1. Cardell Hayes Sentenced to 25 Years for Killing former New Orleans Saints football star Will Smith
On Thursday, April 20, 2017, Judge Camille Buras sentenced Cardell Hayes, the man who was convicted of killing former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith, to 25 years in prison. Hayes could have received 60 years in prison, 40 years for the manslaughter conviction for the death of Will Smith plus 20 years for the attempted manslaughter of Racquel Smith if the sentences had run consecutively. When sentences are served concurrently, the sentences are served at the same time, as in Hayes’s case. If the sentences were to run consecutively, Hayes would have to finish serving the sentence for one offense before he started serving the sentence for any other offense.
2. Comments of Hayes’s Attorney John Fuller and District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, Jr. After the Sentencing
According to Hayes’s attorney John Fuller, who gave an interview outside of the Orleans Criminal Court Building located at 2900 Tulane Avenue, and commonly known as Tulane and Broad, Judge Buras must have considered many things in sentencing Cardell Hayes, including the loss to Will Smith’s family, the loss of income to the Smith family, the loss of a father, as well as Cardell Hayes’s background. A spokesperson for District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, Jr. said that the Smith family and the District Attorney are both disappointed with the length of the sentence. Cannizzaro had advocated for the longer sentence of 60 years.
3. The Crime of Manslaughter in Louisiana
Manslaughter is a less serious crime than second degree murder and a responsive verdict to the charge of second degree murder. Under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 814, Responsive verdicts, the only verdicts which may be rendered by the jury when the indictment charges second degree murder are:
(1) A homicide which would be murder under either [first degree murder] or [second degree murder], but the offense is committed in sudden passion or heat of blood immediately caused by provocation sufficient to deprive an average person of his self-control and cool reflection. Provocation shall not reduce a homicide to manslaughter if the jury finds that the offender’s blood had actually cooled, or that an average person’s blood would have cooled, at the time the offense was committed; or
(2) A homicide committed, without any intent to cause death or great bodily harm.
(a) When the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of any felony not enumerated in Article 30 or 30.1, or of any intentional misdemeanor directly affecting the person; or
(b) When the offender is resisting lawful arrest by means, or in a manner, not inherently dangerous, and the circumstances are such that the killing would not be murder under Article 30 or 30.1.
Whoever commits manslaughter shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than forty years. However, if the victim killed was under the age of ten years, the offender shall be imprisoned at hard labor, without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence, for not less than ten years nor more than forty years.
4. The Crime of Attempt in Louisiana
The crime of attempt in Louisiana can be found in La. R.S. § 14:27, which recognizes an attempt to commit any crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony. The attempt statute article must be read with the article proscribing the crime in question. For example, for the attempted manslaughter conviction of Cardell Hayes for his act of shooting Racquel Hayes, the attempt statute, La. R.S. § 14:27, must be read in conjunction with the manslaughter statute, La. R.S. 14:31. The attempt statute reads as follows:
La. R.S. § 14:27. Attempt; penalties; attempt on peace officer; enhanced penalties
Any person who, having a specific intent to commit a crime, does or omits an act for the purpose of tending directly toward the accomplishing of his object is guilty of an attempt to commit the offense intended; and it shall be immaterial whether, under the circumstances, he would have actually accomplished his purpose.
(1) Mere preparation to commit a crime shall not be sufficient to constitute an attempt; but lying in wait with a dangerous weapon with the intent to commit a crime, or searching for the intended victim with a dangerous weapon with the intent to commit a crime, shall be sufficient to constitute an attempt to commit the offense intended.
(2) Further, the placing of any combustible or explosive substance in or near any structure, watercraft, movable, or forestland, with the specific intent eventually to set fire to or to damage by explosive substance such structure, watercraft, movable, or forestland, shall be sufficient to constitute an attempt to commit the crime of arson as defined in R.S. 14:51 through 53.
An attempt is a separate but lesser grade of the intended crime; and any person may be convicted of an attempt to commit a crime, although it appears on the trial that the crime intended or attempted was actually perpetrated by such person in pursuance of such attempt.
Whoever attempts to commit any crime shall be punished as follows:
(1)(a) If the offense so attempted is punishable by death or life imprisonment, he shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than ten nor more than fifty years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
(b) If the offense so attempted is punishable by death or life imprisonment and is attempted against an individual who is a peace officer engaged in the performance of his lawful duty, he shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than 20 nor more than 50 years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
(2)(a) If the offense so attempted is theft of receiving stolen things, and is not punishable as a felony, he shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars, imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
(b) If the offense so attempted is receiving stolen things, and is punishable as a felony, he shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
(c)(i) If the offense so attempted is theft of an amount not less than three hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars, he shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
(ii) If the offense so attempted is theft of an amount over five thousand dollars, he shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars, imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or both.
(3) In all other cases he shall be fined or imprisoned or both, in the same manner as for the offense attempted; such fine or imprisonment shall not exceed one-half of the largest fine, or one-half of the longest term of imprisonment prescribed for the offense so attempted, or both.
For the purposes of Subsection D of this Section, the term “peace officer” means any peace officer, as defined in R.S. 40:2402.
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorneys in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2017 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published April 22, 2017.
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