Jones v. State, 5 Div. 410

CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals
Writing for the CourtTYSON
Citation362 So.2d 1303
PartiesJimmy Lee JONES, alias v. STATE.
Docket Number5 Div. 410
Decision Date03 October 1978

Joseph L. Dean, Jr. of Walker, Hill, Adams, Umbach & Herndon, Stanley A. Martin of Samford, Denson, Horsley & Pettey, Opelika, for appellant.

William J. Baxley, Atty. Gen. and Mary Jane LeCroy, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State, appellee.

TYSON, Judge.

The appellant was indicted for the murder of Phillip Walker by shooting him "with a gun." The jury found the appellant guilty of murder in the first degree and fixed punishment at life imprisonment. Thereafter, the trial judge set sentence accordingly.

The appellant filed three pretrial motions: (1) Motion to produce exculpatory evidence; (2) Motion for investigation of the sanity of the defendant; (3) Motion to suppress illegal evidence. In response to the first motion, the trial judge requested the prosecuting attorney to produce any evidence in his possession or any information that he was aware of that was exculpatory in nature. The trial judge ultimately denied the motion when the prosecuting attorney stated that he was unable to make a determination of what was exculpatory until he knew the defense to be used in the case.

The trial judge granted the motion to investigate the sanity of the defendant. Accordingly, the appellant was examined by the East Alabama Mental Health Center.

The appellant's request for a hearing on the motion to suppress illegal evidence was granted. The proceedings began with a hearing conducted out of the presence of the jury to determine whether certain evidence seized during the investigation would be admitted at trial or suppressed pursuant to defense counsel's motion.

Auburn Police Detective Edwin D. Downing testified that on August 19, 1977, he participated in the investigation of the shooting death of Phillip Walker during the course of his employment with the Auburn Police Department. On this date, Detective Downing interviewed the appellant shortly after he had been taken into custody. Prior to obtaining a statement from the appellant, Detective Downing read to him from a standardized card his Miranda rights. Detective Downing stated that he knew the appellant could not read or write. Detective Downing explained to the appellant the meaning of a waiver form following which the appellant made his mark on the waiver form. In addition to Detective Downing, Detective Donovan witnessed the appellant's "signature or mark" (R. p. 21). The appellant then proceeded to relate to the police the events surrounding the shooting of Phillip Walker. The appellant's words were transcribed as he spoke by Detective Downing. After he finished dictating his statement, the appellant heard the statement read back to him before he made his mark on it. The statement of the appellant taken on August 19, 1977, was marked State's Exhibit Two for identification purposes.

Detective Downing testified that on August 22, 1977, while the appellant was in custody, he made another statement to the police, again transcribed by Detective Downing. Prior to making the statement, the appellant was informed of his Miranda rights, which he waived. Detective Downing stated that no force, threats, promises, or other inducements were made or offered to the appellant in order to get him to make a statement. The statement taken on August 22, 1977, was marked State's Exhibit Four for identification purposes. The trial judge withheld ruling on the admissibility of State's Exhibits Two and Four until the defense had presented evidence in support of its motion to suppress.

On cross-examination, during the suppression hearing, Detective Downing testified that the appellant did not request to consult a lawyer while he was in custody. The witness could not recall whether the appellant had requested to see members of his family, nor did he recall whether the appellant had requested medication for his blood pressure condition. Detective Downing testified that he informed the appellant that he was charged with murder at the time that he waived his Miranda rights although the waiver form itself (State's Exhibit One) was blank where the offense charged would have been noted in writing. The waiver form used in connection with the statement made on August 22, 1977, State's Exhibit Three, properly showed the charge of first degree murder against the appellant.

The interview with the appellant on August 19, 1977, began at 7:45 p. m., approximately two hours after the appellant's arrest. The second interview with the appellant on August 22 began at 9:50 p. m. and concluded at 1:15 a. m. on August 23. As a direct result of the second interview, the police located the barrel of a sawed-off shotgun which the appellant confessed was the murder weapon.

The appellant was called to the stand at the pretrial suppression hearing for the purpose of testifying as to the voluntariness of the alleged confession. The appellant testified that, after his arrest, the police took him to the police station and questioned him. The officers, Detective Downing, Detective Donovan, and Officer deGraffenried, read his Miranda rights to him, but, according to the appellant, they did not read the statement back to him after it was transcribed and before he made his mark on it. The appellant acknowledged the "X" marks on State's Exhibits One through Four as being his "X" marks.

The appellant recalled that the officers who questioned him would not allow him to consult a lawyer or to see members of his family. According to the appellant, he was not informed of the charge against him prior to the interview on August 19. The appellant stated that, after the same interview, he requested his medication for his blood pressure condition. The medication arrived the next day, August 20.

