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After The Trial Blog

The After The Trial blog presents insights on ongoing and recent trials around the state of Alabama, including weekly criminal law round-ups.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: Second Amendment Ruling

J.D. Lloyd - Wednesday, June 15, 2016
A huge Second Amendment ruling just came out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court has ruled that the Second Amendment does not protect the carrying of concealed firearms by a vote of 7-4, upholding the legality two California counties' restrictive "for good cause" showing requirements. There's a very good chance we're going to see this case before the US Supreme Court next term. Read the decision HERE.

Lethal Injection Drugs in South Carolina & Alabama

J.D. Lloyd - Wednesday, June 08, 2016


A blog I follow -- the Sentencing Law and Policy Blog -- had an interesting recent post of note... The article looks at how both South Carolina and federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Dylann Roof's allegedly race-based, mass shooting at a Charleston church in 2015. This case poses a unique situation since this is the first modern case where both state and federal want execution after both rejected Roof’s plea to serve life in prison. However, with South Carolina running out of the drugs used for lethal injections in 2013 and manufacturers recently cutting off supplies of the drug to the states, prosecutors could be waiting a long time for Roof’s punishment to be fulfilled even if he is condemned to death by the jury.

 

Alabama faced a similar issue when the production of the first drug used in the three-drug cocktail of the state’s lethal injection, sodium thiopental, was halted by the manufacturer. Several other drug companies such as Pfizer and Akorn have stopped selling drugs used in executions to state prisons. These decisions have significantly slowed down executions in states using the death penalty and has led to a myriad of new legal challenges under the Eight Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment." The state is currently working to use compounding pharmacies that will make customized batches of drugs, but they have had difficulties with their recent recruitment attempts.

 

 

If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.



 

CCA Caselaw Update - June 2016

J.D. Lloyd - Friday, June 03, 2016


Malone v. State (CR-14-1326)

Malone was charged with second-degree assault and moved before trial for an immunity hearing under § 13A-3-23(d). During the incident in question, Malone stabbed the other party after the other person grabbed Malone by the throat, Malone left, and the other person caught up to Malone and grabbed him by the throat again. Malone’s self-defense claim wasn’t based upon a Stand-Your-Ground defense. The circuit court denied his request on the grounds that it did not have the authority to decide the question of immunity at a pretrial hearing. REVERSED. This case appears to be a pretty formative decision in the area of self-defense and the on-going interpretation of the 2006 amendment. The Court resolved two pretty big questions in favor of defendants.

 


1. Using deadly force is permissible under § 13A-3-23 outside of the stand-your-ground situations discussed in § 13A-3-23(b). One of the questions presented here was whether the 2006 Stand-Your-Ground amendment to § 13A-3-23(b) limited the use of deadly force in self defense to only those situations covered by the amendment to § 13A-3-23(b) -- where (a) a defendant is in a place he/she has a right to be and (b) isn’t involved in unlawful activity. Effectively, the State argued that if your situation didn’t follow under this dynamic -- i.e., like Malone’s -- the use of deadly physical force is not permitted. On the other hand, Malone argued that the common-law duty to retreat still applied in situations not covered by § 13A-3-23(b). The Court of Criminal Appeals agreed, holding that the amendment didn’t abrogated the common law duty to retreat before using deadly physical force -- the amendment just gave another justification for using deadly physical force.


2. A § 13A-3-23(d) immunity hearing is not limited to only Stand-Your-Ground situations but rather any circumstance in which someone is possibly justified in using self defense. Again, the State tried to read the 2006 amendment in a narrow manner that simply isn’t justified by the plain wording of the statute. As such, the CCA held that an immunity hearing is authorized under § 13A-3-23(d) to adjudicate any self-defense claim, not just stand-your-ground claims.

