Carol Gist was charged with two counts of distribution of marijuana in separate bills of information (La.R.S. 40:966 A). Defendant pled not guilty to each indictment at the arraignment. After selection of the jury, defendant moved to withdraw her former pleas of not guilty and to enter a plea of guilty to each indictment pursuant to a plea bargain with the state. The trial judge accepted the guilty pleas after determining that they were made voluntarily with understanding of the nature of the charges. The trial judge then ordered that an "informal pre-sentence investigation" be made. At the time of sentencing, defendant filed a motion for a "pre-sentence evidentiary hearing" which was denied by the trial judge. The trial judge sentenced defendant to serve ten years at hard labor on one plea of guilty and five years at hard labor on the other. He expressly directed that the sentences be served consecutively. On appeal, defendant relies on two assignments of error.
Defendant contends the trial judge erred in denying her motion for a pre-sentence evidentiary hearing (Assignment of Error No. 1) and in imposing excessive sentences (Assignment of Error No. 2). Because of our disposition of the case based on the second assignment of error, we need not review the first one.
La.Const. art. 1, § 20 (1974) prohibits the imposition by law of excessive punishment. In State v. Sepulvado, 367 So.2d 762 (La., 1979), we held that "the imposition of a sentence, although within the statutory limit, may violate a defendant's constitutional rights against excessive punishment that is enforceable by this court on appellate review of his conviction." With respect to the appropriate standards for that review, we further stated that: "[T]he statutory criteria legislatively provided by La.C.Cr.P. art. 894.1 which are similar to those evolved by courts in other American jurisdictions with a constitutional or statutory duty to review excessiveness, provide appropriate criteria by which to measure whether a sentence within statutory limits is nevertheless excessive, either by reason of its length or because it specifies confinement rather than less onerous sentence alternatives."
La.Code Crim.P. art. 894.1 sets forth three factors which justify a sentence imposing imprisonment, and eleven other factors which tend to indicate that a suspension of sentence or probation is appropriate.
Construing this article, we have held that, even without formal objection at the time of sentencing, where the trial court imposes a sentence without adequate compliance with the mandatory requirements of this article, this court may vacate a sentence and remand for resentencing when the reasons for an apparently severe sentence in relation to the particular offender and the actual offense committed do not appear in the record. State v. Cox, 369 So.2d 118 (La.1979); State v. Jackson, 360 So.2d 842 (La.1978); State v. Scarborough, 359 So.2d 982 (La.1978); State v. Sepulvado, 359 So.2d 137 (La.1978).
In State v. Sepulvado, 367 So.2d 762 (La., 1979), we noted that the trial judge's reasons in imposing sentence, as required by this statute, "is an important aid to this court when called upon to exercise its constitutional function to review a sentence complained of as excessive."
In State v. Cox, supra, we held that no objection is required as to excessiveness at the time of sentencing to preserve the issue for appellate review when raised by assignment of error to this court.
In the instant case, defendant did not object to the excessiveness of the sentences at the time of sentencing. However, she did assign as error to this court the excessiveness of the sentences. Hence, the issue is properly before us for review.
Defendant alleges that she is a twentytwo year old female and a first offender. Moreover, the distributions involved only two lids of marijuana. In his reasons for imposing the sentences, the trial judge stated that in less than one year defendant had been "fined sixteen times on charges ranging from speeding to resisting an officer." He further stated that he was aware of evidence implicating her in the offense of enticing minors into prostitution; however, he observed that the charge had been nolle prossed. Without going into the matter further, the trial judge sentenced defendant to serve ten years at hard labor on one plea of guilty (maximum term of imprisonment for the offense charged) and five years at hard labor on the other one, with the sentences to be served consecutively. We note from a "Post Sentence Statement by District Attorney" filed in the record that the offenses charged occurred six days apart and each offense involved a sale by defendant, who worked in a cafe, to undercover agents of a plastic bag containing marijuana for the price of twenty dollars.
For the reasons assigned, the convictions are affirmed but the sentences imposed are vacated and set aside, and the case is remanded to the district court with instructions to the trial judge to sentence defendant in accordance with law.
SUMMERS, C. J., dissents.