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Man convicted of rape in Jason Williams' first habitual offender case

Prosecutors invoked the habitual offender law despite the fact that the man was convicted of lesser offenses than charged.
Credit: WWL

NEW ORLEANS — A man was convicted of third-degree rape and attempted domestic abuse battery in New Orleans on Friday in the first case involving Louisiana's habitual offender law since District Attorney Jason Williams took office over two years ago.

However, our partners at NOLA.com said that the law was intended to be used if 33-year-old Orlando Brown was found guilty as charged, and Brown was charged with second-degree rape and attempted domestic abuse battery.

Prosecutors claimed that Brown entered a former partner's apartment uninvited on Aug. 28 2021 and held her at knifepoint before beating and raping her. 

Brown had previously been convicted of four felonies including domestic battery.

The habitual offender law significantly extends prison sentences for people who have prior felony convictions and also makes it difficult for judges to intervene.

Brown was offered a plea deal of 20 years in prison as opposed to the mandatory 40 years he would have faced if convicted of second-degree rape and the habitual offender law was applied. 

But Brown rejected the plea deal and since he was convicted of third-degree rape, the application of the habitual offender law would give him a mandatory 25-year sentence and possibly life behind bars.

Brown will be sentenced by Judge Benedict Willard on March 23. After Brown is sentenced, prosecutors can choose to use the habitual offender law.

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