State of Louisiana v. Anthony Thomas, Supreme Court of Louisiana, Docket No. 2012-KP-1410

At a jury trial for the offense of aggravated burglary, Anthony Thomas was convicted of the responsive verdict of attempted aggravated burglary. Thereafter, the State of Louisiana filed a multiple offender bill and Thomas was adjudicated to be third offender, thereby requiring a mandatory life sentence. However, this conviction was later reversed due to the prosecutor's indirect reference to Thomas' failure to testify. In 2002, the matter was re-tried. Thomas waived the jury and was convicted by the court of the responsive verdict of unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling. The State, once again, filed a multiple offender bill; and, as a result, Thomas was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence.


After Thomas exhausted his direct appeals, he filed an application for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and/or double jeopardy. More particularly, Thomas argued that, since the jury in the first trial found him guilty of only a responsive verdict of attempted aggravated burglary, he was effectively acquitted on the aggravated burglary charge and should not have been tried for second time for the same offense. As such, Thomas argued that his counsel should have filed a motion to quash prior to the commencement of the second trial. The trial court granted the Thomas' application and the State sought appellate review. The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed.


While the Louisiana Supreme Court found that trial counsel's performance fell below the objective standard, the court also found no prejudice because Thomas was ultimately convicted of an offense that was not barred by double jeopardy. Therefore, the Louisiana Supreme Court concluded that Thomas did not satisfy the "Strickland" standard and that it was in error to grant Thomas post-conviction relief.



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