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Amison v. State

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

December 19, 2014

Andrew Amison
v.
State of Alabama

          Appeal from Mobile Circuit Court. (CC-12-3873).

         For Appellant: Lisa Elaine Bumpers, Mobile.

         For Appellee: Luther Strange, Atty. Gen., and Audrey K. Jordan, Asst. Atty. Gen.

         WINDOM, Presiding Judge. Welch, Kellum, Burke, and Joiner, JJ., concur.

          OPINION

          WINDOM, Presiding Judge.

         Andrew Amison appeals his convictions for two counts of felony murder, see § 13A-6-2(a)(3), Ala. Code 1975, and his resulting sentences of 32 years in prison. Amison's sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

         On November 22, 2011, Amison and his accomplice, Broderick Brown, robbed and killed Sam Richardson in Richardson's barbershop.[1] Amison was indicted for two counts of capital murder for killing Sam Richardson during the course of a robbery and during the course of a burglary. See § § 13A-5-40(a)(2) and (a)(4), Ala. Code 1975. On both counts, the jury found Amison guilty of the lesser-included offense of felony murder. The circuit court adjudicated Amison guilty of two counts of felony-murder and sentenced him to two concurrent terms of 32 years in prison.

         On appeal, both Amison and the State argue that Amison's two felony-murder convictions for killing Richardson violate the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. This Court agrees.

         In Carlisle v. State, 963 So.2d 170 (Ala.Crim.App. 2006), this Court explained:

" In Ex parte Rice, 766 So.2d 143 (Ala. 1999), the Alabama Supreme Court held that § 13A-6-2(a)(3), Ala. Code 1975, creates a single offense, even though it provides alternative methods of proving the offense. The supreme court also held that double jeopardy principles prohibit multiple convictions and multiple sentences for felony-murder if the convictions and sentences arise from a single

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killing. In this case, the appellant was convicted of one count of felony-murder during a robbery and one count of felony-murder during the commission of a felony that was clearly dangerous to human life -- discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. Both convictions arose from the murder of Speigner. Therefore, he could not properly be convicted of and sentenced for two counts of felony-murder. The trial court sentenced the appellant to serve concurrent terms of life in prison. However, in Rice, the supreme court held:
" 'We note that merely ordering that Rice's sentences run concurrently is not a constitutionally acceptable option. The Supreme Court stated in Ball v. United States, 470 U.S. 856, 864-65, 105 S.Ct. 1668, 84 L.Ed.2d 740 (1985):
" '" The remedy of ordering one of the sentences to be served concurrently with the other cannot be squared with Congress' intention. One of the convictions, as well as its concurrent sentence, is unauthorized punishment for a separate offense. See Missouri v. Hunter,459 ...

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