June 13, 2014
State of Alabama
Nathan Lee Boyd
from Lauderdale Circuit Court. (CC-99-175.61).
Presiding Judge. Welch, Kellum, Burke, and Joiner, JJ.,
WINDOM, Presiding Judge.
an appeal by the State of Alabama from an order of the
circuit court granting Nathan Lee Boyd's petition for
postconviction relief filed pursuant to Rule 32, Ala. R.
Crim. P. Boyd's petition attacked his sentence of life in
prison without the possibility of parole stemming from his
October 2000 conviction for capital murder, a violation of
§ 13A-5-40(a)(2), Ala. Code 1975. On February 22, 2002,
this Court affirmed Boyd's conviction and sentence by an
unpublished memorandum. Boyd v. State (No.
CR-00-1224), 854 So.2d 1215 (Ala.Crim.App. 2002) (table). The
Alabama Supreme Court denied certiorari review, and this
Court issued a certificate of judgment on September 13, 2002.
17, 2013, Boyd, through counsel, filed this, his second, Rule
32 petition in which he argued that he was 17 years old at
the time he committed the capital murder, and that, pursuant
to the holding of the Supreme Court of the United States in
Miller v. Alabama, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183
L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), his sentence is unconstitutional and he
is entitled to a new sentencing hearing. On June 26, 2013,
the State filed a motion to dismiss in which it argued that
Boyd's petition was procedurally barred under
Rules 32.2(a)(3), 32.2(a)(5), and 32.2(b), Ala. R. Crim. P.,
and that it was without merit because the holding in Miller
is not retroactive. On June 28, 2013, Boyd filed a response
to the State's motion in which he argued that the holding
in Miller is retroactive and that his claim was not subject
to the procedural bars raised by the State. On October 8,
2013, the circuit court held a hearing on the motion to
dismiss. Following the hearing, both parties submitted briefs
of supplemental authority supporting their respective
positions on the retroactivity of Miller. On January 6, 2014,
the circuit court issued an order granting Boyd's
petition. The State now appeals.
appeal, the State reasserts the arguments raised below and
argues that the circuit court erred in granting Boyd's
Miller, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the
Eighth Amendment forbids " a sentencing scheme that
mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for
juvenile offenders." Miller, ___ U.S. at ___,
132 S.Ct. at 2469. Rather, the Supreme Court said, juvenile
offenders are entitled to individualized sentencing, where
the sentencer takes " into account how children are
different, and how those differences counsel against
irrevocably sentencing them to a lifetime in prison."
Williams v. State, [Ms. CR-12-1862, April 4, 2014] 183
So.3d 198 (Ala.Crim.App. 2014), this Court held that claims
based on Miller are nonjurisdictional claims properly raised
in a collateral proceeding under Rule 32.1(a), Ala. R. Crim.
P. ___ So.3d at ___. Further, this Court held that, under the
framework established in Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S.
288, 109 S.Ct. 1060, 103 L.Ed.2d 334 (1989), the rule
announced in Miller is a new rule, and that it is not a
substantive rule nor is it a " watershed"
procedural rule. ___ So.3d at ___. As a result, this Court
held that Miller is not subject to retroactive application.
___ So.3d at ___.
'A judge abuses his discretion only when his decision is
based on an erroneous conclusion of law or where the record
contains no evidence on which he rationally could have based
his decision.' Miller v. State, 63 So.3d 676,
697 (Ala.Crim.App. 2010)." State v. Thomas,
[Ms. CR-10-1401, May 25, 2012] 137 So.3d 933, 937
(Ala.Crim.App. 2012). Here, the granting of Boyd's
petition by the circuit court was based on an erroneous
conclusion of law because Miller does not apply to cases,
like Boyd's, on collateral review. See Williams,
___ So.3d at ___. Therefore, the circuit court abused its
discretion in granting Boyd's petition, and its judgment
is due to be reversed.
the judgment of the circuit court is reversed and this cause
is remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Kellum, Burke, and Joiner, JJ., concur.