Prince v. State, 6 Div. 525

Decision Date20 December 1977
Docket Number6 Div. 525
Citation354 So.2d 1186
PartiesBobby D. PRINCE, alias v. STATE.
CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals

George S. Wright, Tuscaloosa, for appellant.

William J. Baxley, Atty. Gen., and Elizabeth N. Petree, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.

TYSON, Judge.

Bobby D. Prince was charged by indictment with the robbery of Clifford Farley by taking some $3383.00 in currency and in property from his person, and by putting him in fear, etc. Following a jury trial in the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court, he was found guilty of robbery and sentenced to fifteen years and one day in the penitentiary. The evidence presented by the State, which consisted of the testimony of the robbery victim, Clifford Farley, and a written confession found by the trial court to have been voluntarily given by the appellant, was sufficient to sustain his conviction.

I

The principal and dispositive issue on this appeal is this: Was the appellant denied a speedy trial for this offense in violation of his rights under Art. I, Sec. 6 of the Alabama Constitution and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution? We answer in the affirmative and, therefore, reverse and render the judgment of the trial court.

A chronology of events necessary to an understanding of our present disposition is as follows:

April 2, 1973: Clifford Farley was robbed by appellant and four companions on the roadside of County Road 140 in the Sipsey Swamp area of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.

April 9, 1973: Appellant was arrested in the State of Florida for an armed robbery offense committed in that state and was incarcerated in the Escambia County Jail, Pensacola, Florida.

April 14, 1973: After being notified by the Florida authorities of their arrest of appellant, the Chief Deputy Sheriff of Tuscaloosa County, Warren Miller, went to Pensacola and interviewed the appellant. Appellant confessed his involvement in the robbery of Clifford Farley in Tuscaloosa, County, Alabama.

April 17, 1973: A warrant for the arrest of the appellant on the charge of robbery was issued out of the Tuscaloosa County Court and a detainer was filed with the Escambia County, Florida, authorities.

June 11, 1973: The Alabama State Board of Pardons and Paroles notified their Tuscaloosa County office that the Florida Parole and Probation Commission had inquired "as to what happened in (the Tuscaloosa County) offense as well as if anyone was injured . . . , (and) what (the Alabama authorities) were planning on doing concerning their detainer against the defendant."

July 3, 1973: The Tuscaloosa County Probation and Parole office supplied the State Board of Pardons and Paroles in Montgomery with the pertinent information requested by the Florida Parole and Probation Commission, indicating that the "Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office . . . is awaiting notice to return Prince to Tuscaloosa County to stand trial."

July 19, 1973: The Escambia County (Florida) Sheriff notified the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff that appellant's trial for his robbery charge had been set for August 2, 1973.

August 2, 1973: Appellant was convicted in Florida for armed robbery and sentenced to ten years imprisonment.

August 17, 1973: The Escambia County (Florida) Sheriff notified the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff of appellant's August 2, 1973, conviction and his incarceration in the Florida State Prison. The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff was advised to place his detainer with the Division of Corrections in Tallahassee, Florida.

November 9, 1973: The Florida Division of Corrections notified the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff by letter and acknowledge receipt of the warrant and detainer lodged against appellant.

May 15, 1975: Appellant's first "Motion To Discharge Detainer" was filed in the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County.

June 17, 1975: The State of Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles notified their Tuscaloosa office that the Florida Parole and Probation Commission had requested information concerning the plans the authorities in Tuscaloosa had for returning appellant to Alabama for prosecution.

June 23, 1975: The Tuscaloosa County Probation and Parole office supplied the State Board of Pardons and Paroles in Montgomery with the pertinent information requested by the Florida Parole and Probation Commission indicating that:

"As of this date the District Attorney's Office in Tuscaloosa County is unsure as to their position in this case. There seems to be a problem with some evidence. To this date no indictment has been returned by the Grand Jury.

"The District Attorney's Office stated they would work on it and would let me know when a decision was made about their prosecuting Prince."

July 29, 1975: Robert F. Prince, a Tuscaloosa attorney, advised appellant's father in Lancaster, Texas by letter that:

"At your request I checked the courthouse records for any pending charges against your son, Bob Prince. I discovered that there were no pending charges against him either in the nature of a felony or misdemeanor. If there still exists a confusion, please notify my office immediately."

