144 So.3d 1262 (Ala. 2013), 1120140, Ex parte Henderson

Docket Nº1120140, 1120202
Citation144 So.3d 1262
Opinion JudgeBOLIN, Justice.
Party NameEx parte Larry Henderson In re: State of Alabama v. Larry Henderson Ex parte Rashad Stoves In re: State of Alabama v. Rashad Stoves
AttorneyFor Larry Henderson, Petitioner: Donald L. Colee, Jr., Birmingham; Raymond Johnson, The Johnson Law Firm, LLC, Birmingham. For Rashad Stoves, Petitoner: R. Wendell Sheffield, Sheffield & Lentine, P.C., Birmingham. For Respondent (1120140): Luther Strange, Attorney General, John M. Porter, Assista...
Judge PanelBOLIN, Justice. Stuart, Parker, Main, Wise, and Bryan, JJ., concur. Shaw, J., concurs in part and concurs in the result. Moore, C.J., and Murdock, J., concur in the result. SHAW, Justice (concurring in part and concurring in the result). Stuart, Parker, Main, Wise, and Bryan, JJ., concur. Shaw, J...
Case DateSeptember 13, 2013
CourtSupreme Court of Alabama

Page 1262

144 So.3d 1262 (Ala. 2013)

Ex parte Larry Henderson

In re: State of Alabama

v.

Larry Henderson

Ex parte Rashad Stoves

In re: State of Alabama

v.

Rashad Stoves

Nos. 1120140, 1120202

Supreme Court of Alabama

September 13, 2013

Released for Publication July 18, 2014.

Jefferson Circuit Court, (CC-10-2902), Alfred Bahakel, Trial Judge; Court of Criminal Appeals, (CR-11-1661). Jefferson Circuit Court, (CC-12-2410; CC-12-2411; CC-12-2412; CC-12-2413; CC-12-2414; and CC-12-2415), Stephen C. Wallace, Trial Judge; Court of Criminal Appeals, (CR-11-2004).

For Larry Henderson, Petitioner: Donald L. Colee, Jr., Birmingham; Raymond Johnson, The Johnson Law Firm, LLC, Birmingham.

For Rashad Stoves, Petitoner: R. Wendell Sheffield, Sheffield & Lentine, P.C., Birmingham.

For Respondent (1120140): Luther Strange, Attorney General, John M. Porter, Assistant Attorney General.

For Respondent (1120202): Luther Strange, Attorney General, John Neiman, Deputy Attorney General, Kristi O. Wilkerson, Assistant Attorney General.

BOLIN, Justice. Stuart, Parker, Main, Wise, and Bryan, JJ., concur. Shaw, J., concurs in part and concurs in the result. Moore, C.J., and Murdock, J., concur in the result. SHAW, Justice (concurring in part and concurring in the result).

OPINION

Page 1263

PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

BOLIN, Justice.

These petitions for a writ of mandamus seek the dismissal of capital-murder indictments against two juvenile offenders based on Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 125 S.Ct. 1183, 161 L.Ed.2d 1 (2005), and Miller v. Alabama,

Page 1264

567 U.S. __, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012). In Roper, the United States Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment bars capital punishment for juveniles, and, in Miller, the Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for juveniles. Both juveniles argue that Alabama's capital-murder statute is unconstitutional as applied to them because the mandatory sentencing structure provides that all defendants charged with a capital offense, including juveniles, must receive either a sentence of death or a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

Facts and Procedural History

On October 22, 2010, Larry Henderson, age 16 at the time of the offense, was indicted in Jefferson County for murder made capital because it was committed during the course of robbery in the first degree, see § 13A-5-40(a)(2), Ala. Code 1975. On July 3, 2012, Henderson filed a motion to dismiss the capital-murder charge, arguing that the State may proceed with other charges against him but that the capital-murder charge must be dismissed because the mandatory punishment of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for a juvenile is unconstitutional. On July 24, 2012, the trial court denied Henderson's motion to dismiss. On July 26, 2012, Henderson filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Court of Criminal Appeals. That same day, Henderson also filed a motion to stay the trial proceedings, which the Court of Criminal Appeals granted. On October 16, 2012, the Court of Criminal Appeals entered an order denying Henderson's petition. That court stated:

