Hydrick v. State, CR-20-0019

CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals
Writing for the CourtCOLE, Judge.
Citation337 So.3d 1211
Parties Emily Taylor HYDRICK v. STATE of Alabama
Docket NumberCR-20-0019
Decision Date23 April 2021

337 So.3d 1211

Emily Taylor HYDRICK
STATE of Alabama


Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama.

April 23, 2021

Tina R. Ogle, Decatur, for appellant.

Steve Marshall, att'y gen., and Cecil G. Brendle, Jr., asst. att'y gen., for appellee.

COLE, Judge.

337 So.3d 1212

Emily Taylor Hydrick appeals the five-year sentence the circuit court imposed on her. According to Hydrick, the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to impose a 5-year sentence when the circuit court originally sentenced her to 3 years in the Morgan County jail and it did not modify that sentence within 30 days. We agree with Hydrick.

Facts and Procedural History

Hydrick, pursuant to a negotiated agreement with the State, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a violation of § 13A-12-212, Ala. Code 1975. Under the plea agreement, Hydrick would be allowed to enter the Morgan County Drug Court Program ("the program"), and, if she successfully completed the program, her case would be dismissed. Hydrick also agreed that if she either quit or was terminated from the program, her failing to complete the program would be considered an aggravating circumstance under the sentencing guidelines (allowing the circuit court to sentence her outside the presumptive sentencing guidelines), and the circuit court would sentence her to three years’ imprisonment.

The circuit court accepted Hydrick's guilty plea on January 4, 2020, but, because she entered the program, it did not adjudicate her guilty or sentence her. Ultimately, Hydrick failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the program, and, after a hearing, she was terminated from the program.

On June 29, 2020, the circuit court held Hydrick's sentencing hearing. At that hearing, the circuit court, in accordance with the plea agreement, sentenced Hydrick to three years in the Morgan County jail. During the hearing, the following exchange occurred:

"[Hydrick's counsel]: Your Honor, is Mrs. Hydrick required to turn in at this moment or may she turn in at a different hour?

"[Hydrick]: I have some things I need to take care of.

"THE COURT: Like what?

"[Hydrick]: My car payment.

THE COURT: Okay. So you're going to make your payment for this month and then what?

"[Hydrick]: This is my last payment I've got. I just got insurance on my vehicle. I've got tickets and stuff.

"THE COURT: No one else can take care of that for you?

"[Hydrick]: No, sir.

"THE COURT: How long do you need to do it?

"[Hydrick]: Until 5:00, 6:00.

"THE COURT: All right. Here's what we'll do, Mrs, Hydrick. I'll allow you to turn yourself in at the county jail at 6:00 o'clock.

"[Hydrick]: Yes, sir.

"THE COURT: I don't care if your car payment or everything else is squared away or not, if you're not there at 6:00 o'clock you're going to do your three years in prison.

"[Hydrick]: Yes, sir. Thank you.

"THE COURT: And sometimes when I get bored I call the jail to see if people are there. So if you're not there at 6:00 o'clock tonight, if you decide to go on the run then -- [court reporter], let's go back on the record.

"COURT REPORTER: We're still on the record, Judge.

"THE COURT; Here's what I'll tell you. You were sentenced to three years. That was your plea agreement.

"[Hydrick]: Yes, sir.
337 So.3d 1213
"THE COURT: Should you choose to not show up by 6:00 o'clock tonight I'm not going to hold myself to the terms and conditions of your plea agreement.

"[Hydrick]: Yes, sir.

"THE COURT: And so in that case that allows me to sentence you anywhere within what the Code of Alabama allows me to do. So 6:00 o'clock or else.

"[Hydrick]: Yes, sir. Thank you.

(R. 25-27.) Hydrick did not report to begin serving her three-year sentence as ordered.

The following day, June 30, 2020, the circuit court entered a written sentencing order, indicating, among other things, that Hydrick would serve her three-year sentence in the Morgan County Community Corrections Program. The circuit court's written sentencing order also included the following handwritten notation: "[Hydrick] to report to Morgan County Jail at 6:00 pm, on 6/29/20. Failure to report as directed will result in the court setting aside this order & the defendant's plea agreement as previously agreed upon." (C. 70.) That same day, the circuit court also issued an order directing the circuit clerk "to issue a warrant for [Hydrick's] arrest" because Hydrick did not turn herself in. (C. 67.) But the circuit court did not issue an order vacating Hydrick's original sentence. Instead, the circuit court reaffirmed its original sentencing order by entering an amended sentencing order on July 1, 2020, in which the circuit court clarified that Hydrick was "sentenced to THREE (3) years in the custody of the Morgan County Jail" -- not Morgan County Community Corrections. (C. 74.)

On August 3, 2020, Hydrick was arrested on the outstanding warrant. At a hearing on August 26, 2020, the circuit court explained that it had "told Mrs. Hydrick that [it] would give her -- [it] would basically be allowed to sentence her anywhere within the sentencing range as set forth by the law of the State of Alabama" if she did not turn herself in to the Morgan County jail by 6:00 p.m. on June 29, 2020. (R. 31.) Over Hydrick's objection that the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to resentence her, the circuit court resentenced Hydrick to five years’ imprisonment. At the hearing, the circuit court explained that it had the authority to resentence Hydrick because

"there's caselaw out there ... that if an individual is told at their sentencing hearing or at their plea hearing if they don't show up for sentencing then the Court is no longer bound by that agreement. So [it] would be bound by that three years and Mrs. Hydrick would be well into her three year sentence had she simply shown up at the Morgan County Jail like she said she would."

(R. 33-34.)

Thereafter, Hydrick filed a "motion to correct sentence," again arguing that, "because more than thirty (30) days had elapsed since she had been originally sentenced," the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to modify her sentence. (C. 78.) This appeal follows.


On appeal, Hydrick argues that the circuit court erred when it resentenced her to five years’ imprisonment because, she says, the circuit court not have jurisdiction to do so.1

337 So.3d 1214

It is well settled that a "motion to alter, amend, or vacate a sentence is the functional equivalent of a [Rule 24, Ala. R. Crim. P.,] motion for a new trial and ‘should be treated the same procedurally as a motion for...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT