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Ex parte State

Supreme Court of Alabama

February 2, 2018

Ex parte State of Alabama
v.
Kentory Deshawn Brown In re: State of Alabama

         Montgomery Circuit Court, CV-15-306

          PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

          MAIN, Justice.

         The State of Alabama petitions for a writ of mandamus directing the presiding judge of the Montgomery Circuit Court to exercise his power of superintendence over the Montgomery District Court and to order that court to vacate its order granting Kentory Deshawn Brown's discovery request. We grant the petition and issue the writ.

         Facts and Procedural History

         On March 24, 2015, Brown was charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree theft of property. On March 25, 2015, in the district court, Brown filed a motion requesting the appointment of an attorney, a bond hearing, and a preliminary hearing. On April 13, 2015, Brown moved for the State to turn over all discovery permitted by Rule 16.1, Ala. R. Crim. P.; the district court granted the discovery motion on the same day it was filed. However, the State failed to provide the requested discovery.

         After continuing the case on April 17, 2015, the district court held a preliminary hearing on May 1, 2015. At the beginning of the preliminary hearing, Brown again requested the discovery. In refusing to produce the requested discovery, the State argued (1) that the case was under active investigation and that nothing had been turned over to the district attorney's office by the Montgomery Police

          Department, (2) that the demand for discovery was premature because no indictment had been issued, and (3) that the district court had limited jurisdiction in felony criminal cases and, not being the trial court, could not order discovery. The district court indicated that it would issue an order requiring the State to produce the requested discovery, but the court proceeded with the preliminary hearing. On the same day as the preliminary hearing, the court found probable cause that the offenses had been committed and bound over both cases to the Montgomery County grand jury.

         On May 4, 2015, the district court ordered the State to produce the requested discovery within seven days of the date of its order. On May 7, 2015, the State filed a motion to reconsider and a motion to stay the proceedings.

         On May 11, 2015, the State filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Montgomery Circuit Court, requesting that the circuit court determine that the district court had exceeded its authority in ordering the State to produce discovery and order the district court to rescind its order requiring the State to produce discovery. On May 13, 2015, the circuit court denied the State's petition and ordered that the discovery be turned over "when available." Further, the circuit court stated that "the State may file specific objections to discovery requests that may impede investigations and such objections will be determined on a case by case basis." The circuit court also stayed its order pending appellate review.

         On May 19, 2015, the State filed with the Court of Criminal Appeals a petition for a writ of mandamus and a motion to stay the proceedings while the petition was pending. On May 20, 2015, the Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the proceedings below. On September 1, 2017, in an opinion, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied the petition for a writ of mandamus. See State v. Brown, [Ms. CR-14-1076, September 1, 2017] ___ So.3d ___ (Ala.Crim.App.2017). The State petitioned this Court for a writ of mandamus on September 8, 2017.

         Standard of Review

         "In Ex parte Melton, 837 So.2d 819, 820-21 (Ala. 2002), this Court discussed the standard of review applicable to a petition for the writ of mandamus:

"'"A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary remedy, and it will be 'issued only when there is: 1) a clear legal right in the petitioner to the order sought; 2) an imperative duty upon the respondent to perform, accompanied by a refusal to do so; 3) the lack of another adequate remedy; and 4) properly invoked jurisdiction of the court.' Ex parte United Serv. Stations, Inc., 628 So.2d 501, 503 (Ala. 1993). A writ of mandamus will issue only in situations where other relief is unavailable or is inadequate, and it cannot be used as a substitute for appeal. Ex parte Drill Parts & Serv. Co., 590 So.2d 252 (Ala. 1991)."
"'Ex parte Empire Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 720 So.2d 893, 894 (Ala. ...

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