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Session Information

2004 Regular Session Highlights

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Crimes/Criminal Procedure

by: Tracy Sudduth
(225) 342-8896


Senate Bill 341 by Senator Chaisson (Act 15) prohibits a passenger of a motor vehicle from possessing an open container while the motor vehicle is operated on a public highway or right-of-way. The penalties for the offense is a fine ranging from $50 to $100 and authorizes the collection of court costs. Act 15 provides that an "open alcoholic beverage container" shall not mean any bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains a frozen alcoholic beverage unless the lid is removed, a straw protrudes therefrom, or the contents of said receptacle have been partially removed. Additionally, municipal or parish governing authorities may enact any code or ordinance that does not conflict with proposed law, except such code or ordinance may provide for the imposition and collection of fines and court costs for violations for amounts in excess of the amounts provided present law. Act 15 specifically excludes the following areas from the open container law prohibition:

1. Possession of an open container of alcoholic beverage in the trunk of a motor vehicle.

2. If the motor vehicle is not equipped with a trunk, possession of an open container or alcoholic beverages in any of the following areas:

(a) In a locked glove or utility compartment.

(b) In an area of the vehicle not normally occupied by, and not readily accessible to the driver or passengers.

Senate Bill 523 by Senator Bajoie (Act 661) provides that whoever commits the crime of illegal carrying of weapons with any firearm used in the commission of a crime of violence, within one thousand feet of any parade, shall be fined not more than $2,000, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than one year nor more than five years, or both. Act 661 also states lack of knowledge shall not be a defense.

Senate Bill 633 by Senator Kostelka (Act 801) makes it a crime for any obligor to intentionally fail to pay a support obligation for any child who resides in this state, if such obligation has remained unpaid for a period longer than one year or is greater than $5,000. Additionally, Act 801 contains a rebuttable presumption that the existence of the support obligation presumes the ability to pay.

Senate Bill 659 by Senator Ullo (Act 676) changes the name of the offense of aggravated sexual battery to second degree sexual battery.

House Bill 33 by Representative Farrar (Act 143) includes within the crime of cruelty to a juvenile, the intentional or criminally negligent exposure, by anyone seventeen years of age or older, of any child under the age of seventeen, or any unborn child to a clandestine laboratory operation.

Currently the crime of cruelty to juveniles is the intentional or criminally negligent mistreatment or neglect, by anyone over the age of seventeen, of any child under the age of seventeen whereby unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused to said child. There is also a provision stating lack of knowledge of the child's age shall not be a defense. The penalties for conviction of such crime shall be not more than $1,000 or imprisonment with or without hard labor for not more than ten years, or both.

House Bill 42 by Representative Faucheux (Act 144) amends the definition of household member for the purpose of the crime of domestic abuse battery to include any minor children living in the same residence or living in the same residence within five years of the offense, or any biological minor child of the offender regardless of where the child resides.

House Bill 43 by Representative Faucheux (Act 145) adds the killing of a witness to the crime of first degree murder when the victim was a witness to a crime or was a member of the immediate family of a witness to a crime committed on a prior occasion and the killing was done to influence or prevent testimony or as retribution for the victim's prior testimony.

House Bill 109 by Representative Baudoin (Act 742) requires any person who operates or rides upon a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle to wear a safety helmet.

House Bill 1244 by Representative Triche (Act 111) creates the crime for any person to organize or conduct any commercial or private event, wherein there is a display of combat or fighting among one or more domestic or feral canines and feral or domestic hogs and in which it is intended or reasonably foreseeable that the canines or hogs would be injured, maimed, mutilated, or killed. The Act prohibits any person to intentionally do any of the following for the purpose of organizing, conducting, or financially or materially supporting any hog and canine fighting event:

1. Finance, commercially advertise, supply materials, sell tickets of admission, or employ persons.

2. Own, manage, or operate any facility or property.

3. Supply, breed, train, or keep canines or hogs.

4. Knowingly purchase tickets of admission.

Additionally, Act 111 shall not apply to any competitive event in which canines, which are trained for hunting or herding activities, are released in an enclosed area to locate and corner hogs, and in which competitive points are deducted if a hog is caught and held, unless by such actions it is reasonably foreseeable that the canines or hogs would be injured, maimed, mutilated, or killed. Act 111 further shall not apply to the use of canines for the management, farming, or herding of hogs which are livestock. Act 111 creates an exception to the crime for "Uncle Earl's Hog Dog Trials," as defined in present law. Act 111 creates another exception for hunting of hogs with canines. Penalties for this Act shall be not more than $1,000 and imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

House Concurrent Resolution 295 by Representative Triche (enrolled) requests state police to faithfully enforce state law and any violations of state law, including illegal gambling activities and cruelty to animals that may occur at hog and canine fighting events and to enforce the crime of hog and canine fighting (Act 111 of the 2004 R.S.) upon its effective date. This resolution also requests the attorney general, pursuant to the powers and duties conferred in the constitution of this state, in the interest of the state, ensure that the provisions of Act 111 are enforced and prosecuted.

