Convictions upheld for former LC priest

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal on Tuesday upheld the 2016 convictions of a former Lake Charles priest found guilty of raping two boys between 1986 and 1991. 

Authorities had accused Mark Broussard of raping two altar boys — one between July 1986 and September 1988, when the child was between 11 and 12 years old, and the other between September 1988 to July 1991, when the boy was between ages 10 and 13.

Broussard was indicted in August 2012 on two counts of aggravated rape, molestation of a juvenile, aggravated oral sexual battery and oral sexual battery.

Broussard was found guilty in February 2016 on all charges and was sentenced to two life terms for each aggravated rape charge; 15 years for molestation; 25 years for aggravated oral sexual battery; and 15 years for oral sexual battery. 

All sentences were ordered to be served consecutively, with credit for time served.

Broussard filed a motion in April 2016 to have his sentences reconsidered. 

In his appeal, Broussard said the trial court erred when it denied a defense request to dismiss a prospective juror who said she had been raped as a child and that neither of her abusers had been prosecuted. The appellate court upheld the denial.

“There was nothing in the prospective juror’s responses to defense counsel’s questioning to indicate that she harbored anger against her violators that would have affected her ability to judge the evidence in the current case impartially,” wrote the court.

Broussard also said police had illegally continued their interrogation after he had invoked his right to counsel and that the videotaped statements made during his interrogation violated his constitutional right to have counsel present when requested.

The appellate court upheld the lower court’s decision to deny the defense motion to suppress based on Broussard’s invoking his right to counsel.

“We cannot say that the trial court erred in the current case when it found that the defendant’s statement that he thought he wanted a lawyer was an unequivocal indication such that required the detectives to terminate the interview,” the court said.

Broussard said the trial court also erred when it permitted prosecutors to introduce other crimes evidence at the trial. The appellate court said the defense didn’t specify what evidence it objected to or where in the record it was introduced at trial.

Broussard also took issue with the trial court’s refusal to grant most of his requested redactions regarding other crimes evidence from a transcript of his March 22, 2012, interview with detectives. The videotaped interview was redacted as ordered by the trial court and presented to the jury.

According to court documents, the defense requested 39 redactions, including several references made by Broussard relating to the victims; comments made by Broussard about his own anguished mental and emotional reactions to his behavior that didn’t mention other victims; and references Broussard made about another victim who testified at the trial but wasn’t listed in the indictment.

Opinion comments made by detectives during the interrogation and references to any other victims disclosed during that time were redacted by the trial court. The appellate court found no merit in this assignment of error. 

“At the hearing on the motion to redact, while defense counsel objected when the trial court denied his requests to redact, defense counsel never stated a ground for the objection,” the appellate court wrote.

“Nor in brief to this court does the defendant argue why each requested redaction was more prejudicial to his case than prohibitive.”

The judges said Broussard hadn’t “shown how the probative value of the allowed evidence was outweighed by the prejudicial effect of the evidence.”

””

(Source: MGN Online)

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