Cox v. State, 7 Div. 314

CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals
Writing for the CourtPATTERSON
Citation462 So.2d 1047
PartiesAnthony G. COX v. STATE.
Docket Number7 Div. 314
Decision Date08 January 1985

Page 1047

462 So.2d 1047
Anthony G. COX
7 Div. 314.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama.
Jan. 8, 1985.

Page 1048

Hubert H. Wright, Gadsden, for appellant.

Charles A. Graddick, Atty. Gen., and P. David Bjurberg, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.


This is an appeal from a judgment of conviction and sentence to life imprisonment without parole on a plea of guilty to

Page 1049

an indictment that charged the capital offense of murder during the course of a robbery, in violation of § 13A-5-40(a)(2), Code of Alabama 1975. The record reveals that the body of Naomi Keith was discovered in her home in East Gadsden, Alabama. She had been killed by multiple blows to the head by a blunt instrument, which fractured her skull. Subsequently the appellant, Anthony G. Cox, was interviewed by police officers investigating the murder. The deceased, Naomi Keith, was appellant's great aunt. After being advised of his Miranda rights, and signing a written waiver of same, appellant confessed to killing Mrs. Keith. The confession was reduced to writing and signed. Cox stated that he went to Naomi Keith's home on the night of April 3, 1984, and carried an iron bar with him. After some discussion with her in reference to money, he hit her two or three times in the back of the head with the iron bar, causing her to fall to the floor. He took her purse and left. Her purse contained about $150. He removed the money and hid the purse and iron bar in the woods. After getting home that night he washed his clothing and shoes to remove blood stains which were noticeable. After his confession he directed the officers to the spot where he had hidden the purse and iron bar, and they were recovered. At the time the officers interviewed Cox and took his confession, which was on April 9, 1984, Cox was in confinement at the West Jefferson Correctional Facility, a branch of the State Department of Corrections. The record does not disclose the reason for his confinement, but it appears that it was due to matters unrelated to the murder of Mrs. Keith.

Cox was indicted on May 9, 1984, and an arrest warrant was served on him at the West Jefferson Correctional Facility on May 16, 1984. Counsel was appointed to represent him on May 22, 1984, and a motion for a preliminary hearing was filed on the following day. Along with the motion for a preliminary hearing, appellant filed motions for discovery, for polygraph results, to exclude, for change of venue, and to dismiss and quash the indictment. A hearing was held on the motion for a preliminary hearing on May 25, 1984, and upon conclusion of the hearing the trial judge denied the motion. On the same date, May 25, 1984, Cox was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty. Trial was set for the week of June 25, 1984.

On May 28, 1984, Cox withdrew his not guilty plea, and entered a plea of guilty, whereupon the trial judge found him guilty, sentenced him to life imprisonment without parole, and advised him of his right to appeal. This action of the trial judge conflicts with the provisions of § 13A-5-42, Code of Alabama 1975, which requires that, "A defendant who is indicted for a capital offense may plead guilty to it, but the State must in any event prove the defendant's guilt of the capital offense beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury." The record reflects that there were plea bargaining negotiations between Cox and the State prior to the guilty plea. Prior to entering the guilty plea, the prosecuting attorney advised the trial judge that the State would not oppose a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

On June 11, 1984, the court reconvened and another hearing was held, at which time Cox entered his plea of guilty to the capital offense again. A jury was empaneled and the State presented a prima facie case to the jury, which included Cox's confession. The appellant offered no evidence. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of the capital offense charged in the indictment. Cox waived his right to a sentencing hearing before the jury as provided in § 13A-5-44(c), and the trial judge again sentenced Cox to life imprisonment without parole.

The appellant raises two issues on appeal. They are (1) whether trial court committed reversible error by denying appellant's motion for a preliminary hearing, and (2) whether the judgment of conviction violates the appellant's constitutional right not to be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense.


A guilty plea, if voluntarily and understandingly made, waives all nonjurisdictional

Page 1050

defects in the prior proceedings against an accused. Askew v. State of Alabama, 398 F.2d 825 (5th Cir.1968); United States v. McCoy, 477 F.2d 550 (5th Cir.1973); Knowles v. State, 280 Ala. 406, 194 So.2d 562, cert. denied, 386 U.S. 1011, 87 S.Ct. 1358, 18 L.Ed.2d 442 (1967); Barnes v. State, 354 So.2d 343 (Ala.Crim.App.1978); Browning v. State, 397 So.2d 253 (Ala.Crim.App.), cert. denied, 397 So.2d 256 (1981); Jackson v. State, 452 So.2d 895 (Ala.Crim.App.1984); § 13A-5-42, supra.

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  • Cox v. State
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    ...jurisdiction. If it is without jurisdiction, there can be no valid conviction, and hence there is no jeopardy." Cox [Anthony G.] v. State, 462 So.2d 1047, 1051 (Ala.Cr.App.1985). "Protection from prosecution under a statute of limitations is a substantive right. Under some, but not all, aut......
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    ...a criminal prosecution to give rise to an estoppel, the court in which the prosecution occurs must have jurisdiction. Cox v. State, 462 So.2d 1047, 1051 (Ala.Crim.App.1985); see also Ex parte Wright, 477 So.2d 492, 493 (Ala.1985) (entry of guilty plea taken by magistrate with proper jurisdi......
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