United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Russ Walker United States Magistrate Judge
the court is Hoover Reynolds's (“Reynolds”)
petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2254. Doc. No. 1. Reynolds challenges the state trial
court's denial of his motion for reduction of sentence
under § 13A-5-9.1, Ala. Code 1975.
1984, Reynolds was sentenced as a habitual offender to life
in prison without parole by the Circuit Court of Montgomery
County after he was convicted of first-degree robbery.
Reynolds's conviction and sentence were affirmed on
direct appeal. In the ensuing years, Reynolds filed several
unsuccessful federal habeas petitions challenging his
conviction and sentence.
August 2007, Reynolds filed with the state trial court a
motion for reduction of sentence under § 13A-5-9.1, Ala.
Code 1975. Doc. No. 7-3 at 4-12. In Kirby v. State,
899 So.2d 968, 971-72 (Ala. 2004), the Alabama Supreme Court
discussed which inmates were eligible to seek sentence
reductions under § 13A-5-9.1:
Reading § 13A-5-9.1 in conjunction with § 13A-5-9
[Alabama's Habitual Felony Offender Act
(“HFOA”)], it is clear that a sentencing judge or
a presiding judge can resentence only two narrowly defined
classes of habitual offenders: those who had been sentenced
to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole under
the mandatory provisions of the HFOA upon conviction of a
Class A felony with no prior Class A felony convictions; and
those who had been sentenced to life imprisonment under the
mandatory provisions of the HFOA upon conviction of a Class B
felony. Moreover, of those habitual offenders, the judge can
resentence only those who are nonviolent offenders.
We conclude that the state's trial judges have the
authority under the statute to determine whether a defendant
is a nonviolent offender and that those judges are competent
to make that determination based upon the nature of the
defendant's underlying conviction, other factors brought
before the judge in the record of the case, and information
submitted to the judge by the DOC and the Parole Board
concerning the inmate's behavior while incarcerated.
899 So.2d at 974.
are three threshold requirements for eligibility to have a
sentence reduced under § 13A-5-9.1:
(1) the inmate was sentenced before May 25, 2000, the date
the 2000 amendment to the HFOA became effective; (2) the
inmate was sentenced to life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole pursuant to § 13A-5-9(c)(3) and
had no prior Class A felony convictions or was sentenced to
life imprisonment pursuant to § 13A-5-9(c)(2); and (3)
the inmate is a “nonviolent convicted offender.”
An inmate must satisfy all three requirements before he or
she is eligible for reconsideration of sentence under §
Holt v. State, 960 So.2d 726, 73435
March 19, 2007, the trial court entered an order denying
Reynolds's motion for reduction of sentence under §
13A-5-9.1. Doc. No. 7-3 at 32-35. Reynolds appealed, and on
September 21, 2007, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
issued a memorandum opinion holding that the trial
court's denial of Reynolds's § 13A-5-9.1 motion
was proper because Reynolds did not meet the threshold
requirements for a sentence reduction. Doc. No. 7-6.
waited until September 22, 2016, to file this § 2254
petition challenging the trial court's denial of his
§ 13A-5-9.1 motion. In his petition, Reynolds argues
that the trial court's denial of his motion for reduction
of sentence constituted a denial of due process and equal
protection of the law. See Doc. No. 1 at 6-7.
Reynolds's petition constitutes a successive § 2254
petition challenging his underlying sentence to life without
parole, and it is subject to summary dismissal because it was
filed without the required appellate court authorization.