 

Woods v. State (CR-14-0845)


Woods pleaded guilty to DUI in the Montgomery District Court and appealed for a trial de novo in the circuit court. During the circuit court trial, the State introduced over Woods’ objection a redacted copy of his guilty-plea conviction in the district court. On appeal, Woods argued that the guilty-plea shouldn’t have been allowed in a trial de novo; however, the State argued that under Phillips v. City of Dothan, 534 So. 3d 381 (Ala. Crim. App. 1988), the plea was admissible. REVERSED. The CCA decided that Phillips doesn’t comport with the idea that a trial de novo “wipes the slate clean” relying on language in Yarbrough v. City of Birmingham, 535 So. 2d 75 (Ala. Crim. App. 1977) and Ex parte Sorsby, 12 So .3d 139 (Ala. 2007). As such, the Court overruled Phillips and held that the admission of the guilty plea was reversible error.


Smith v. State (CR-97-1258)


In a death case that saw numerous remands and orders new sentencing hearings for a myriad of reasons, the circuit court held a fourth penalty-phase hearing wherein it excluded the public during the jury selection phase of the proceeding over the defense’s objection. The circuit court offered a generic justification regarding the small size of the courtroom to support its decision. The jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2 and the court followed that recommendation. REVERSED The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed, finding that the circuit court failed to show how closing the courtroom was justified under Waller v. Georgia, 467 U.S. 39 (1984).

 

Ingmire v. State (CR-14-1447)

 

Ingmire was charged and convicted of one count second-degree theft and one count receiving stolen property in connection to the theft/sale of a four-wheeler. At trial, the circuit court allowed the State to introduce a NCIC report where the four-wheeler was listed as stolen. The defense objected. REVERSED . Here, the CCA held that the NCIC report was hearsay and was not, in this trial, show to be a business record and worthy of exception under Rule 803(6) because there was no evidence that the report fit within the business-records exception. The Court left open the possibility that NCIC reports could one day be held to fit within the exception, but such a showing was not made in the trial below.

 

Benn v. State (CR-14-0714)


Benn was convicted of seven counts of capital murder and the jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2. On December 12, 2014, the circuit court held a judicial-sentencing hearing and took the arguments under advisement. On January 29, 2015, the court issued a written sentencing order sentencing Benn to death. On appeal, Benn argued that the CCA lacked jurisdiction to consider this matter because the circuit court failed to enter a judgment of conviction as required by law. APPEAL DISMISSED. Relying on the AL SC’s recent decision in Ex parte Kelley, [Ms.  1131451] (Ala. 2015) and § 12-22-130, the CCA held that trial court must pronounce in open court both an adjudication of guilt and sentence.

 

Glaze v. State (CR-15-0553)

 

This was a DUI case involving a municipality wherein the appeal was dismissed for the same reason in Benn v. State

 

If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.


 

 

Alabama Criminal Law Round-Up May 31st

J.D. Lloyd - Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Here are a few of the criminal law stories that occurred around the state of Alabama this past week:

 

 

 

If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.



 

Alabama Criminal Law Round May 23rd

J.D. Lloyd - Monday, May 23, 2016


Here are a few of the criminal law stories that occurred around the state of Alabama this past week:

 

 

 

If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.



 

Alabama Criminal Law Round-Up May 13th

J.D. Lloyd - Saturday, May 14, 2016


Here are a few of the criminal law stories that occurred around the state of Alabama this past few weeks:

 

 

 

If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.



 

CCA CASELAW UPDATE - APRIL 2016

J.D. Lloyd - Friday, May 06, 2016


Eugene Lee Jones v. State (CR-14-1332)

 

Jones was convicted of manslaughter as a lesser-included offense of murder, stemming from him killing a woman he suspected of setting him up in a robbery. Jones voluntarily talked to investigators on July 29, 2013, in connection to the death, but eventually stopped the questioning when he invoked his right to counsel. Jones was arrested on an outstanding warrant out of Bessemer. Jones was eventually transported back to Lauderdale County on another warrant stemming from a charge unrelated to the homicide. While still in custody, Jones was asked to submit to a polygraph examination. Jones waived his Miranda rights, submitted to the polygraph, and subsequently made another statement in which he admitted that he strangled the victim. Jones moved to suppress this statement under Edwards v. AZ, 451 US 477 (1981) on the grounds that investigators improperly re-initiated contact after he had invoked his right to counsel. The circuit court denied the motion. AFFIRMED. Relying on MD v. Shatzer, 559 US 98 (2010), the CCA affirmed the denial of the motion to suppress on the grounds that “coercive effect” of re-initiation of interrogation wasn’t present in this case like it was in Edwards. Essentially, the Court held that if enough time has passed since the initial invocation of the right to counsel -- more than 14 days -- there is no presumptively problematic re-initiation as there was in Edwards.

