James E. Bagley
State of Alabama
from Etowah Circuit Court. (CV-14-131.60).
Judge. Welch and Joiner, JJ., concur. Windom, P.J., dissents.
Burke, J., dissents, with opinion.
E. Bagley appeals the circuit court's summary dismissal
of what he styled as a " Petition [for] Writ of Habeas
Corpus Ad Testificandum." (C. 10.)
filed his petition on October 27, 2014. His petition is
disjointed, confusing, and virtually incoherent. Nonetheless,
after thoroughly reviewing the petition, it appears that
Bagley raised claims cognizable in a Rule 32, Ala. R. Crim.
P., petition for postconviction relief. Catchphrases such as
due process, lack of jurisdiction to render judgment and to
impose sentence, involuntary guilty plea, double jeopardy,
and newly discovered evidence appear in his petition.
Additionally, Bagley attached to his petition a copy of this
Court's opinion affirming his 1995 guilty-plea
convictions for two counts of first-degree theft of property
and his resulting sentences of seven years' imprisonment
for each conviction. See Bagley v. State, 681 So.2d
262 (Ala.Crim.App. 1995). Therefore, Bagley's petition
must be treated as a Rule 32 petition attacking his 1995
convictions and sentences. See, e.g., Ex parte
Deramus, 882 So.2d 875, 876 (Ala. 2002) (holding that
appellate courts must treat a motion according to its
substance, not its style).
his petition, Bagley filed an affidavit of substantial
hardship, and the circuit court granted Bagley indigency
status. In addition, Bagley filed his petition in Etowah
County, the county of his 1995 convictions and sentences.
Therefore, the Etowah Circuit Court had jurisdiction to treat
Bagley's petition as a Rule 32 petition for
postconviction relief and to rule on that petition, and we
believe that is exactly what the circuit court did. The
record reflects that, without receiving a response from the
State, the circuit court summarily dismissed Bagley's
petition on November 3, 2014, stating " JAMES E.
BAGLEY'S PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
ADTESTIFICANDUM is hereby DENIED." (C. 35;
capitalization in original.) The court's order -- which
is a commonly used standardized fill-in-the-blank form --
identified Bagley's petition according to the style of
the petition. However, circuit judges " are presumed to
know the law and to follow it in making their
decisions." Ex parte Slaton, 680 So.2d 909, 924
(Ala. 1996). The circuit court's identification of
Bagley's petition according to its style is not alone
sufficient to overcome the presumption that the circuit court
followed the law when dismissing Bagley's petition.
Moreover, nothing else in the record affirmatively indicates
that the circuit court did not properly treat Bagley's
petition as a Rule 32 petition and summarily dismiss it. In
the absence of any affirmative indication otherwise, we
presume that the circuit court properly treated Bagley's
petition as a Rule 32 petition for postconviction relief and
summarily dismissed it.
even if the circuit court did improperly treat Bagley's
petition as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, it is
well settled that, with limited exceptions not applicable
here, this Court may affirm a circuit court's judgment if
it is correct for any reason. See Bryant v. State,
[Ms. CR-08-0405, February 4, 2011] 181 So.3d 1087
(Ala.Crim.App. 2011); Moody v. State, 95 So.3d 827,
833 (Ala.Crim.App. 2011), and McNabb v. State, 991
So.2d 313, 333 (Ala.Crim.App. 2007), and the cases cited
therein. For the reasons explained below,
summary dismissal of Bagley's petition was appropriate.
brief on appeal, Bagley appears to pursue the claims from his
petition. Bagley's brief is as disjointed, confusing, and
incoherent as is his petition, but contains catchphrases
similar to those found in his petition. His brief also
contains additional catchphrases that we are unable to find
in his petition. To the extent that Bagley is attempting to
raise on appeal claims that were not included in his
petition, those claims are not properly before this Court for
review and will not be considered. See Arrington v.
State, 716 So.2d 237, 239 (Ala.Crim.App. 1997) ("
An appellant cannot raise an issue on appeal from the denial
of a Rule 32 petition which was not raised in the Rule 32
petition." ). To the extent that Bagley is attempting to
reassert on appeal the claims from his petition, Bagley is
entitled to no relief. As noted above, Bagley's petition
was virtually incoherent. After thoroughly reviewing the
petition, we are unable to ascertain exactly what arguments
Bagley was attempting to raise. A petition as confusing and
incoherent as Bagley's necessarily fails to satisfy the
pleading requirements in Rule 32.3, Ala. R. Crim. P., which
provides that " [t]he petitioner shall have the burden
of pleading and proving by a preponderance of the evidence
the facts necessary to entitle the petitioner to
relief," and Rule 32.6(b), Ala. R. Crim. P., which
provides that " [t]he petition must contain a clear and
specific statement of the grounds upon which relief is
sought, including full disclosure of the factual basis of
those grounds. A bare allegation that a constitutional right
has been violated and mere conclusions of law shall not be
sufficient to warrant any further proceedings."
that, in his reply brief on appeal, which is more coherent
than his initial brief, Bagley appears to request that we
treat his petition as a Rule 32 petition for postconviction
relief and remand this cause for the circuit court to allow
him the opportunity to file his petition using the proper
Rule 32 form and then to reconsider the petition. However, in
Maddox v. State, 662 So.2d 915 (Ala. 1995), the
Alabama Supreme Court explained:
" 'Just as Rule 32.7(d) (allowing summary dismissal
of a petition) overrides, in some cases, the Rule 32.7(a)
requirement that the prosecutor file a response, see
Bishop v. State, 608 So.2d 345, 347-48 (Ala.1992),
... Rule 32.7(d) also takes precedence, in some cases, over
the Rule 32.6(a) requirement that the petition be filed on
the proper " form." ... [B]lind adherence to the
holding of Drayton v. State, 600 So.2d 1088 (Ala.
Cr. App. 1992), is a literal exaltation of form over
" 'It is ridiculous to remand [a] cause so that the
appellant will have the opportunity to file a petition in the
proper form that will be ...