Thompson v. State ex rel. Jett

CourtAlabama Court of Civil Appeals
Citation318 So.3d 1226
Decision Date28 August 2020
Docket Number2180977
Parties Vanessa Imelda THOMPSON v. STATE of Alabama EX REL. Errek JETT, District Attorney of Lawrence County

318 So.3d 1226

Vanessa Imelda THOMPSON
STATE of Alabama EX REL.
Errek JETT, District Attorney of Lawrence County


Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama.

August 28, 2020

Vanessa Imelda Thompson, appellant, pro se.

Submitted on appellant's brief only.


Vanessa Imelda Thompson seeks appellate review of the order of the Lawrence Circuit Court ("the trial court") purportedly denying her motion filed pursuant to Rule 60(b), Ala. R. Civ. P. Thompson, however, prematurely filed her notice of appeal before the entry of the order purportedly denying her Rule 60(b) motion. Because the filing of the notice of appeal divested the trial court of jurisdiction to enter the order, the appeal is not taken from an appealable order. Therefore, we have no jurisdiction over the appeal, and, thus, we dismiss the appeal.

318 So.3d 1228

Facts and Procedural History

On June 12, 2016, an officer with the Town Creek Police Department stopped Thompson while she was driving an automobile. Thompson was arrested on various charges, and the automobile was seized. On June 24, 2016, the State of Alabama, on the relation of Errek Jett, the District Attorney of Lawrence County, filed a complaint in the trial court pursuant to § 20–2–93, Ala. Code 1975, seeking the forfeiture of the automobile. The complaint was based on the allegation that the automobile was used to facilitate illegal-drug activity in violation of the controlled-substance laws of Alabama. Thompson filed an answer denying that allegation. On November 27, 2017, the trial court conducted an ore tenus hearing, and on November 29, 2017, the trial court entered a judgment in favor of the State on its forfeiture claim. Thompson appealed from that judgment to this court. On September 14, 2018, this court affirmed the judgment, without an opinion. See Thompson v. State (No. 2170491), 285 So. 3d 808 (Ala. Civ. App. 2018) (table).

On March 20, 2019, Thompson filed a motion in the trial court. She described the motion as being filed pursuant to Rule 60(b)(4) and (6), Ala. R. Civ. P. In her motion, Thompson argued that the forfeiture of her automobile was an excessive punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. On April 2, 2019, the trial court entered an order setting a hearing date for Thompson's Rule 60(b) motion. The record indicates that the trial court held a hearing on April 30, 2019, and received oral arguments regarding Thompson's Rule 60(b) motion. This court has not been provided with a transcript of that hearing.

On July 29, 2019, Thompson filed in the trial court a document entitled "REQUEST FOR A RULING AND NOTICE OF APPEAL MOTION TO THE COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS OF ALABAMA TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS & SUPPORTING FACTS & AFFIDAVIT TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS; REQUEST TO DETERMINE DATE NOTICE OF APPEAL STARTED; THE EFFECT THERE ON." (Capitalization in original.) In addition to various requests, Thompson stated that "I am giving Notice of Appeal pursuant to ... Rule 4, [Ala. R. App. P.,] and [ Rule 60(b)(4),(5), and (6), Ala. R. Civ. P.,] that VANESSA IMELDA THOMPSON appeals to the Court of Civil Appeals of the State of Alabama ...." (Capitalization in original.) On August 26, 2019, the trial court entered an order purportedly denying Thompson's Rule 60(b) motion.


In her brief on appeal, Thompson states that the appeal is taken from the denial of her Rule 60(b) motion. Among other arguments, Thompson contends that the forfeiture of her automobile was an excessive punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Before we can decide the issues raised by Thompson on appeal, however, we must first determine whether we have jurisdiction over the appeal. Bryant v. Flagstar Enters., Inc., 717 So. 2d 400, 402 (Ala. Civ. App. 1998). Although the parties have not raised the jurisdiction of this court as an issue on appeal, " ‘jurisdictional matters are of such magnitude that we take notice of them at any time and do so even ex mero motu.’ " Wallace v. Tee Jays Mfg. Co., 689 So. 2d 210, 211 (Ala. Civ. App. 1997) (quoting Nunn v. Baker, 518 So. 2d 711, 712 (Ala. 1987) ).

" ‘Unless otherwise provided by law, appeals lie only from final orders or judgments.’ " C.E.C. v. C.W.C., 202 So. 3d 338, 340 (Ala. Civ. App. 2016) (quoting

318 So.3d 1229

Wolf v. Smith, 414 So. 2d 129, 130 (Ala. Civ. App. 1982) ). " ‘The appellate jurisdiction of this court extends only to final judgments.’ " E.L. v. C.P., 282 So. 3d 867, 870 (Ala. Civ. App. 2019) (quoting Nicke v. Minter, 195 So. 3d 274, 278 (Ala. Civ. App. 2015) ). See § 12–22–2, Ala. Code 1975. An order denying a Rule 60(b) motion is a final order, and such an order is appealable. Ex parte King, 821 So. 2d 205, 209 (Ala. 2001). Thompson, however, filed...

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1 cases
  • K.M. v. S.R.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • November 5, 2020
    ...not appear that the mother timely appealed from the March 9, 2020, order denying that motion. See, e.g., Thompson v. State ex rel. Jett, 318 So. 3d 1226 (Ala. Civ. App. 2020). Therefore, we do not address the trial court's ruling on that motion.2 To the extent that the mother argues that th......

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