Minden Press-Herald

Thursday
Oct 02nd

Court upholds life sentence for local man

QUIERZA_LEWISSecond Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld the life sentence of a Webster Parish man convicted as a multiple offender.

Quierza Lewis, who had turned down a plea offer prior to going to trial, was convicted as a three-time felony offender on drug charges.

"This shows where drugs can lead you," said Bossier-Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin. "This guy made some horribly poor choices and continued to mess with the same people and deal drugs."

At his jury trial, Lewis was convicted of poessession of CDS Sch. II (cocaine) in an amount more than 28 grams and originally sentenced to 20 years at hard labor and fined $50,000.

He pled guilty to distribution of cocaine in April, 1998 and was sentenced to six years at hard labor with credit for time served.

He pled guilty again in August, 1999 and was sentenced to five years at hard labor to run consecutively to the previous sentence.

Marvin said that when his office filed a multiple offender bill in March, 2006, the 20-year sentence was vacated.

"In addition to the current conviction, the defendant was alleged to have distributed cocaine in June, 1997 and April, 1998," Marvin said. "To convict a person of a multiple offender bill, you have to prove they are the same person that was convicted on the previous occasion. His identity was critical."

According to court reports, on October 30, 2006, a hearing was held, and the state introduced evidence regarding the defendant's prior and current convictions, as well as testimony of officers involved with the arrest and prosecution on all three convictions.

The reports also related Lewis' argument that evidence presented in October, 2006 failed to establish that he was the same person convicted of distribution of cocaine and sentenced in January, 2000 – the second predicate conviction.

The defendant also argued that since he was 27 years old at the time of his life sentencing, his sentence should be considered "constitutionally excessive" and failed to provide him with the opportunity to be rehabilitated and to reenter society "as a productive member while being punished in a reasonable manner for his nonviolent crime."

Marvin disagreed.

"He (Lewis) complains that a life sentence doesn't give him any reasonable chance at rehabilitation," Marvin said. "But he already had two chances at rehabilitation."

 

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