August 13, 1975: Appellant wrote to Robert F. Prince (attorney) in Tuscaloosa and advised him that the Florida Prison records reflected an outstanding detainer lodged against him and that the detainer "prevents any custody reduction or work-release program. . . ."

August 19, 1975: Robert F. Prince (attorney) notified the Florida Division of Corrections that:

"Please be advised that I have been retained by a Mr. Bobby Prince who is presently incarcerated in Arcadia, Florida. He advises me that there is an outstanding detainer from the State of Alabama, probably from the County of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which prevents any custody reduction or work release program that he might be eligible for.

"I have checked the records of the criminal division in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama and was advised that no such detainer existed. If possible, I request that you check your records and advise me whether you have any information concerning this alleged detainer."

September 1, 1975: Appellant wrote to Robert F. Prince (attorney) and requested that he have the "Judge in Tuscaloosa" write to the Florida Parole and Probation Commission and "tell them I do not have a detainer."

October 2, 1975: Attorney Robert F. Prince notified appellant's father by letter that he had rechecked the Tuscaloosa County records and that they failed to reflect any pending criminal charges against the appellant, but informed him that "a friend on the police force" advised him that "he (policeman) had seen at one time an outstanding warrant against a Bobby Prince. . . ."

February 24, 1976: Appellant wrote to the Tuscaloosa County Parole and Probation office and requested "the case numbers of any detainers that had been filed with the Department of Offender Rehabilitation."

March 3, 1976: The Tuscaloosa County Parole and Probation Office advised appellant that his robbery case had not been assigned a case number and that a case number would be assigned upon indictment.

May 28, 1976: Appellant was indicted for the robbery of Clifford Farley by the Tuscaloosa County Grand Jury.

June 14, 1976: Appellant's second "Motion To Discharge Detainer" was filed in the Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court.

July 9, 1976: Pursuant to the grant jury indictment, a writ for appellant's arrest was issued by the Circuit Clerk of Tuscaloosa County.

August 19, 1976: Appellant filed in the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court his third motion to dismiss the robbery charge against him for failure to provide a speedy trial.

November 2, 1976: An order for appellant's extradition was issued by the Circuit Court of De Soto County, Florida.

November 19, 1976: The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles notified their Tuscaloosa office that the Florida Parole and Probation Commission had requested information as to "what plans the authorities in Tuscaloosa had for returning (appellant) to the State of Alabama . . . ."

December 12, 1976: The Tuscaloosa County Parole and Probation office informed the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles that the "D. A's. office is still very unsure of what they plan to do (appellant) returned to Alabama November 22 (for) trial set week of January 17 to 21."

January 20, 1977: Appellant's motion to dismiss for failure to provide a speedy trial was denied following a hearing thereon. Appellant's trial began.

January 21, 1977: Appellant was convicted of robbery in the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County and sentenced to fifteen years and one day.

II

In Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 (1977), the United States Supreme Court delineated a four-pronged balancing test to be applied on an ad hoc basis in all cases in which a speedy trial claim is raised. The four factors to be considered in weighing the conduct of the State and an accused are: (1) the length of the delay, (2) the accused's assertion of his right, (3) the reason for the delay, and (4) prejudice to the accused. Our discussion of the merits of appellant's denial of speedy trial claim will be organized around these suggested factors. In doing so, we are mindful that:

". . . (N)one of the four factors identified above as either a necessary or sufficient condition to the finding of a deprivation of the right of speedy trial. Rather, they are related factors and must be considered together with such other circumstances as may be relevant. In sum, these factors have no talismanic qualities; courts must still engage in a difficult and sensitive balancing process. But, because we are dealing with a fundamental right of the accused, this process must be carried out with full recognition that the accused's interest in a speedy trial is specifically affirmed in the Constitution." Barker v. Wingo, supra, at 533, 92 S.Ct. at 2193.

1. Length of Delay

The Speedy Trial Clause of the Sixth Amendment has no application until a criminal prosecution has begun, and the protection...

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  • Ex Parte Walker
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
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