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Campbell v. State

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

March 17, 2017

Warren L. Campbell
v.
State of Alabama

         Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court (CC-15-322; CC-15-323)

          WELCH, Judge.

         Warren L. Campbell was indicted in case no. CC-15-322 on two counts of first-degree sodomy. Count 1 charged that Campbell had engaged in deviate sexual intercourse with C.W. by forcible compulsion, a violation of § 13A-6-63(a)(1), Ala. Code 1975. Count 2 charged that Campbell, being 16 years of age or older, had engaged in deviate sexual intercourse with C.W., who was less than 12 years of age, a violation of § 13A-6-63(a)(3), Ala. Code 1975. In case no. CC-15-323, Campbell was indicted on two counts of first-degree sodomy. Count 1 charged that Campbell had engaged in deviate sexual intercourse with C.W. by forcible compulsion, a violation of § 13A-6-63(a)(1). Count 2 charged that Campbell, being 16 years of age or older, had engaged in deviate sexual intercourse with C.W., who was less than 12 years of age, a violation of § 13A-6-63(a)(3). The two cases were consolidated for trial. On April 18, 2016, the jury found Campbell guilty of Count 2 in CC-15-322, and it found Campbell guilty of Count 2 in CC-15-323. On June 17, 2016, the trial court sentenced Campbell to concurrent 20-year terms of imprisonment and ordered him to pay a $50 assessment to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission.

         C.W., who was 22 years old at the time of trial, testified that his mother and Campbell had dated for several years when he was a child. Beginning when C.W. was 9 or 10 years old, he lived in a house with his mother, his brother, and Campbell. One night Campbell woke C.W. up and took him out of the bedroom, and he touched and rubbed C.W.'s "butt." Within a week or two after that incident, C.W. said, Campbell began performing oral sex on him, and did so once or twice a week for one-and-a half or two years thereafter. C.W., his mother and brother, and Campbell moved to another residence when he was about 11 years old, he said. Campbell continued to have oral sex with C.W. in the new residence and, C.W. said, Campbell also began to penetrate him anally. C.W. said that Campbell performed these acts on him once or twice a week until C.W. was 13 years old and Campbell moved out of the house. C.W. said that he did not tell his mother about the abuse at that time because Campbell had instructed him not to tell anyone or, Campbell told him, both of them would get into trouble. C.W.'s mother testified that she began dating Campbell in approximately 2003, and that her sons had time alone with Campbell during the years they dated and cohabitated. C.W.'s brother testified that, during the time Campbell and his mother dated, Campbell sometimes pinched and punched him, but he did not do "anything sexual." (R. 69.)

          At the conclusion of the evidence, Campbell moved for a judgment of acquittal on the ground that the case was too weak to go to the jury. The trial court denied the motion. Campbell did not present any evidence. The State requested that the trial court issue "a unanimity charge" to the jury. (R. 78.) The trial court agreed to do so and instructed the jury, in relevant part, as follows:

"The law says this in these types of cases, ladies and gentlemen, where there are allegations of multiple offenses over a period of time, that when the State elects to prosecute these cases that they must -- you must, each individual juror, and I'm instructing you on this fact, you must determine that every one of these sexual acts occurred. And it must be unanimous. Each individual juror has to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt each one of these separate acts occurred. Otherwise, your verdict must be not guilty. ... They have the option to elect just one of them and proceed on one. But when they don't elect to proceed on a specific event, they have to prove each and every one them beyond a reasonable doubt. And you must be so convinced that it's been proven, okay."

(R. 116-17.) Neither party objected to the trial court's unanimity instruction. The jury found Campbell guilty of violating § 13A-6-63(a)(3), Ala. Code 1975, as charged in Count 2 of case no. CC-15-322. The jury also found Campbell guilty of violating § 13A-6-63(a)(3), Ala. Code 1975, as charged in Count 2 of case no. CC-15-323.

          I.

         Campbell argues on appeal that the trial court erred when it adjudicated him guilty of both counts of first-degree sodomy because, he says, the State pursued both convictions based on the same evidence -- C.W.'s generic testimony about Campbell's continuing course of conduct -- not specific instances of abuse.[1] We agree.

         Alabama law permits a jury to convict a resident child abuser where there "is purely generic" evidence of multiple acts of abuse and where the only real question for the jury is whether the defendant committed all the acts. R.L.G. v. State, 712 So.2d 348 (Ala.Crim.App.1997), aff'd, 712 So.2d 372 (Ala. 1998). In such a case, the trial court should instruct the jury that it can find the defendant guilty only if it unanimously agrees that he committed all the incidents described by the victim. Id.

         The Alabama Supreme Court in R.A.S. v. State, 718 So.2d 117 (Ala. 1998), expanded the foregoing rule and held that, in cases involving a resident child abuser where the evidence is both generic and specific, and

"where evidence of multiple culpable acts is adduced to prove a single charged offense, jury unanimity must be protected. Therefore, in such a case, the defendant is entitled either to have the State elect the single act upon which it is relying for a conviction or to have the court give a specific unanimity instruction. If the State chooses not to elect the specific act, the trial court must instruct the jury that all 12 jurors must agree that the same underlying criminal act has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, thereby assuring a unanimous verdict on one criminal act."

718 So.2d at 122 (footnote omitted).

         C.W.'s testimony, while mostly generic, included at least one specific instance of abuse. The State requested a unanimity instruction rather than electing a single act on which to rely in seeking the conviction, and the trial court gave a unanimity instruction to the jury. A conviction under § 13A-6-63(a)(3), in these circumstances was legally permissible; however, only one conviction under § 13A-6-63(a)(3) was legally permissible under these circumstances. Campbell's conduct did not constitute two separate offenses. Rather, the record is clear that the two convictions arose out of the exact same set of circumstances. Campbell cannot be convicted of two counts of first-degree sodomy under § 13A-6-63(a)(3) based on the same evidence. Therefore, double-jeopardy ...


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