- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A three-judge state appeals court panel has ordered a Donaldsonville man to serve his original two-year prison sentence from a July 1995 negligent homicide conviction in Ascension Parish. Monday’s ruling overturning a district court ruling last year that had suspended the sentence.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/U6NRKo ) Stanley White pleaded guilty in July 1995 to the reduced charge following an alcohol-related crash near Gonzales that killed a 10-week-old St. Amant girl in mid-1994.

But even after an appeals court affirmed the negligent homicide conviction in February 1997, White never was called to serve his time in prison.

And since, White, who was 19 at the time of the accident, has earned a college degree, has held a job, and has never again been in trouble with the law.

The case resurfaced last year, but in May 2013, Judge Jessie LeBlanc suspended White’s two-year sentence and gave him two years of probation.

Writing for the 2-1 majority, Judge James E. Kuhn of the Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeal said LeBlanc lacked the authority to modify White’s sentence.

Kuhn noted the original sentence had been affirmed by the appeals court - a ruling that was not appealed to the state Supreme Court - and execution of sentence had begun years before LeBlanc ruled.

“We conclude that the district court lacked jurisdiction and authority and was without a procedural mechanism to modify the original, legal sentence,” Kuhn wrote.

In dissent, Appeals Judge Toni M. Higginbotham found that LeBlanc fashioned an appropriate sentence, given the unusual circumstance and the lapse of time.

At the time LeBlanc suspended White’s sentence on May 3, 2013, she ruled that too much time had passed for White to serve his original two-year prison sentence without violating “fundamental principles of liberty and justice.”

The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, which had taken over the case from District Attorney Ricky Babin, had argued that White owed the killed infant, Brittany Deville, and her surviving family 24 months in prison.

“He owes it to this dead girl, and he owes it to her family,” Assistant Attorney General David Weilbaecher Jr. told LeBlanc at the May 3, 2013, hearing.

“That’s why we’re here, to make certain he pays the price for what he did wrong. He never had to pay the price.”


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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