La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 487(B) provides: Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit the defendant from entering a plea of guilty to a crime nonresponsive to the original indictment when such a plea is acceptable to the district attorney, and in such case, the district attorney shall not be required to file a new indictment to charge the crime to which the plea is offered.
Defendant challenged his conviction in the trial court of five counts of carnal knowledge with a juvenile under La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:80, and asserted that it was error for the trial court to have accepted his nolo contendere plea to the carnal knowledge of a juvenile when the original bill of information charged him with five counts of molestation of a juvenile in violation of La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:81.2. Defendant asserted that his nolo plea was not a responsive plea to the charge of molestation of a juvenile, and that the prosecutor amended the original bill of information, rather than the charging document. The court affirmed defendant's conviction and remanded for resentencing.
Were defendant’s pleas of nolo contendere to five counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile invalid because the plea to carnal knowledge of a juvenile was not responsive to the original charge of molestation of a juvenile?
Under La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 814, there were no listed responsive verdicts to the charge of molestation of a juvenile. Although there were circumstances wherein the acts proscribed by § 14:81.2 could have been committed without engaging in the sexual acts proscribed by 14:80, and defendant's plea was nonresponsive to the charge in the original bill of information, it was not reversible error.