Hearing set for man who avoided prison for 19 years

A state district judge will hear arguments Sept. 18 over whether to tell a Donaldsonville man convicted 19 years ago of negligent homicide that it is finally time to serve his two-year prison sentence.

Judge Jessie LeBlanc, of the 23rd Judicial District Court, on Monday ordered the hearing for Stanley White, 39, after the Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeal reversed her ruling that had suspended White’s prison sentence last year and sent the case back to LeBlanc.

White pleaded guilty July 10, 1995, to the reduced charge of negligent homicide in an alcohol-related crash in July 1994 on Airline Highway near Gonzales. A 10-week-old St. Amant girl, Brittany Deville, was killed in the crash. White was 19 at the time.

White was sentenced in December 1995 to two years in prison, but he was allowed to remain free while the case was appealed. When he lost that appeal in February 1997, deputies never picked up White. White also did not surrender to begin serving his sentence. But he has earned a college degree, has steady employment and has avoided other run-ins with the law, his attorney has said.

White’s case resurfaced a few years ago with prosecutors seeking to enforce the original sentence, but LeBlanc suspended it and gave White two years’ probation in May 2013.

After an appeal, the majority opinion of the three-judge 1st Circuit panel found on July 14 that LeBlanc did not have the authority to suspend the original sentence and reinstated the two years of prison time.

But the appeals court stayed its order a day later, however, on July 15, because the three judges’ rulings conflicted on how to proceed with the case.

In a subsequent ruling July 21, a majority of the panel reversed LeBlanc, saying she created a new sentence when she suspended White’s original sentence, but the panel majority did not reinstate the original sentence.

The appeals court instead ordered LeBlanc to hear arguments on pending motions from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office seeking to revoke White’s appeal bond and to execute his original sentence.

The September hearing is set for 9 a.m. at the parish Courthouse Annex in Gonzales.

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.