Sexual offenders and sexually violent predators.

Senate Bill 164 by Senator N. Gautreaux (Act 178) provides that it is unlawful for a sexually violent predator to physically reside within one thousand feet of any public or private elementary or secondary school.

House Bill 137 by Representative Walker (Act 147) amends the definition of "aggravated offense" to require sex offenders who engage in sexual acts involving penetration with a victim under the age of fourteen to register as a sex offender for life.

House Bill 541 by Representative LaFleur (Act 408) creates the Louisiana Sexual Assault Task Force to study investigation issues, procedures used in obtaining and analyzing sexual assault evidence, training requirements for law enforcement officers and others in sexual assault cases.

House Bill 925 by Representative Jack Smith (Act 338) requires a sex offender who provides recreational instruction to persons under the age of seventeen years to post a notice in the building or facility where such instruction is being given.

Senate Bill 485 by Senator Mount (pending Senate committee) would have established procedures for the involuntary civil commitment of persons determined to be sexually violent predators.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 110 by Senator Chaisson (enrolled) extends the authority for the Forensic Strategic Task Force to study the feasibility of implementing the components of an effective comprehensive statewide system to address the demands of the increasing adult forensic population and its economic burden on health care service in the state. Senate Concurrent Resolution 110 allows the Task Force to create a subcommittee, within the Forensic Strategic Task Force, to specifically study the issue of identification, commitment, and treatment of sexually violent predators, in order to develop and implement an effective comprehensive statewide system of control, monitoring, and treatment of this identified population.

House Concurrent Resolution 32 by Representative Walker (enrolled) requests the Louisiana State Police to increase public awareness regarding Louisiana's Sex Offender Registry through the use of public service announcements.


Senate Bill 570 by Senator Chaisson (Act 694) provides that a statement is not hearsay if the declarant testifies at the trial or hearing and is subject to cross-examination concerning the statement and the statement is inconsistent with his testimony and was given under oath at the accused's preliminary examination or the accused's prior trial and the witness was subject to the cross-examination by the accused. Additionally, Act 694 provides that a statement is not hearsay if the declarant testifies at the trial or hearing and is subject to cross-examination concerning the statement and the statement in a criminal case, inconsistent with his testimony, provided that the proponent has first fairly directed the witness' attention to the statement and the witness has been given the opportunity to admit the fact.

Senate Bill 837 by Senator Cain (Act 470) authorizes the deputy secretary of public safety services to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states which have substantially the same or restrictive requirements for obtaining a concealed permit. This bill removes authority from the deputy secretary and provides that where an out-of-state resident has a valid concealed handgun permit from another state, that out-of-state permit shall be considered valid in Louisiana if that state recognizes Louisiana’s concealed permits.

House Bill 134 by Representative Bruce (Act 241) expands the provisions of law which authorize the taking of testimony outside of the courtroom and the use of videotaped statements of all protected persons who may have been a witness to or a victim of a crime. "Protected persons" means any person who is a victim of a crime or a witness in a criminal or juvenile proceeding and who (1) is 14 years of age or younger, or (2) has a developmental disability or mental retardation. Act 241 requires that either the person conducting the interview or the person supervising the interview shall be present and available to testify.

House Bill 542 by Representative LaFleur (Act 379) creates a provision that if the offender is charged with the crime of first or second degree murder and it cannot be determined where the offense or the elements of the offense occurred, the offense is deemed to have been committed in the parish where the body of the victim was found.

House Bill 663 by Representative Winston (Act 103) requires the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information to make available to the Department of Social Services state and national criminal history record information on (1) parents of children who have been removed from their custody and placed in the custody of the department; (2) parents or caretakers involved in investigations of abuse or neglect; (3) potential caretakers of a child who is either in the custody of the department or is the subject of an investigation of abuse or neglect. Act 103 adds a provision during an emergency situation when a child must be removed from his home due to exigent circumstances and placed in the home of an individual, the department may request that a criminal justice agency perform a national name-based criminal history record check of each adult residing in that home. The results of the name-based criminal history record check may be provided to the department, which shall then provide a complete set of each adult resident's fingerprints to the bureau for the immediate submission to the FBI within twelve calendar days from the date the name-based criminal history record check search was conducted. The bureau shall either positively identify the fingerprint subject or forward the fingerprints to the FBI within fifteen calendar days from the date the name-based criminal history record check search was conducted. Act 103 further provides that the child shall be removed from the home immediately if any adult resident fails to provide such fingerprints or written permission to perform a federal criminal history record check when requested to do so.

