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State of Louisiana v. Calvin L. Broadway
Case Number: 53,105-KA
Judge: Jeff Cox
Court: COURT OF APPEAL SECOND CIRCUIT STATE OF LOUISIANA
Plaintiff's Attorney: JAMES E. STEWART, SR.
RICHARD S. FEINBERG
WILLIAM C. GASKINS
VICTORIA T. WASHINGTON
Assistant District Attorneys
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On July 3, 2017, Broadway was charged by a bill of information with
the aggravated battery of Brenda Gilmer, in violation of La. R.S. 14:34; the
offense occurred on June 3, 2017. There were multiple amended bills of
information filed in this case. The final amended bill was filed March 5,
2018, and included only the charge of aggravated battery. A jury trial was
held from April 16th to 18th, 2018, where the following evidence was
Brenda Gilmer testified that she was on Pickett Street on June 3, 2017,
to visit her friend Gloria Washington. Gilmer testified that she was
acquainted with someone whose cell phone was stolen. Gilmer testified that
earlier that day, she called the stolen phone number on behalf of the
acquaintance to see who would answer. Gilmer testified that the person who
answered informed her that Broadway stole the phone, and she relayed that
information to others. Gilmer testified she was speaking with Washington
and another man, when Broadway came down the street toward her. Gilmer
testified that Broadway said to her, “Lyin’ bitch,” and he then “busted me
upside the head” and “split my face.”
Gilmer testified that she then went into nearby bushes and retrieved a
bottle to defend herself. Gilmer testified that she broke the bottle and came
back to fight Broadway off. She testified that Broadway was still close to
her and continuing to come at her when she brought the broken bottle out of
the bushes. Gilmer stated that she was backing away from Broadway and
she tripped and fell onto her back. She stated that at that point Broadway
straddled her, with his knees on her arms, and beat her in the face. Gilmer
testified that at that point in the altercation, she no longer had the bottle. She
stated that she could not see because she had blood all over her face. Gilmer
testified that she heard Washington yell for someone to get Broadway off of
her, because he was going to kill her.
Gilmer testified that she then walked down Fairfield Avenue and
passed out. She stated that she took off her shirt during the fight so
Broadway would not grab it. She testified that she spent two days in the
hospital, and she received staples and stitches as a result of the altercation
Gilmer testified that she grew up with Broadway’s family and knew
him prior to the altercation. She testified that she did not go to Pickett Street
to confront Broadway about the stolen phone. She stated that Broadway
punched her with a closed fist. Gilmer testified that she is a diagnosed
paranoid schizophrenic, and it is difficult for her to calm down once she gets
angry. Gilmer testified that Broadway’s actions toward her made her angry.
Gilmer affirmed that she had a prior conviction for simple battery.
Corporal James Bass, with the Shreveport Police Department
(“SPD”), testified that he was dispatched on June 3, 2017 to 941 Pickett
Street, Shreveport, Louisiana, in response to a reported stabbing. Cpl. Bass
testified that on the way to the scene he was informed that the victim was
walking along Fairfield Avenue toward Louisiana Avenue. Cpl. Bass stated
that he encountered the victim, Gilmer, walking on the median between
traffic lanes. Cpl. Bass testified that Gilmer was not wearing a shirt and was
bleeding heavily from the side of her head around her ear. He stated that
Gilmer was “screaming and hollering, kind of hysterical.” Cpl. Bass stated
that Gilmer was hard to understand and communicate with, and that he,
along with other SPD officers and members of the fire department,
attempted to calm her down. He stated that Gilmer was placed in an
ambulance and transported to the hospital.
A dash cam (“MVS”) video from Cpl. Bass’s police unit was played
for the jury, which showed what Cpl. Bass described about his encounter
with Gilmer. Cpl. Bass then attempted to locate the crime scene and, after
finding a blood trail on Pickett Street, he found bloody items on the ground.
Cpl. Bass took photos of the items, which depicted a blue bandanna next to
what appeared to be blood droplets on the sidewalk. The photos also
depicted a white cloth with what appeared to be blood on it and a truck with
what also appeared to be blood on the driver-side front fender. Cpl. Bass
testified that he did not speak to Broadway because he had already been put
in an ambulance.
Gloria Washington testified that she witnessed the altercation between
Broadway and Gilmer. Washington testified that the physical altercation
began when Broadway called Gilmer a “bitch,” as Gilmer backed away from
Broadway while saying repeatedly, “Leave me alone.” Washington testified
that Broadway started the fight and that there was blood everywhere. She
stated that at one point Gilmer fell, and Broadway was on top of her and
they were still fighting. Washington testified that Gilmer did not want to
fight and kept saying, “Leave me alone.”
