June 13, 2014
State of Alabama
from Bessemer Division, Jefferson Circuit Court.
Judge. Windom, P.J., and Welch, Kellum, and Joiner, JJ.,
State of Alabama appeals the circuit court's decision to
grant Carvin Stargell's petition for postconviction
relief filed pursuant to Rule 32, Ala. R. Crim. P., in which
he attacked his sentence of life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole imposed for his 1993 capital-murder
conviction. Stargell appealed his conviction and the
resulting sentence. This Court initially remanded the case to
the circuit court, ordering the court to hold a
Batson hearing, but affirmed his conviction
and sentence on return to remand on June 16, 1995. See
Stargell v. State, 672 So.2d 1362 (Ala.Crim.App.
through counsel, filed this, which appears to be his
second, Rule 32 petition on June 17, 2013. In
his petition, Stargell argued that because he was 17 years
old at the time of the crime, his mandatory sentence of life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole for his
capital-murder conviction was unconstitutional. Specifically,
he argued that the United States Supreme Court's recent
opinion in Miller v. Alabama, ___ U.S. ___, 132
S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), in which the Supreme
Court held unconstitutional a statutory sentencing
scheme mandating a sentence of life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole for juvenile offenders, requires that
he be given a new sentencing hearing. The State filed a
motion to dismiss Stargell's petition on or about July 9,
2013, arguing that Stargell's claim was precluded by
Rules 32.2(a)(3), (a)(5), and (b), and that Miller does not
apply retroactively to cases on collateral review. On July
10, 2013, Stargell filed a reply to the State's response,
arguing that Miller does apply retroactively on collateral
review, that his petition was not procedurally barred under
Rule 32.2, and that his petition was sufficiently pleaded. On
September 20, 2013, the circuit court issued an order
partially granting Stargell's petition. In its order, the
circuit court stated that the case " shall be set by
separate order for a resentencing hearing. The parties shall
be prepared to address the factors used in sentencing a
juvenile convicted of a capital offense" as set out in
Miller and Ex parte Henderson, [Ms. 1120140,
September 13, 2013] 144 So.3d 1262, 1283 (Ala. 2013). (C.
61.) This appeal followed.
facts in this case are not in dispute, and the question
before this Court on appeal -- whether the rule announced in
Miller is retroactive -- is a purely legal one. Therefore, we
apply a de novo standard of review. See Acra v.
State, 105 So.3d 460, 464 (Ala.Crim.App. 2012).
appeal, the State reasserts the claims from its motion to
dismiss and again argues that Stargell's claim was
precluded by Rules 32.2(a)(3), (a)(5), and (b), and that
Miller does not apply retroactively to cases on collateral
Williams v. State, [Ms. CR-12-1862, April 4, 2014] 183
So.3d 198 (Ala.Crim.App. 2014), this Court addressed and
rejected the same arguments made by Stargell in his Rule 32
petition. Specifically, this Court held in Williams (1) that
a postconviction claim that a mandatory sentence of life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole for a juvenile
is unconstitutional under Miller is not a valid ground for
postconviction relief under Rule 32.1(b) or Rule 32.1(c), but
is a constitutional claim properly raised only under Rule
32.1(a); and (2) that Miller does not apply retroactively to
cases on collateral review. ___ So.3d at ___.
this Court's holding in Williams, Stargell was not
entitled to relief on his challenge to his sentence of life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
reasons stated above, the circuit court erred in finding that
Stargell was entitled to be resentenced under Miller.
Accordingly, we reverse the circuit court's judgment and
remand this case to the Jefferson Circuit Court for
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
P.J., and Welch, Kellum, and Joiner, JJ., concur.
Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79,
106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986).
Stargell filed his first petition in
December 1997, which the circuit court summarily dismissed.
This Court affirmed the order of dismissal on appeal in an
unpublished memorandum. Stargell v. State (No.
CR-97-1392), 741 So.2d 489 (Ala.Crim.App.