" Larry Henderson filed this petition for a writ of mandamus requesting that we direct Judge Alfred Bahakel to grant his motion to dismiss the capital-murder charges against him because, he says, the United States Supreme Court's decision in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. __, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), held that he cannot be sentenced to a term of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In October 2010, Henderson, who was 16 years of age at the time of the offense, was indicted for murdering Alex Rogers during the course of a robbery, a violation of § 13A-5-40(a)(2), Ala. Code 1975. In July 2012, Henderson moved to dismiss the indictment citing the recent case of Miller v. Alabama. The Supreme Court in Miller held that a mandatory term of life imprisonment without parole for a juvenile under the age of 18 at the time he committed murder was a violation of the Eight Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In his motion to dismiss, Henderson argued that 'The State cannot proceed on a capital offense charge where the only punishment is life without parole for a juvenile, as such has been declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court.' The United States Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 125 S.Ct. 1183, 161 L.Ed.2d 1 (2005), previously held that a sentence of death for a juvenile under the age of 18 when he committed the offense was unconstitutional. " The State asserts that the United States Supreme Court in Miller did not vacate Miller's conviction, but only his mandatory sentence, and that the opinion affects only Henderson's sentence and not his conviction. " The Supreme Court in Miller addressed the validity only of Miller's sentence. The Supreme Court did not state that all sentences of life imprisonment without parole for juveniles who commit murder were barred, but that an individualized Page 1265

sentencing determination must be made at which time mitigating circumstances may be presented. Those state courts that have considered a juvenile case in light of Miller v. Alabama have remanded those cases for resentencing. See Henry v. State, (No.05-11-00676-CR, August 24, 2012)(Tex.App. 2012)(not reported in __ S.W.3d __); People v. Leak, (No. 304713, August 2, 2012) (Mich. Ct. App. 2012) (not reported in N.W.2d); Commonwealth v. Knox, 2012 PA Super. 148, 50 A.3d 749 (Pa. S.Ct. 2012)(remanded the case for resentencing in light of Miller); State v. Lockheart, 820 N.W.2d 769 (Iowa Ct. App. 2012) (final publication pending); State v. Bennett, 820 N.W.2d 769 (Iowa Ct. App. 2012) (unpublished opinion). " Henderson has failed to show a clear legal right to have the capital-murder indictment against him dismissed. Accordingly, this petition for a writ of mandamus is denied."

On July 13, 2012, Rashad Stoves, age 17 at the time of the offense, was indicted in Jefferson County for murder made capital because it was committed during the course of a robbery in the first degree, see § 13A-5-40(a)(2), and murder made capital because two or more persons were killed, see § 13A-5-40(a)(10), Ala. Code 1975. On September 5, 2012, Stoves filed a motion to dismiss the capital-murder charges, arguing that the State cannot prosecute a juvenile for a capital offense where the only two possible punishments are death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. On September 13, 2012, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss, stating:

" The United States Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama, [567 U.S. __,] 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), rendered unconstitutional the mandatory imposition of life without parole for those defendants under the age of 18 at the time of their alleged offense. This decision did not have the effect of invalidating capital offenses as they apply to these defendants. It instead altered the mandatory punishment component."

On September 28, 2012, Stoves filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Court of Criminal Appeals. On November 8, 2012, the Court of Criminal Appeals entered an order denying Stoves's petition, which order was substantially the same as the order entered on Henderson's petition.

Both Henderson and Stoves timely filed petitions for writs of mandamus with this Court. We have consolidated these petitions for the purpose of writing one opinion, and we hereinafter refer to Henderson and Stoves collectively as " the juveniles."

Standard of Review

" 'A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary remedy, and it " will be issued only when there is: 1) a clear legal right in the petitioner to the order sought; 2) an imperative duty upon the respondent to perform, accompanied by a refusal to do so; 3) the lack of another adequate remedy; and 4) properly invoked jurisdiction of the court." '"

Ex parte Monsanto Co., 862 So.2d 595, 604 (Ala. 2003)(quoting Ex parte Butts, 775 So.2d 173, 176 (Ala. 2000), quoting in turn Ex parte United Serv. Stations, Inc., 628 So.2d 501, 503 (Ala. 1993)).

Rule 21(e)(1), Ala. R. App. P., provides, in pertinent part:

" (1) A decision of a court of appeals on an original petition for writ of mandamus or prohibition or other extraordinary writ (i.e., a decision on a petition filed in the court of appeals) may be reviewed de novo in the supreme court, and an application for rehearing in the court of appeals is not a prerequisite for such review. If an original petition for

Page 1266

extraordinary relief has been denied by the court of appeals, review may be had by filing a similar petition in the supreme court (and, in such a case, in the supreme court the petition shall seek a writ directed to the trial judge)."

