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State v. Hendrix

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

February 6, 2015

State of Alabama
v.
Nicklaus Reid Hendrix

Released for Publication September 15, 2015.

Appeal from Winston Circuit Court. (CC-13-115). John H. Bentley, Trial Judge.

For Appellant: Luther Strange, atty. gen., and Yvonne A.H. Saxon, asst. atty. gen.

For Appellee: J. Shane Cook, Haleyville.

JOINER, Judge. Windom, P.J., and Welch, Kellum, and Burke, JJ., concur.

OPINION

JOINER, Judge.

This is an appeal by the State from the Winston Circuit Court's dismissal of a three-count indictment, which was the second indictment based upon the same facts. The second indictment charged Nicklaus Reid Hendrix with three counts of manslaughter, see § 13A-6-3, Ala. Code 1975.[1] A majority of the factual and procedural background of the case was detailed in Hendrix's brief in support of his motion to dismiss the second indictment. Nothing in the record or the State's brief on appeal indicates that the State disputes the facts or the procedural history provided in Hendrix's brief in support of his motion to dismiss.

" On May 10, 2005, at approximately 11:15 p.m., a two car incident occurred on U.S. Highway 278 near the town of Double Springs. The driver of one of the vehicles, Donna Melvin Sides, was killed. The driver of the other vehicle, Nicklaus Reid Hendrix, suffered severe injuries, including a traumatic brain injury ('TBI'). After a criminal investigation, Hendrix was indicted by a Winston County Grand Jury on February 7, 2006. The three count indictment dated February 7, 2006, concerning Winston County

Page 979

Case CC-2006-56 (State of Alabama vs. Nicklaus Reid Hendrix) charged [Hendrix] with three counts of vehicular homicide, citing that he 'willfully, knowingly, or with criminal negligence proximately caused the death of Donna Sides by committing three different traffic violations: speeding, driving on the wrong side of the roadway, and driving under the influence.'
" Because of the scope and severity of his wounds, Hendrix was sent to Taylor Hardin Medical Facility ('Taylor Hardin') in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to complete a mental evaluation as to both his competency to stand trial and his mental state at the time of the alleged offenses. In her November 20, 2006, evaluation, neuropsychologist and certified forensic examiner, Susan D. Gierok, Ph.D., of Taylor Hardin, concluded that Hendrix was incompetent to stand trial and that there was no substantial probability that his competency would be restored in a reasonable amount of time. She also found that Mr. Hendrix did not appear to be at risk for harm to himself or others. Taylor Hardin deferred evaluation of Hendrix's mental state at the time of the alleged offense.
" On June 5th, 2007, following a competency hearing [in the Winston Circuit Court], an order was issued finding, 'by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence that [Hendrix was] incompetent as a result of mental disease or defect and there [was] no substantial probability that [Hendrix would] become competent at any time, and, further that [Hendrix's] being at large pose[d] no real and present threat of substantial harm to himself or others.' It was also ordered by [the Winston Circuit Court] that the charge[s] against [Hendrix] be 'dismissed with prejudice as to the right of the State to again bring charges.' This order was filed on July 3, 2007, and the State never moved to appeal or modify this order as issued.
" Now, more than eight years after the indictment occurred and over six years after the initial charges against Hendrix were dismissed with prejudice, the State sought to indict Hendrix during Grand Jury proceedings in Winston County. On June 18, 2013, an indictment was issued charging Hendrix with three counts of manslaughter, citing that [Hendrix] recklessly caused the death of Donna Sides by again committing the three different traffic violations of operating a motor vehicle on the left side of the roadway, operating a motor vehicle on a highway at a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour, and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
" On January 2, 2014, [Hendrix] filed a motion to dismiss the [second] indictment because it was based upon the same facts and circumstances as the first indictment ... which was dismissed with prejudice as to the right of the State to again bring charges. [Hendrix] cited the princi[ples] of res judicata, double jeopardy, and collateral estoppel as being applicable to prohibit the new charges from being brought against [him] and that new charges would violate [his] right to a speedy trial as guaranteed ...

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