from Houston Circuit Court (CC-97-1574.60)
Jerome Lewis, an inmate on death row at Holman Correctional
Facility, appeals the circuit court's denial of his
petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Rule 32,
Ala. R. Crim. P. We remand the case with instructions.
September 2003, Lewis was convicted of murdering Timothy John
Kaye during a kidnapping, an offense defined as capital by
§ 13A-5-40(a)(1), Ala. Code 1975. The jury recommended,
by a vote of 10 to 2, that Lewis be sentenced to death. The
circuit court followed the jury's recommendation and
sentenced Lewis to death. Lewis appealed. In April 2007, this
Court remanded the case to the Houston Circuit Court for that
court to hold a Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79
(1986), hearing. See Lewis v. State, 24 So.3d 480
(Ala.Crim.App.2007). Lewis's conviction and sentence were
affirmed on return to remand. See Lewis v. State, 24
So.3d 480 (Ala.Crim.App.2007) (opinion on return to remand),
aff'd, 24 So.3d 540 (Ala. 2009). The United States
Supreme Court denied certiorari review. See Lewis v.
Alabama, 558 U.S. 1078 (2009). This Court issued a
certificate of judgment on June 17, 2009. See Rule
41, Ala. R. App. P.
2010, Lewis filed a timely petition for postconviction relief
attacking his conviction and sentence of death. Lewis filed
amended petitions in April 2011, August 2011, and June 2014.
After a two-day evidentiary hearing in August 2014, the
circuit court issued a four-page order denying Lewis's
requested postconviction relief. Lewis then appealed to this
first argues that this case should be remanded to the Houston
Circuit Court for that court to fully comply with the
provisions of Rule 32.9(d), Ala. R. Crim. P., by making
specific findings of facts concerning all the issues raised
in Lewis's third amended petition. The State concedes
that the circuit court did not make findings of facts
concerning all the claims raised in Lewis's petition.
the majority of the circuit court's order consists of
reciting the standard of review used in evaluating claims of
ineffective-assistance-of-counsel. The only
"findings" consist of the following:
"The Court finds that the conflict of interest claims
that Mr. [James W.] Parkman's prior representation of
[state witnesses] Mr. [Johnny] Causey and Mr. [Mike] Harger
adversely affected Mr. Parkman's performance are without
merit. The petitioner has not shown that a conflict of
interest actually affected the quality of Mr. Parkman's
representation or dampened counsel's ardor of his defense
in order to placate another client. The petitioner has not
proven that counsel was ineffective or that the petitioner
did not receive effective assistance of counsel in accordance
with constitutional standards because of a conflict of
"The Court finds that the defendant's attorneys were
not such as to undermine the proper functioning on the
adversarial process so that the trial or appeal of this case
could not be relied upon to produce a just result. The Court
finds that counsel's assistance was reasonable and
effective considering all of the circumstances of the case.
The Court further finds that the decisions made by counsel
concerning the trial and appeal of this case and his trial
strategy was the result of reasonable, professional
(C. 1705-1706.) The circuit court's "findings"
are merely generalized conclusions that were not sufficient
to comply with the specific requirements of Rule 32.9(d),
Ala. R. Crim. P.
record also reflects that within 30 days of the circuit
court's issuing its order denying the petition, Lewis
filed a "Motion to Reconsider, Alter and Amend
Judgement." (C. 1709-30.) In that motion, Lewis argued
that the circuit court failed to comply with Rule 32.9(d),
Ala. R. Crim. P. (C. 1717-18.) The circuit court did not rule
on this motion before it lost jurisdiction of the case.
See Loggins v. State, 910 So.2d 146, 149
(Ala.Crim.App.2005) (noting that trial court only retains
jurisdiction of postconviction petition for only 30 days
after ruling issued and that no postjudgment motion extends
the jurisdiction of the court beyond that period). The
circuit court issued a ruling on Lewis's postjudgment
motion more than 60 days after its ruling on the
32.9, Ala. R. Crim. P., provides that when an evidentiary
hearing is held on a postconviction petition, the court
"shall make specific findings of fact relating
to each material issue of fact presented." (Emphasis
added.) Rule 32.9(d), Ala. R. Crim. P. The Alabama Supreme
Court has classified Rule 32.9(d), Ala. R. Crim. P., as a
"mandatory" provision of Rule 32. See Ex parte
McCall, 30 So.3d 400, 404 (Ala. 2008).
Court has consistently remanded cases when no findings of
fact are made by the circuit court following an ...