State v. Larry Henderson). Rashad Stoves. (In Re State (In re Henderson.), 1120140 and 1120202.

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Writing for the CourtBOLIN
Citation144 So.3d 1262
PartiesEx parte Larry HENDERSON. (In re State of Alabama v. Larry Henderson). Ex parte Rashad Stoves. (In re State of Alabama v. Rashad Stoves).
Decision Date13 September 2013
Docket Number1120140 and 1120202.

144 So.3d 1262

Ex parte Larry HENDERSON.
(In re State of Alabama
v.
Larry Henderson).

Ex parte Rashad Stoves.

(In re State of Alabama
v.
Rashad Stoves).

1120140 and 1120202.

Supreme Court of Alabama.

Sept. 13, 2013.


[144 So.3d 1263]


Donald L. Colee, Jr., Birmingham; and Raymond Johnson of The Johnson Law Firm, LLC, Birmingham, for petitioner Larry Henderson.

R. Wendell Sheffield of Sheffield & Lentine, P.C., Birmingham, for petitioner Rashad Stoves.


Luther Strange, atty. gen., and John M. Porter, asst. atty. gen., in case no. 1120140; Luther Strange, atty. gen., and John Neiman, Jr., deputy atty. gen., and Kristi O. Wilkerson, asst. atty. gen., in case no. 1120202, for respondent.

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

[144 So.3d 1264]

Miller v. Alabama, 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 (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 (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

[144 So.3d 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, 50 A.3d 749 (Pa.Super.Ct.2012)(remanded the case for resentencing in light of Miller ); State v. Lockheart, (No. 10–1815, July 11, 2012) (Iowa Ct.App.2012) (final publication pending); State v. Bennett, (No. 11–0061, July 11, 2012) (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 (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

[144 So.3d 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 valid crime under the United States Constitution is the proper subject of a petition for a writ of mandamus seeking review of the orders denying their motions to dismiss the indictments.

Discussion

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” The United States Supreme Court has explained:

“The Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment ‘guarantees individuals the right not to be subjected to excessive sanctions.’ Roper [ v. Simmons ], 543 U.S. [551,] 560 [ (2005) ]. That right, we have explained, ‘flows from the basic “precept of justice that punishment for crime should be graduated and proportioned” ’ to both the offender and the offense. Ibid. (quot...

To continue reading

Request your trial
29 practice notes
  • Williams v. State, CR–12–1862.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • April 4, 2014
    ...sentencing statutes that "must be applied retroactivity." (Williams's brief, p. 19.) The Alabama Supreme Court in Ex parte Henderson 144 So.3d 1262 (Ala.2013), however, recognized that "[i]t is not the actual sentence of life imprisonment without parole that was barred in Miller "; instead,......
  • Williams v. United States, No. 16-CO-570
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • April 11, 2019
    ..., Betton v. State , ––– So.3d ––––, –––– – ––––, 2018 WL 1980780, at *5–6 (Ala. Crim. App. April 27, 2018) (applying Ex parte Henderson , 144 So.3d 1262 (Ala. 2013), in resentencing Miller defendant); Harris v. State , 547 S.W.3d 64, 70–71 (Ark. 2018) ; In re Kirchner , 2 Cal.5th 1040, 216 ......
  • People v. Gutierrez, Nos. S206365
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 5, 2014
    ...the factors discussed above before imposing life without parole on a juvenile homicide offender. (See State v. Henderson (Ala.2013) 144 So.3d 1262, 1283–84, 2013 WL 4873077, at p. *21 ; State v. Null (Iowa 2013) 836 N.W.2d 41, 74 ; Parker v. State (Miss.2013) 119 So.3d 987, 995–996, 998 & f......
  • Wynn v. State, CR-14-1261
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • September 9, 2016
    ...at 479–80, 132 S.Ct. at 2463.9 Since the Supreme Court's decision in Miller v. Alabama, the Alabama Supreme Court in Ex parte Henderson, 144 So.3d 1262 (Ala.2013), addressed a mandamus petition filed by several juveniles charged with capital-murder offenses.10 The juveniles argued that thei......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • Williams v. State, CR–12–1862.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • April 4, 2014
    ...sentencing statutes that "must be applied retroactivity." (Williams's brief, p. 19.) The Alabama Supreme Court in Ex parte Henderson 144 So.3d 1262 (Ala.2013), however, recognized that "[i]t is not the actual sentence of life imprisonment without parole that was barred in Miller "; instead,......
  • Williams v. United States, No. 16-CO-570
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • April 11, 2019
    ..., Betton v. State , ––– So.3d ––––, –––– – ––––, 2018 WL 1980780, at *5–6 (Ala. Crim. App. April 27, 2018) (applying Ex parte Henderson , 144 So.3d 1262 (Ala. 2013), in resentencing Miller defendant); Harris v. State , 547 S.W.3d 64, 70–71 (Ark. 2018) ; In re Kirchner , 2 Cal.5th 1040, 216 ......
  • People v. Gutierrez, Nos. S206365
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 5, 2014
    ...the factors discussed above before imposing life without parole on a juvenile homicide offender. (See State v. Henderson (Ala.2013) 144 So.3d 1262, 1283–84, 2013 WL 4873077, at p. *21 ; State v. Null (Iowa 2013) 836 N.W.2d 41, 74 ; Parker v. State (Miss.2013) 119 So.3d 987, 995–996, 998 & f......
  • Wynn v. State, CR-14-1261
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • September 9, 2016
    ...at 479–80, 132 S.Ct. at 2463.9 Since the Supreme Court's decision in Miller v. Alabama, the Alabama Supreme Court in Ex parte Henderson, 144 So.3d 1262 (Ala.2013), addressed a mandamus petition filed by several juveniles charged with capital-murder offenses.10 The juveniles argued that thei......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Youth Always Matters: Replacing Eighth Amendment Pseudoscience with an Age-Based Ban on Juvenile Life Without Parole.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 6, April 2022
    • April 1, 2022
    ...order following remand for resentencing findings of fact and conclusions of law). (270.) Id. at 48. (271.) See Ex parte Henderson, 144 So. 3d 1262, 1284 (Ala. 2013); see also ALA. CODE [section] 13A-5-53(e) (1975) (defining capital offenses and requiring that sentencers consider aggravating......
  • 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://......

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