December 19, 2014
Porter Allen Batts
State of Alabama
from Madison Circuit Court. (CC-13-1227).
Appellant: Chad A. Morgan, Huntsville.
Appellee: Luther Strange, Atty. Gen., and Madeline H. Lewis,
Asst. Atty. Gen.
Judge., Windom, P.J., and Welch, Kellum, and Joiner, JJ.,
Allen Batts was convicted of trafficking in cocaine, a
violation of § 13A-12-231(2), Ala. Code 1975, and of
first-degree criminal mischief, a violation of §
13A-7-21, Ala. Code 1975. He was sentenced as a habitual
felony offender to life imprisonment without the possibility
of parole for the trafficking conviction and to 25 years'
imprisonment for the criminal-mischief conviction. This
review of the record reveals that Batts was arrested for the
charged crimes on February 2, 2009, but was not brought to
trial until August 11, 2014. On May 8, 2009, Batts filed a
motion in which he demanded a speedy trial. On April 12,
2013, Batts filed a motion to dismiss the charges against
him, alleging a violation of his right to a speedy trial
under the United States Supreme Court's holding in
Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33
L.Ed.2d 101 (1972).
trial court held a hearing on Batts's motion to dismiss
the morning of trial. At the hearing, the following exchange
" [Defense counsel]: Judge, just in reference to the
motion [to dismiss], for simplicity's sake, I just
reiterate my motion in full as of now with the caselaw that
was presented. It was presumptively prejudicial against my
client for the case to be ongoing for 50 months when I filed
the motion -- it was in the 50th month when I filed the
motion. Now we are over 60 months since the time he was
arrested for this case. He asserted that right for speedy
trial back in 2009 through his former counsel. Judge, we
would ask the case be dismissed for lack of a speedy trial,
which is prejudicial in the difference --
" THE COURT: The Court has looked at your argument
regarding your motion and is somewhat familiar with the
caselaw regarding that issue, and the Court determines that
this is not a case that should be granted dismissal on the
basis of lack of speedy trial; and, therefore, your motion is
(R. 6-7.) Nothing else is contained in the record regarding
Batts's motion to dismiss on a speedy-trial ground.
appeal, Batts argues, among other things, that the trial
court erred by failing to consider the factors established in
Barker v. Wingo. In Barker, the United States
Supreme Court directed that, when determining whether a
defendant's constitutional right to a speedy trial has
been violated, a court must consider: (1) the length of
the delay; (2) the reasons for the delay; (3) the
defendant's assertion of his right to a speedy trial; and
(4) the prejudice to the defendant. See Ex parte
Walker, 928 So.2d 259 (Ala. 2005)(providing an analysis
of the proper application of the Barker factors).
brief on appeal, Batts cites State v. Tolliver, [Ms.
CR-12-2020, March 14, 2014] 171 So.3d 94 (Ala.Crim.App.
2014), in which this Court addressed a similar issue. In
Tolliver, the trial court granted the defendant's motion
to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial and the State appealed.
On appeal, the State argued, as does Batts, that the trial
court erred in making its decision without considering the
factors set out in Barker. This Court held:
" The record does not affirmatively indicate that the
circuit court weighed each of the factors as required by
Barker. Therefore, we remand this case for the trial court to
make specific, written findings of fact as to each Barker
factor with reference to the principles set forth by the
Alabama Supreme Court in Ex parte Walker, [928 So.2d
259 (Ala. 2005]. See, e.g., Parris v. State, 885
So.2d 813 (Ala.Crim.App. 2001). If the trial court determines
that it needs to conduct an additional hearing to take
additional evidence or to hear additional arguments, it may
Tolliver, __ So.3d __at __.
present case, the record is similarly devoid of any
indication that the trial court considered and weighed each
of the Barker factors. As noted, the trial court stated that
it was " somewhat familiar with the caselaw"
regarding a defendant's right to a speedy trial. (R. 7.)
However, the trial court's only reasoning regarding its
denial of Batts's motion was its determination "
that this is not a case that should be granted dismissal on
the basis of lack of speedy trial." (R. 7.) Accordingly,
this Court is unable to determine whether the trial court
considered and weighed the factors set out in Barker.
Tolliver, supra, this case is remanded to the trial
court with instructions that it make specific, written
findings of fact as to each Barker factor with reference to
the principles set forth in Ex parte Walker, supra.
If the trial court determines that it needs to conduct an
additional hearing to take additional evidence or to hear
additional arguments, it may do so. On remand, the trial
court shall take all necessary action to see that the circuit
clerk makes due return to this Court at the earliest possible
time and within 35 days after the release of this opinion.
The return to remand shall include the trial court's
specific, written findings of fact; a transcript of any
additional hearing; and copies of any additional documents or
evidence that may be submitted to the trial court.
P.J., and Welch, Kellum, and Joiner, JJ., concur.