The juveniles seek a dismissal of their indictments. Rule 13.5(c), Ala. R. Crim. P., provides:

" (c) Effect of Defect in Charge.

" (1) A motion to dismiss the indictment may be based upon objections to the venire, the lack of legal qualifications of an individual grand juror, the legal insufficiency of the indictment, or the failure of the indictment to charge an offense. " (2) No charge shall be deemed invalid, nor shall the trial, judgment, or other proceedings thereon be stayed, arrested, or in any manner affected, for any defect or imperfection in the charge which does not tend to prejudice the substantial rights of the defendant upon the merits."

Rule 13.5(c) allows for a pretrial dismissal of an indictment based upon " the legal insufficiency of the indictment, or the failure of the indictment to charge an offense." The juveniles' arguments that the capital-murder indictments were unconstitutional as applied to them in that the indictments failed to charge them with a...

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28 practice notes
  • CONFUSION IN MONTGOMERY'S WAKE: STATE RESPONSES, THE MANDATES OF MONTGOMERY, AND WHY A COMPLETE CATEGORICAL BAN ON LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR JUVENILES IS THE ONLY CONSTITUTIONAL OPTION.
    • United States
    • Fordham Urban Law Journal Vol. 45 Nbr. 1, December 2017
    • December 1, 2017
    ...See, e.g., Aiken v. Byars, 765 S.E.2d 572, 577 (S.C. 2014); People v. Gutierrez, 324 P.3d 245, 268 (Cal. 2014); Ex parte Henderson, 144 So. 3d 1262, 1284 (Ala. 2013). (60.) Miller, 567 U.S. at 480 (emphasis added). (61.) See id. at 489. (62.) See id. at 480. (63.) 489 U.S. 288, 310 (1989) (......
  • THE TRILOGY AND BEYOND.
    • United States
    • South Dakota Law Review Vol. 62 Nbr. 3, September 2017
    • September 22, 2017
    ...diminished culpability, emotional maturity, past exposure to violence, ability to deal with the police and others. Ex Parte Henderson, 144 So.3d 1262, 1284 (Ala. (109.) Mike Ward, Report on Adolescent Brains Hits Nerve in Criminal Justice Debate, AUSTIN AM. STATESMAN (Aug. 6, 2012), http://......
  • Wynn v. State, 052821 ALCCA, CR-19-0589
    • United States
    • Alabama Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • May 28, 2021
    ...Alabama law at the time mandated a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Ex parte Henderson, 144 So.3d at 1262-84. The Alabama Supreme Court recognized that the Miller decision 'was not a categorical prohibition of a sentence of life imp......
  • 215 So.3d 1189 (Ala.Crim.App. 2016), CR-12-0941, Click v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • July 8, 2016
    ...of imposing such a sentence." Washington v. State, 103 So.3d 917, 920 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App. 2012). In Ex parte Henderson, 144 So.3d 1262 (Ala. 2013), the Alabama Supreme Court stated that to achieve individualized sentencing, and thus be in accord with Miller, a se......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • Wynn v. State, 052821 ALCCA, CR-19-0589
    • United States
    • Alabama Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • May 28, 2021
    ...Alabama law at the time mandated a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Ex parte Henderson, 144 So.3d at 1262-84. The Alabama Supreme Court recognized that the Miller decision 'was not a categorical prohibition of a sentence of life imp......
  • 295 So.3d 118 (Ala.Crim.App. 2019), CR-17-0393, Thrasher v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • April 12, 2019
    ...did not reflect irreparable corruption.' In making this determination the Alabama Supreme Court held in [Ex parte] Henderson, 144 So.3d 1262, 1263 [(Ala. 2013),] that a sentencing Court must consider fourteen factors, each of which is addressed by this Court "The ju......
  • 215 So.3d 1189 (Ala.Crim.App. 2016), CR-12-0941, Click v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • July 8, 2016
    ...of imposing such a sentence." Washington v. State, 103 So.3d 917, 920 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App. 2012). In Ex parte Henderson, 144 So.3d 1262 (Ala. 2013), the Alabama Supreme Court stated that to achieve individualized sentencing, and thus be in accord with Miller, a se......
  • Bracewell v. State, 121620 ALCCA, CR-17-0014
    • United States
    • Alabama Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • December 16, 2020
    ...conviction was based on its consideration of the factors set out by the Alabama Supreme Court in Ex parte Henderson, 144 So.3d 1262 (Ala. 2013), that, in the wake of Miller, a sentencer must consider in sentencing a juvenile capital offender, or on its weighing of a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles

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