SPD Corporal Jeremy Edwards testified that he was dispatched to
Pickett Street on June 3, 2017, in response to a stabbing. Cpl. Edwards
testified that, upon arriving at Pickett Street, he saw Broadway bleeding
heavily from his head. Cpl. Edwards testified that Broadway was holding a
glass bottle. The MVS video from Cpl. Edwards’ police unit depicts
Broadway standing on the side of the road with a white cloth on his shoulder
covered in what appears to be blood. On the video, Cpl. Edwards and others
can be heard telling Broadway to put something down so he can be assisted
with his injuries. Cpl. Edwards testified that he collected the bottle as
evidence, and it had what appeared to be blood on it. Cpl. Edwards stated
that he did not take a statement from Broadway.
Heaven Gillins testified that she drove onto Pickett Street on June 3,
2017, to find “a commotion.” She stated that she saw Broadway being
aggressive toward Gilmer and he had a bottle in his hands. Gillins testified
that Broadway was still trying to “get at” Gilmer, and Gilmer was repeatedly
saying, “Leave me alone.” Gillins stated that Gilmer did not appear to want
to fight. Gillins testified that Broadway and Gilmer were both “pretty
bloody,” and Gilmer had a big knot on her head. Gillins stated that the
neighbors got the two separated, and Gilmer had taken her shirt off before
The State rested after Gillins testified. Broadway elected not to testify
in his own defense, and the defense rested without presenting evidence. The
jury returned with a responsive verdict, finding Broadway guilty of second
degree battery. Broadway did not file any post-trial motions. On June 20,
2018, the State filed a habitual offender bill, charging Broadway as a fifth
felony offender. Broadway’s predicate offenses were:
1. Simple Burglary: Broadway pled guilty on April 17, 1985, and was sentenced to three years.
2. Simple Burglary: Broadway pled guilty on August 3, 1988, and was sentenced to three years.
3. First Degree Robbery: Broadway pled guilty on March 26, 1991, and was sentenced to four years.
4. Attempted Simple Robbery: Broadway was found guilty on August 24, 1995, and was sentenced to 50 years (as a fourthfelony offender).
On October 17, 2018, Broadway was adjudicated a fifth-felony
offender, and on February 20, 2019, he was sentenced to life imprisonment
at hard labor without benefits. Broadway was given credit for time served,
and the trial judge stated his sentence was to run consecutively to any other
sentence. Broadway was advised of his appeal and post-conviction relief
time limits. Broadway objected to his sentence, but he did not file a written
motion to reconsider sentence. Broadway now appeals.
Broadway argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient
to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty of second degree
battery. Broadway argues that he acted in self-defense when Gilmer
attacked him with a broken bottle. He therefore asserts that he lacked the
specific intent required to commit second degree battery.
The State argues Broadway was angry with Gilmer over the
accusation of his theft of the cell phone, and he attacked Gilmer, who was
retreating from him. The State asserts that Broadway was the aggressor and
that he struck Gilmer with a closed fist, with the specific intent to hurt her.
The State asserts that Gilmer used the glass bottle to defend herself while
continuing to retreat from Broadway. The State argues that when Gilmer
tripped and fell, Broadway straddled her and beat her with the bottle. The
State points out that Broadway had the bottle neck in his hand when SPD
The standard of appellate review for a sufficiency of the evidence
claim is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to
the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential
elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S. Ct. 2781, 2789, 61 L. Ed. 2d 560 (1979);
State v. Tate, 01-1658 (La. 5/20/03), 851 So. 2d 921, cert. denied, 541 U.S.
905, 124 S. Ct. 1604, 158 L. Ed. 2d 248 (2004); State v. Bass, 51,411 (La.
App. 2 Cir. 6/21/17), 223 So. 3d 1242, writ not cons., 18-0296 (La. 4/16/18),
239 So. 3d 830. This standard, now legislatively embodied in La. C. Cr. P.
art. 821, does not provide the appellate court with a vehicle to substitute its
own appreciation of the evidence for that of the fact finder. State v. Pigford,
05-0477 (La. 2/22/06), 922 So. 2d 517; State v. Steines, 51,698 (La. App. 2
Cir. 11/15/17), 245 So. 3d 224, writ denied, 17-2174 (La. 10/8/18), 253 So.
