September 5, 2014
State of Alabama
from Jefferson Circuit Court. (CC-98-1694.61).
Appellant: Luther Strange, Atty. Gen., Lauren A. Simpson,
Asst. Atty. Gen.
Appellee: Charlotte Morrison, Montgomery.
Presiding Judge. Welch, Kellum, and Burke, JJ., concur.
Joiner, J., recuses.
WINDOM, Presiding Judge.
an appeal by the State of Alabama from an order of the
circuit court granting Marcus Presley's petition for
postconviction relief filed pursuant to Rule 32, Ala. R.
Crim. P. Presley's petition attacked his sentence of life
in prison without the possibility of parole stemming from his
December 1998 conviction for capital murder, see §
13A-5-40(a)(2), Ala. Code 1975. On October 1, 1999, this
Court affirmed Presley's conviction and sentence.
Presley v. State, 770 So.2d 104 (Ala.Crim.App.
1999). On March 31, 2000, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed
the holding of this Court. Ex parte Presley, 770 So.2d 114
17, 2013, Presley, through counsel, filed this, his second,
Rule 32 petition in which he argued that he was 16 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 July 5, 2013, the State filed a motion to dismiss
in which it argued that Presley'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 July 8,
2013, Presley 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 September 24, 2013, the circuit court held a
hearing on the motion to dismiss. On March 3, 2014, the
circuit court issued an order granting Presley's
petition. The State now appeals.
appeal, the State reasserts the arguments raised below and
argues that the circuit court erred in granting Presley's
Miller, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the
Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution 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." Id.
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 neither a
substantive rule nor 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, 137
So.3d 933, 937 (Ala.Crim.App. 2012).
Here, the granting of Presley's petition by the circuit
court was based on an erroneous conclusion of law because
Miller does not apply to cases, like Presley's, on
collateral review. See Williams, __ So.3d __at __.
Therefore, the circuit court abused its discretion in
granting Presley's petition, and its judgment is due to
the judgment of the circuit court is reversed and this cause
is remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Kellum, and Burke, JJ., concur. Joiner, J., recuses himself.
Presley was initially sentenced to death
for his capital-murder conviction. On June 9, 2005, Presley
was resentenced to life in prison without parole. See
Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 125 S.Ct. 1183, 161
L.Ed.2d 1 (2005).