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McMillian v. State

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

March 6, 2015

Melvin McMillian
v.
State of Alabama

Appeal from Mobile Circuit Court (CC-07-260)

MOORE, Judge.

Melvin McMillian appeals from a judgment entered by the Mobile Circuit Court ("the trial court") denying his request to purge, modify, or supplement his criminal records pursuant to Ala. Code 1975, § 41-9-645. We dismiss the appeal.

Background

On May 9, 2007, the trial court entered a judgment on a jury's verdict finding McMillian guilty of murdering Arnold Greene. On December 19, 2008, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed, without an opinion, the trial court's judgment. See McMillian v. State, 33 So.3d 649 (Ala.Crim.App.2008) (table).

On February 12, 2014, McMillian filed a petition, "Pursuant to Rule 60(b)(4), Ala. R. Civ. P., Attesting [sic] the Sentence Order of Melvin McMillian." In that petition, McMillian asserted that his sentence was void because, at the trial, certain evidence had been presented contradicting the State of Alabama's claim that McMillian had killed Greene by strangulation. McMillian also asserted that, because his sentence had been based on erroneous facts, his sentence was illegal, thereby depriving the trial court of subject-matter jurisdiction. The trial court denied that motion on February 13, 2014.

On April 11, 2014, McMillian filed in the trial court a petition seeking to "purge, modify, or supplement inaccurate or incomplete information." In that petition, McMillian asserted that the Alabama Department of Corrections ("DOC") was improperly relying on a 2005 charge of reckless endangerment, which had been filed against McMillian but was subsequently voluntarily dismissed, to deny him the opportunity to participate in the inmate work-release program. As relief, McMillian requested that the trial court purge, modify, or supplement his criminal records as provided in Ala. Code 1975, § 41-9-645. On April 16, 2014, the trial court denied McMillian's petition without stating its reasons for doing so. On April 25, 2014, McMillian filed a motion asking the trial court to reconsider its April 16, 2014, judgment, which the trial court denied. McMillian filed his notice of appeal on May 12, 2014.

Analysis

Appellate Jurisdiction

We first note that McMillian did not appeal from the February 13, 2014, order denying his petition to have his conviction set aside due to an alleged lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.[1] He has appealed only from the April 16, 2014, judgment denying his petition seeking relief under § 41-9-645. An appeal from a judgment denying a request for relief under § 41-9-645 falls within the jurisdiction of this court. Ex parte Teasley, 967 So.2d 732 (Ala.Crim.App.2007). McMillian erroneously appealed to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on May 12, 2014. That court properly transferred the appeal to this court on July 23, 2014.

Trial-Court Jurisdiction

Section 41-9-645 provides:

"If an individual believes such information [in his or her criminal records] to be inaccurate or incomplete, he [or she] may request the original agency having custody or control of the detail records to purge, modify or supplement them and to so notify the [Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center] of such changes.
"Should the agency decline to so act or should the individual believe the agency's decision to be otherwise unsatisfactory, the individual or his [or her] attorney may within 30 days of such decision enter an appeal to the circuit court of the county of his [or her] residence or to the circuit court in the county where such agency exists, with notice to the agency, pursuant to acquiring an order by such court that the subject information be expunged, modified or supplemented by the agency of record. The court in each such case shall conduct a de novo hearing and may order such relief as it finds to be required by law. Such appeals shall be entered in the same manner as appeals are entered from the court of probate; except, that the appellant shall not be required to post bond nor pay the costs in advance. If the aggrieved person desires, ...

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