A reviewing court affords great deference to the trier of fact’s
decision to accept or reject the testimony of a witness in whole or in part.
State v. Steines, supra. The appellate court does not assess credibility or
reweigh the evidence. State v. Smith, 94-3116 (La. 10/16/95), 661 So. 2d
442; State v. Dale, 50,195 (La. App. 2 Cir. 11/18/15), 180 So. 3d 528, writ
denied, 15-2291 (La. 4/4/16), 190 So. 3d 1203. In the absence of internal
contradiction or irreconcilable conflict with physical evidence, one witness’s
testimony, if believed by the trier of fact, is sufficient support for a requisite
factual conclusion. State v. Cooley, 51,895 (La. App. 2 Cir. 5/23/18), 247
So. 3d 1159, writ denied, 18-1160 (La. 3/6/19), 266 So. 3d 899.
Where there is conflicting testimony about factual matters, the
resolution of which depends upon a determination of the credibility of the
witnesses, the matter is one of the weight of the evidence, not its sufficiency.
State v. Cooley, supra. Such testimony alone is sufficient even where the
State does not introduce medical, scientific, or physical evidence. State v.
Steines, supra. The trier of fact is charged to make a credibility
determination and may, within the bounds of rationality, accept or reject the
testimony of any witness in whole or in part; the reviewing court may
impinge on that discretion only to the extent necessary to guarantee the
fundamental due process of law. State v. Casey, 99-0023 (La. 1/26/00), 775
So. 2d 1022, cert. denied, 531 U.S. 840, 121 S.Ct. 104, 148 L.Ed. 2d 62
(2000); State v. Cooley, supra.
Second degree battery is a battery when the offender intentionally
inflicts serious bodily injury. La. R.S. 14:34.1. Battery is the intentional use
of force or violence upon the person of another. La. R.S. 14:33. Second
degree battery is a specific intent crime and therefore, the evidence must
show that the defendant intended to inflict serious bodily injury. State v.
Fuller, 414 So. 2d 306 (La. 1982); State v. Jackson, 51,575 (La. App. 2 Cir.
9/27/17), 244 So. 3d 764. Specific intent is that state of mind that exists
when the circumstances indicate the offender actively desired the prescribed
criminal consequences to follow his act or failure to act. La. R.S. 14:10(1).
Specific intent may be inferred from the circumstances surrounding the
offense and the conduct of the defendant. State v. Jackson, supra. The
determination of whether the requisite intent is present in a criminal case is
for the trier of fact, and a review of this determination is to be guided by the
standards of Jackson v. Virginia, supra; State v. Jackson, supra.
In a non-homicide situation, a claim of self-defense requires a dual
inquiry: first, an objective inquiry into whether the force used was
reasonable under the circumstances; and, second, a subjective inquiry into
whether the force used was apparently necessary. State v. Jackson, supra.
This Court has repeatedly held that the burden of proving self-defense
in a non-homicide case rests with the defendant to prove the defense by a
preponderance of the evidence. See State v. Jackson, supra; State v. Jones,
49,396 (La. App. 2 Cir. 11/19/14), 152 So. 3d 235, writ denied, 14-2631 (La.
9/25/15), 178 So. 3d 565; State v. Cheatham, 38,413 (La. App. 2 Cir.
6/23/04), 877 So. 2d 164, writ denied, 04-2224 (La. 6/24/05), 904 So. 2d
Broadway, for the first time on appeal, argues he acted in self-defense
in his altercation with Gilmer. However, the evidence presented at trial does
not support that claim. Gilmer, Washington, and Gillins each testified that
Broadway was the aggressor and struck Gilmer with a closed fist, starting
the fight between them. Washington and Gillins both testified that Gilmer
backed away from Broadway and repeatedly said to him, “Leave me alone.”
Gilmer attempted to defend herself with a broken bottle, and after she
tripped and fell, Broadway pinned her down and continued to beat her.
Gilmer suffered a serious head wound which required stitches, staples, and
two days in the hospital. Broadway’s actions satisfy the elements required
for a conviction of second degree battery, and the jury was able to weigh the
evidence presented and come to its own conclusions about Broadway’s guilt.
This assignment of error lacks merit.
Broadway argues the sentence imposed is unconstitutionally harsh and
excessive given the facts and circumstances of this case. Broadway also
argues that his punishment as a habitual offender makes no measurable
contribution to acceptable goals of punishment, and that his sentence
amounts to nothing more than the purposeful imposition of pain and
suffering and is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the crime.
