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Freeman v. Holyfield

Supreme Court of Alabama

April 17, 2015

James Freeman
v.
Dewayne Holyfield et al

Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court. (CV-14-42).

James Freeman, Appellant, Pro se.

For Dewayne Holyfield and the City of Birmingham, Appellees: Brian Kilgore, asst. city atty., City of Birmingham Law Department, Birmingham.

For Charles W. Edwards and Alma Berry, Appellees: Gregory O. Griffin, Sr., chief counsel, and Dana L. Pittman, asst. atty. gen., Alabama Board of Pardons & Paroles, Legal Division.

MOORE, Chief Justice. Stuart, Bolin, Parker, Main, and Wise, JJ., concur. Murdock, Shaw, and Bryan, JJ., concur in the result.

OPINION

Page 102

MOORE, Chief Justice

James Freeman, the plaintiff below, a parolee whose earlier parole from a life sentence for murder was revoked, appeals the trial court's dismissal of his claims against the City of Birmingham; Dewayne Holyfield, a police officer for the City of Birmingham; [1] Charles W. Edwards; and Alma Berry, alleging false arrest, false imprisonment, and conspiracy. For the reasons below, we affirm the trial court's order of dismissal.

I. Facts

Freeman was convicted of first-degree murder on April 25, 1975, and was sentenced to life in prison. He was granted parole on August 2, 1993. On July 10, 1995, Officer Holyfield responded to a complaint that a man was beating a female near 14th Avenue North in Birmingham. Officer Holyfield drove to that address and discovered a female whose neck had been scratched and whose eyes were blackened and swollen. She claimed that Freeman had attacked her. Based on this incident, a warrant was issued the next day for Freeman's arrest. He was arrested and charged with " domestic assault" hours after the warrant was issued.

As a result of Freeman's arrest, Edwards, then the executive director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, initiated parole-revocation proceedings against Freeman. Berry was the parole-revocation hearing officer at the proceedings. After affording Freeman the opportunity to present evidence and to confront and examine witnesses, Berry found sufficient evidence to support the charge of domestic assault against Freeman. She recommended the revocation of Freeman's parole. A member of the Board of Pardons and Paroles (who is not a party to this action) subsequently adjudged Freeman guilty of domestic assault and revoked his parole. At the time his

Page 103

parole was revoked, no court had adjudged Freeman guilty of domestic assault.

Freeman was incarcerated after the revocation of his parole, and he remained in prison until March 7, 2011, when he was again released on parole. During his period of imprisonment between 1995 and 2011, Freeman was denied parole six times, based in part, he alleges, on his having committed the offense of domestic assault, of which he had never been convicted. On January 12, 2012, Freeman reported to the municipal court in Birmingham " to address the 1995 charge of 'domestic assault.'" He claims that, when he arrived ...


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