Act 103 requires that when placement of a child in a home is denied as a result of a name-based criminal history record check of a resident and the resident contests that denial, each such resident shall, within five business days, submit to the department a complete set of the resident's fingerprints with written permission allowing the department to forward the fingerprints to the bureau for submission to the FBI.

House Bill 738 by Representative Martiny (Act 413) requires that if a judge orders a mistrial, upon motion of either the state or the defendant, the court shall order an automatic 24-hour stay of all proceedings in which either the state or the defendant may take an emergency writ application to the appropriate reviewing court. Act 413 also requires the jury shall not be released pending the stay unless both the state and defendant agree to release the jury.

House Bill 1458 by Representative LaFleur (Act 401) requires that if a written waiver of rights form is used during the acceptance of a guilty plea, the notice of the post-conviction relief prescriptive period may be included in the written waiver of rights.

House Bill 1697 by Representative Faucheux (Act 359) provides that a justice of the peace has criminal jurisdiction parish wide as a committing magistrate, the power to bail or discharge in cases not capital or necessarily punishable at hard labor, and the power to require bonds to keep the peace. Act 359 also authorizes a justice of the peace to retain original jurisdiction over a judgment, enforcement, and collection of garnishments, judgment debtor examinations, and the issuance of any writ to enforce its judgment. Act 359 grants the constable of a justice of the peace court to have parish wide authority to enforce its judgments.

House Concurrent Resolution 90 by Representative Townsend (enrolled) requests the Louisiana Supreme Court to study and make recommendations for a uniform and streamlined procedure for expungement of criminal records. This resolution requests a report of the study be submitted to the legislature 120 days prior to the 2005 Regular Session.

Senate Bill 544 by Senator Holden (pending Senate passage- subject to call) pertained to the issue of mental retardation of a capital defendant which is determined prior to trial. The bill would have required the judge to select a panel consisting of two psychologists licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and approved by the Louisiana Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities and the Louisiana Psychological Association. In addition to the panel, the bill would have given the state and the defense the right to an independent psychological examination of the defendant for the determination of the issue of mental retardation of the defendant.


House Bill 549 by Representative Baldone (Act 762) requires an offender shall be placed on supervised probation after release from custody. Act 762 further requires the offender to submit and complete either of the following treatment plans:

1. A treatment plan recommended by the office for addictive disorders following evaluation, including inpatient substance abuse treatment for at least four weeks and the additional 12 months of treatment, or

2. Substance abuse treatment in an alcohol and drug abuse program provided by a drug court division.

Additionally, Act 762 provides any offender sentenced to home incarceration is on supervised probation and that his probation may be revoked if he violates any condition of probation, including conditions of home incarceration. Act 762 also contains provisions for monthly home visitation by personnel of the department occurring for the first six months, and thereafter, the department shall determine the level of supervision needed based upon a risk assessment instrument.

House Bill 918 by Representative Baldone (pending conference committee) was introduced with requirements for the court to mandate an ignition interlock device on any vehicle operated by a person charged with second or subsequent offense of driving while intoxicated, underage driving under the influence, vehicular homicide, vehicular negligent injuring, and first degree vehicular negligent injuring as a condition of release on bail. The bill provided penalties for failure to comply with the provisions which result in the revocation of bail and reincarceration of the defendant. Additionally, this bill would have allowed the court to waive these provisions under exceptional circumstances.

House Bill 1710 by Representative Baldone (Act 903) requires that when the court imposes the use of an interlock device upon any person, the person must provide proof of installation within 30 days.

House Bill 1712 by Representative Baldone (Act 905) requires courts to order the installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicles registered to persons whose driving privileges have been suspended because of a DWI-related offense. The ignition interlock device shall remain on the vehicle for a period of time not less than the remaining period of suspension, revocation, or cancellation. Act 905 further prohibits persons who are ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed after driving while under suspension for a DWI-related offense to apply for a hardship appeal.

Questions and comments may be directed to websen@legis.la.gov
Baton Rouge, Louisiana.