May 15, 2015
Ex parte Terry Bland In re: Terry Bland
State of Alabama
(Montgomery Circuit Court, CC-91-140.92; Court of Criminal
DENIED. NO OPINION.
FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CRIMINAL
DENIED. NO OPINION.
Murdock, and Main, JJ., concur.
Chief Justice (concurring specially).
Bland petitions this Court to review the Court of Criminal
Appeals' affirmance, by unpublished memorandum, of the
circuit court's denial of his most recent Rule 32, Ala.
R. Crim. P., petition for postconviction relief. Bland v.
State (No. CR-14-0181, March 6, 2015), __ So.3d
__(Ala.Crim.App. 2015)(table). Bland challenges his October
9, 1991, conviction for murder and his sentence of life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He argues
that the circuit court lacked the jurisdiction to sentence
him under the Alabama Habitual Felony Offender Act, §
13A-5-9, Ala. Code 1975 (" the HFOA" ), by
enhancing his sentence using two prior convictions for which,
he says, he was pardoned.
concur with the decision of this Court to deny Bland's
petition for a writ of certiorari because, in my view, the
petition fails to meet the requirements set forth in Rule 39,
Ala. R. App. P. I write separately to note that, if
Bland's allegations about his being pardoned for the
convictions used to enhance his sentence are true and if he
can demonstrate that this claim has not been addressed in
proceedings related to an earlier petition, Bland may be
entitled to the relief he is seeking. This Court has held
that " pardoned convictions cannot be used to enhance
[a] sentence under the [HFOA]." Ex parte Casey,
852 So.2d 175, 181 (Ala. 2002). Moreover, the Court of
Criminal Appeals, citing the principle that " 'an
allegedly illegal sentence may be
challenged at any time,'" Henderson v.
State, 895 So.2d 364, 365 (Ala.Crim.App. 2004)(quoting
Rogers v. State, 728 So.2d 690, 691 (Ala.Crim.App.
1998)), has held that a full pardon for prior convictions
removes those convictions from consideration for purposes of
the HFOA and, hence, that any sentence based on those
convictions is illegal and thus void, because it exceeds the
trial court's jurisdiction. Henderson, 895 So.2d
at 365. In light of the foregoing, Bland may still challenge
the allegedly illegal sentence on the ground that it was,
according to Bland, illegal because it relied on convictions
for which Bland claims he was pardoned and therefore void.
I dissented in Casey and did not write; my
dissent, however, was not based on that holding.