The State argues that Broadway was previously found to be a fourth-felony
habitual offender following his conviction for attempted simple robbery and
was first sentenced to life imprisonment. The State points out that his
sentence was later amended to 50 years at hard labor, because Broadway had
not committed a crime of violence. The State argues that Broadway was
released early with 28 years left on his sentence. The State argues that
Broadway’s instant offense and two of his predicate offenses, simple
robbery and attempted first degree robbery, are crimes of violence. The
State also points out that Broadway’s two other predicate offenses of two
counts of simple burglary each carried up to a 12-year sentence when
committed. Therefore, the State argues, Broadway’s life sentence was
mandatory under La. R.S. 15:529.1.
Ordinarily, appellate review of sentences for excessiveness utilizes a
two-step process, examining the aggravating and mitigating factors provided
in La. C. Cr. P. art. 894.1, and then the court examines whether the sentence
is constitutionally excessive. However, when no motion to reconsider
sentence is filed or where the motion to reconsider sentence raised only a
claim that the sentence imposed was constitutionally excessive, a defendant
is relegated to review of the sentence on that ground alone. La. C. Cr. P. art.
881.1; State v. Williams, 51,667 (La. App. 2 Cir. 9/27/17), 245 So. 3d 131,
writ not cons., 18-0017 (La. 3/9/18), 237 So. 3d 1190. Here, Broadway did
not file a motion to reconsider sentence, but did object to the sentence on the
record; therefore, a constitutional excessiveness review is all that is required.
A sentence violates La. Const. art. I § 20 if it is grossly out of
proportion to the seriousness of the offense or nothing more than a
purposeless infliction of pain and suffering. State v. Garner, 52,047 (La.
App. 2 Cir. 6/27/18), 250 So. 3d 1152, writ denied, 18-1290 (La. 2/25/19),
266 So. 3d 288. A sentence is grossly disproportionate if, when the crime
and punishment are viewed in light of the harm to society, it shocks the
sense of justice. Id.
The minimum sentences mandated by the Habitual Offender Law are
presumed to be constitutional. State v. Johnson, 97-1906 (La. 03/04/98),
709 So. 2d 672; see State v. Roth, 52,359 (La. App. 2 Cir. 11/14/18), 260 So.
3d 1230, writ denied, 18-2059 (La. 6/17/19), 273 So. 3d 1210. The
legislature’s determination of an appropriate minimum sentence should be
afforded great deference by the judiciary. State v. Johnson, supra; State v.
Floyd, 52,183 (La. App. 2 Cir. 8/15/18), 254 So. 3d 38. Courts have the
power to declare a sentence excessive under La. Const. art. I, § 20 although
it falls within the statutory limits provided by the legislature; however, this
power should be exercised only if the court finds that there is clear and
convincing evidence in the particular case before it which would rebut this
presumption of constitutionality. State v. Johnson, supra; State v. Floyd,
The Habitual Offender Law in effect at the time of Broadway’s
offense stated, in pertinent part:
Any person who, after having been convicted within this state of a felony, or who, after having been convicted under the laws of any other state or of the United States, or any foreign government of a crime which, if committed in this state would be a felony, thereafter commits any subsequent felony within this state, upon conviction of said felony, shall be punished as follows:
(4) If the fourth or subsequent felony is such that, upon a first conviction the offender would be punishable by imprisonment for any term less than his natural life then:
(b) If the fourth felony and two of the prior felonies are felonies defined as a crime of violence under R.S. 14:2(B), a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:540 et seq. when the victim is under the age of eighteen at the time of commission of the offense, or as a violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law punishable by imprisonment for ten years or more, or of any other crime punishable by imprisonment for twelve years or more, or any combination of such crimes, the person shall be imprisoned for the remainder of his natural life, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
La. R.S. 15:529.1(A).
Broadway fails to articulate any reason why his circumstances justify
a departure from the mandatory life sentence as a fifth-felony habitual
offender as required by La. R.S. 15:529.1. His instant conviction for second
degree battery and his prior convictions for simple robbery and attempted
first degree robbery are crimes of violence. Furthermore, his two
convictions for simple burglary both carry possible sentences of up to 12
years. Those facts require that he be sentenced to mandatory life. His
criminal record demonstrates a likelihood of recidivism and a likelihood of
continuing to commit violent criminal offenses. The mandatory life
sentence does not shock the sense of justice. This assignment of error lacks
Outcome: For the foregoing reasons, Broadway’s conviction and sentence are