Julian Woodhouse, Director of Screening, Evaluation, and Court Services for the East Alabama Mental Health Center, testified that he examined the appellant on October 5 and 6, 1977, at the Lee County Jail. Mr. Woodhouse, a psychologist, was shown to possess the necessary qualifications to express his opinion as to human intelligence, psychological development, and emotional stability, based on his interpretation of empirical data collected through evaluative testing. Mr. Woodhouse concluded that the appellant's verbal intelligence quotient was approximately 58. The witness explained that this figure was within the range of mild mental retardation. Mr. Woodhouse's written report continued (R. p. 505):

". . . The client (appellant) is unable to read or write, cannot recite the alphabet or count to twenty, and cannot tell time. He has no useful arithmetic skills, cannot understand abstract concepts, and has limited practical skills. . . ."

Mr. Woodhouse stated that the appellant would have difficulty understanding the meaning of a standard Miranda waiver form without having it explained to him in substantial detail.

On cross-examination, Mr. Woodhouse's written report was admitted as State's Exhibit Five for the limited purpose of determining whether the statements given by the appellant were voluntarily made. The witness' report stated in conclusion (R. p. 505):

"Based on interview and test data, Mr. Jones is not psychotic at the present time. His reality orientation and reasoning processes are basically intact, and he gives evidence of having a rational and factual understanding of the charges against him. He is presently able to give an account of his thoughts, feelings, and actions at the time of the alleged offense. He is also aware of the possible consequences of being found guilty of the alleged offense and is motivated to defend himself against the charges made against him. In his present condition he may reasonably be expected to assist and cooperate in his defense.

"Based on interview and test data, Mr. Jones, in the examiner's opinion knew the nature and harmfulness of shooting the victim and gives evidence that he was aware that his behavior would be severely condemned and considered 'wrong' by the community. At the time of the evaluation he gave no evidence of having been subject to defective perception, delusions, or other forms of thinking so disordered as to have grossly interfered with his ability to correctly perceive and evaluate the objective reality of his circumstances and behavior at the time of the alleged crime."

At the conclusion of Mr. Woodhouse's testimony, no further evidence related to the voluntariness of the statements having been offered, the trial judge ruled State's Exhibits One through Five admissible (R. p. 89). Thereafter, the trial judge ordered the jury back into the courtroom and the trial began.

Edward James Cobb testified that, on August 19, 1977, he and Phillip Walker, the deceased, went to the home of Dorothy Mae Thomas. Mr. Cobb and the deceased customarily drove to and from work together. On the day in question, Mr. Cobb drove the deceased to Ms. Thomas' home after work so that the deceased could pay Ms. Thomas for the meals she cooked for him. Ms. Thomas was not home so the two men drove to the home of Ms. Thomas' mother, at 644 North Gay Street, hoping to find her there. Mr. Cobb parked in front of the house on the street, approximately twenty feet from the front porch. The deceased got out of the automobile and went into the house. Mr. Cobb waited in his automobile. A short time later, Mr. Cobb recalled that Clarence Vinson and the appellant arrived and parked in front of his automobile. The driver, Clarence Vinson, got out of the automobile and went into Ms. Thomas' home, the same house the deceased had earlier entered. Then the appellant exited the passenger side of Vinson's automobile, walked to Mr. Cobb's automobile and asked where the deceased could be found (R. p. 104). Mr. Cobb told the appellant that the deceased was inside the house. The appellant then turned and walked toward the house. Mr. Cobb noticed that the appellant carried a sawed-off...

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24 cases
  • Drinkard v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • 18 Diciembre 1998
    ...generally admissible within the sound discretion of the trial court. Vincent v. State, 231 Ala. 657, 165 So. 844 (1936); Jones v. State, [362 So.2d 1303 (Ala.Cr.App.1978)]; Norris v. State, 429 So.2d 649 (Ala.Cr.App.1982)." Peterson v. State, 452 So.2d 1372 (Ala. Cr.App.1984).' Campbell v. ......
  • Snyder v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • 31 Octubre 2003
    ...admissible within the sound discretion of the trial court. Vincent v. State, 231 Ala. 657, 165 So. 844 (1936); Jones v. State, [362 So.2d 1303 (Ala.Cr.App.1978)]; Norris v. State, 429 So.2d 649 (Ala.Cr.App.1982)." Peterson v. State, 452 So.2d 1372 (Ala.Cr.App.1984).' Campbell v. State, 508 ......
  • Perkins v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • 19 Noviembre 1999
    ...on intoxication almost identical to the instruction cited above was proper. In so doing, the court stated: "In Jones v. State, 362 So.2d 1303, 1315 (Ala.Cr.App.1978), the Court of Criminal Appeals held that the intoxication, `must be of such character and extent as to render the accused inc......
  • Minor v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • 29 Octubre 1999
    ...Mr. Minor of manslaughter." (Minor's brief to this Court at p. 81.)(Issue XXIX in Minor's brief to this Court.) "In Jones v. State, 362 So.2d 1303, 1315 (Ala.Cr.App.1978), the Court of Criminal Appeals held that the intoxication `must be of such character and extent as to render the accused......
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