Daryl Paul ORDOYNE
The State of Louisiana charged defendant, Daryl Paul Ordoyne, by bill of information with domestic abuse aggravated assault, a violation of La. R.S. 14:37.7. Defendant pled not guilty. Following trial, a unanimous jury found defendant guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced defendant to three years at hard labor. The defendant filed a motion to reconsider sentence, which the trial court denied. Defendant now appeals, designating two assignments of error. For the reasons that follow, we affirm his conviction and sentence.
The incident that precipitated defendant's conviction and sentence occurred on October 10, 2020, at his residence in Chackbay, Lafourche Parish. Defendant's daughter, Taylor Ordoyne,1 and her son lived with defendant in a trailer on property owned by defendant's father (Taylor's grandfather). Defendant's father also lived on the property in a separate residence.
At the time of the incident, Taylor had lived with defendant for approximately two months. Taylor testified that on October 10, 2020, while she was in her room laying in her bed, defendant texted her, stating he “wanted a pack of cigarettes.” Taylor responded to defendant, indicating that she did not have any money. Defendant replied, informing Taylor that her boyfriend was not welcome to stay at defendant's house. In response, Taylor stated that defendant was not going to get any money out of her. Taylor testified that defendant subsequently entered her room and hit her. Defendant then walked out of Taylor's room; thereafter, she called her grandfather and informed him that defendant had hit her. She asked her grandfather to call the police and then come over to defendant's trailer.
After her father walked out of her room, Taylor began recording on her phone. The State played the video of the incident for the jury. In the video, defendant is not in camera view, but he can be heard yelling “get the f**k out,” while Taylor is simultaneously talking. The video shows that defendant then returned to Taylor's room with a pocketknife in his hand. Defendant continued to yell at Taylor to “get the f**k out.” Defendant climbed on Taylor's bed as the video ended.
Taylor testified that defendant jumped on her, and “that's when the video cuts off.” Taylor indicated that when she and defendant were talking simultaneously, defendant stated that if anyone called the cops on him, he was going to slice their throat. Taylor further testified that after the recording stopped, defendant hit her a second time. Taylor's grandfather then entered her bedroom, separated defendant away from Taylor, and escorted her out of the house.
Defendant also testified at trial. He stated that when his daughter first moved into his trailer, Taylor's pit-bull soiled his new bed comforter, which he stated Taylor used for her dog's bed. Defendant testified that he told Taylor to clean the mess, but she refused. According to defendant, Taylor was upset because he would not allow her boyfriend to live in his trailer.
Regarding the incident, defendant testified that he went into Taylor's room with a pocketknife because he had been cutting sausage, but he did not realize he had the pocketknife in his hand and put it behind his back. Defendant attempted to grab her phone but then stopped, went into the living room, and called his father to take Taylor out of his house. Defendant indicated he never “went at” Taylor with the pocketknife, nor did he “even hit her.” Defendant testified that a small bruise on Taylor's arm occurred as a result of him trying to take her phone out of her hand. Defendant denied that he threatened to cut Taylor's throat, but rather, he stated that he would slit his own throat before going back to prison.
On cross-examination, defendant denied that he jumped on Taylor's bed, stating that he “went toward the bed” and “tried to grab her phone out of her hand.” Defendant testified that the knife he was holding was a folding pocketknife about eight or ten inches long; he stated that he never used a kitchen knife to cut sausage.
In his two assignments of error, defendant argues that his sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred in denying his motion to reconsider sentence.
Both the United States and Louisiana constitutions prohibit the imposition of cruel or excessive punishment. U.S. Const. amend. VIII; La. Const. art. I, § 20. Although a sentence falls within statutory limits, it may be excessive. State v. Sepulvado, 367 So.2d 762, 767 (La. 1979). A sentence is unconstitutionally excessive if it is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense or constitutes nothing more than a purposeless and needless infliction of pain and suffering. A sentence is grossly disproportionate if, when the crime and punishment are considered in light of the harm done to society, it shocks one's sense of justice. State v. Livous, 2018-0016 (La. App. 1st Cir. 9/24/18), 259 So.3d 1036, 1044, writ denied, 2018-1788 (La. 4/15/19), 267 So.3d 1130. The trial court has great discretion in imposing a sentence within the statutory limits, and such a sentence will not be set aside as excessive in the absence of an abuse of discretion. State v. Scott, 2017-0209 (La. App. 1st Cir. 9/15/17), 228 So.3d 207, 211, writ denied, 2017-1743 (La. 8/31/18), 251 So.3d 410.
Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 894.1 sets forth the factors for the trial court to consider when imposing sentence. While the entire checklist of La. C.Cr.P. art. 894.1 need not be recited, the record must reflect the trial court adequately considered the criteria. Scott, 228 So.3d at 211. The articulation of the factual basis for a sentence is the goal of La. C.Cr.P. art. 894.1, not rigid or mechanical compliance with its provisions. Where the record clearly shows an adequate factual basis for the sentence imposed, remand is unnecessary even where there has not been full compliance with La. C.Cr.P. art. 894.1. Scott, 228 So.3d at 211. The trial judge should review the defendant's personal history, his prior criminal record, the seriousness of the offense, the likelihood that he will commit another crime, and his potential for rehabilitation through correctional services other than confinement. On appellate review of a sentence, the relevant question is whether the trial court abused its broad sentencing discretion, not whether another sentence might have been more appropriate. Scott, 228 So.3d at 211.
The sentencing range for domestic abuse aggravated assault is one to five years of imprisonment at hard labor and a fine of not more than five thousand dollars. La. R.S. 14:37.7(C). Defendant argues that his three-year sentence is excessive because Taylor admittedly caught “attitude” with defendant and refused to comply with his reasonable request, which angered him. Moreover, according to defendant, even though Taylor admitted she was afraid when defendant entered her room, “she took no action to escape or defend herself other than to video record him, something which she admitted she knew would further exacerbate his anger.” Further, defendant suggests, “much was made about the fact” that he had a knife in his hand when he went into Taylor's room, when the only reason he had the knife was because he had been cutting up sausage for dinner. According to defendant, the matter was “a minor family skirmish and [Taylor] was not, by any stretch of the imagination seriously injured.”
The testimony and video evidence presented at trial established that defendant engaged in a violent attack on his daughter because he was angry. Given his argument, defendant has minimized the gravity of his actions and blamed Taylor for his behavior because she upset him. We agree with the State's position that it “strongly rejects the suggestions made in [defendant's] brief that the victim either deserved or provoked the assault she received from her father.” Furthermore, despite the verbal exchange between defendant and Taylor about her not having money or that defendant was not getting any more of her money, “[a]bsolutely nothing in this colloquy justified the assault which followed.”
In sentencing defendant, the trial court considered defendant's criminal history, noting that he had been on probation more than once. The trial court pointed out that defendant “testified at trial about the [cocaine] residue conviction and probation, but he neglected to point out the other times he was on probation and or parole.” The trial court found defendant needed “correctional treatment or a custodial environment that can be most effectively provided by his commitment to an institution, in this case [the] Department of Corrections.” The trial court also found “a lesser sentence would deprecate the seriousness of the defendant's crime.” The trial court opined that defendant needed anger management, drug court programs, and substance abuse programs. The trial court further found that actual threats, violence, and a dangerous weapon were used in the commission of the crime, and defendant used subsequent threats with the intent to influence the conduct of the witness and the criminal proceedings.
The trial court expressed it did not believe that defendant was cutting sausage as he indicated. The trial court indicated, “You showed up one time in the room without [the knife]. You went out and deliberately got [the knife] so that, kind of, contradicted your whole premis[e] of just having the knife ‘cause you were cutting sausage for your meal. I think the jury saw through that as well.”
As a mitigating factor, the trial court considered the fact that defendant did not attempt to use the knife during the commission of the offense. The trial court further considered that defendant had worked on some of his issues between the incident and the trial.
After imposing defendant's sentence, the trial court observed:
It was very hard to understand what you were saying because of the screaming that was going on. Your daughter was in terror. You were using words that I can't imagine using on my daughter if I were in your situation. But in any event, that prevented me from actually understanding. You know, there was language of slicing a throat or slitting a throat. But, again, it was gargled [sic] so I don't know whether or not you were actually referring to your own throat or not, but the matter was completed and you were physically assaulting her. You left the room and you came back with that knife.
With the trial court's sufficient consideration of the factors set forth in La. C.Cr.P. art. 894.1, as well as the circumstances and the nature of the crime, we find the trial court did not abuse its discretion, particularly in light of the fact that defendant received only a mid-range sentence. Accordingly, we find that the sentence imposed by the trial court is not grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense and, therefore, is not unconstitutionally excessive. Defendant's assignments of error are without merit.
CONVICTION AND SENTENCE AFFIRMED.
1. Taylor Ordoyne was twenty-three (23) years old at the time of trial.
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Docket No: 2023 KA 0078
Decided: June 02, 2023
Court: Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit.
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