 

Levins v. State (CR-15-0612)

 

Bell v. State (CR-15-0618)


The appellants in these two cases were two expungement petitioners who were denied relief at the circuit court level and asked the CCA to reverse the denials of their petitions. APPEALS DISMISSED One may only challenge the denial of their expungement petition by petitioning the Alabama Supreme Court for certiorari review of the denial of the petition for expungement.


John Earle Redfearn, IV v. State (CR-14-0500)

 

This case involved the denial of a motion to suppress drugs evidence recovered from Redfearn’s body. In February 2012, law enforcement obtained a search warrant of Redfearn’s residence based upon 2 controlled buys that occurred at the residence with Redfearn. Law enforcement executed the SW after they observed Redfearn drive away from the house. He was stopped several miles away while the search of the house was going on and taken back to the house by the detaining officers. While executing the warrant, Redfearn’s girlfriend arrived at the house and eventually told the officers that Redfearn keeps drugs on his person. An officer strip-searched Redfearn at the residence and recovered a bottle containing oxycodone pills in his underwear. Redfearn moved to suppress under Bailey v. US, 133 S.Ct. 1031 (2013). AFFIRMED. The CCA explained that while Bailey held that a suspect may be lawfully detained while police are conducting a search warrant only when the person is in the "immediate vicinity" of the place to be searched, Redfearn was properly detained because the police had probable cause to arrest him based upon the controlled buys previously carried out with Redfearn and observed by law enforcement.

 

Nathaniel Woods (CR-10-0695)


Alfonso Morris (CR-11-1925)


John Russell Calhoun (CR-14-0779)

In these three cases, the CCA affirmed the denial of Rule 32 relief for death-row inmates without holding evidentiary hearings. There’s not much that’s noteworthy in these opinions outside of the observation that the petitions were summarily denied because each petitioner failed to plead sufficient facts that, if proven true, could entitle them to relief. The vast majority of the factual claims in the three petitions were bare-boned factual allegations. In Woods and Morris, petitioners raised claims that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present certain expert testimony at trial. The CCA affirmed the summary dismissal of these claims because the petitioner failed to identify an expert and what that expert’s testimony would have been at the pleading stage. It bears repeating that if you’re going to raise an IAC claim, in order to be entitled to a hearing, you have to give the circuit court sufficient factual allegations that the court can conclude that your claims could entitle you to relief if proven true. In the context of IAC based on the failure to call certain expert witnesses, you need to make a proffer as to who that expert would have been and what the testimony would have been at the pleading stage.

 

Brian Fredick Lucas (CR-14-0744)

 

Lucas was convicted of first-degree attempted sodomy by forcible compulsion and first-degree sexual abuse stemming from an incident in which he allegedly touched his step-daughter on the mouth with his penis while she was sleeping. The CCA reversed his first-degree sodomy conviction on the grounds that the State’s showing did not present evidence of forcible compulsion -- there was no threat by Lucas or evidence that his actions overcame her earnest resistance. The CCA did enter a judgment convicting Lucas of attempted sexual misconduct.

 

 

If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.



 

Alabama Criminal Law Round-Up April 29th

J.D. Lloyd - Friday, April 29, 2016


Here are a few of the criminal law stories that occurred around the state of Alabama this past week:

 

If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.



 

Alabama Criminal Law Round-Up April 22nd

J.D. Lloyd - Friday, April 22, 2016


Here are a few of the criminal law stories that occurred around the state of Alabama this past week:

 

 

 

If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.


 

 

Alabama Criminal Law Round-Up April 15th

J.D. Lloyd - Saturday, April 16, 2016


Here are a few of the criminal law stories that occurred around the state of Alabama this past week:

 

 

 

If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.


 


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