The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal has vacated a man's habitual offender classification and 40-year sentence and remanded him to state district court for re-sentencing.
Dwayne Anthony Sylvester, 43, was convicted in 2017 of attempted second-degree murder after stabbing Gerald Carter on Feb. 18, 2017, at the Easy Aces Casino, 1825 Interstate 10 Service Road. Video surveillance showed Sylvester taking out a knife and stabbing Carter, who was later treated for wounds to his neck and torso.
Sylvester was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison without the benefit of parole but prosecutors later charged him as a habitual offender and he was resentenced to 40 years without the benefit of parole.
The 3rd Circuit, citing Louisiana vs. Lyles, vacated the habitual offender adjudication and sentence and remanded Sylvester's case to state district court for re-sentencing.
The Louisiana vs. Lyles case involves Henri Lyles, who was found guilty by a jury of an aggravated battery committed in 2015. The state filed a habitual offender bill of information alleging two previous offenses, a 1991 distribution of cocaine conviction and a 2004 manslaughter conviction. In early 2017, the district court adjudicated Lyles as a third-felony offender and sentenced him to life.
He appealed, contending the Habitual Offender Law, as amended by the Legislature in 2017, should have applied to him. Among other changes, the act reduced from 10 to five years the time allowed (known as the cleansing period) between expiration of correctional supervision for one offense and commission of the next offense on the habitual offender ladder.
Finding the amended law applied to him, the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated his habitual offender adjudication and sentence, and remanded him with instructions to the district court for further proceedings.
Regarding Sylvester, the 3rd Circuit found the wrong cleansing period was applied to the defendant's predicate convictions. It said the five-year cleansing period should have been applied instead of the 10-year cleansing period.
The 3rd Circuit also wrote in its opinion that although attempted second-degree murder is a violent offense, Sylvester's previous offenses (both possession of controlled substances) were neither violent offenses or sex offenses.
The defendant is serving his sentence at the Allen Correctional Center in Kinder.
Sylvester's case will be taken up for re-sentencing at a future date in state district court.