United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
WALLACE CAPEL, JR. WALLACE CAPEL, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES
Bernard Miller (“Miller”) is before the court on
a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2254 challenging the constitutionality of his confinement in
state prison. Doc. No. 1.
Coffee County No. CC-2010-118
record reflects the following proceedings pertinent to
Miller's petition. On November 6, 2012, in Case No.
CC-2010-118, Miller pleaded guilty in the Coffee County
Circuit Court to the offense of unlawful distribution of a
controlled substance. Doc. No. 13-1 at 3. On January 3, 2013,
the trial court sentenced Miller as a habitual offender to 15
years in prison. Id. The sentence was suspended,
with Miller placed on three years' probation.
Id. at 4.
April 2015, probation revocation proceedings were initiated
against Miller based on allegations that he violated the
terms of his probation by committing a new criminal offense,
specifically, theft of property in the second degree. Doc.
No. 13-1 at 7-8. Miller was arrested and placed in the Coffee
County Jail. A revocation hearing was later held, at which
Miller was represented by counsel. Id. at 8-9. On
October 7, 2015, the trial court entered an order revoking
Miller's probation and ordering that he serve the balance
of his 15-year sentence. Id.
Coffee County No. CC-2015-188
acts underlying Miller's probation revocation in No.
CC-2010-118 resulted in his indictment in Coffee County No.
CC-2015-188 on charges of second-degree theft of property.
Doc. No. 13-1 at 10. On October 17, 2015, Miller pleaded
guilty to the property theft charge. Id. at 10 &
16. On that same date, the trial court sentenced Miller to 84
months in prison, the term to run concurrently with
“any and all other sentence(s) the defendant is serving
including . . . CC-2010-118.” Id. at 11.
October 26, 2015, while he was held in the Coffee County Jail
and before he was transported to state prison, Miller
requested placement in a community corrections program. Doc.
No. 6-2 at 1-3. On November 13, 2015, the trial court entered
an order in No. CC-2015-188 (the property theft case) stating
that Miller could enter a community corrections program in
Dale County “upon compliance with the requirements of
the program and the Alabama Community Punishment and
Corrections Act.” Id. at 5. On November 16,
2015, Miller was released from the Coffee County Jail and
started participating in the community corrections program in
Dale County. Doc. No. 13-1 at 1.
January 6, 2016, officers with the Enterprise Police
Department arrested Miller on new controlled substance
charges and placed him in the Coffee County Jail. As a
consequence, the trial court ordered Miller's arrest in
No. CC-2015-188 based on his violation of the terms of his
community-corrections sentence by committing a new criminal
offense. Doc. No. 6-3. The trial court directed that
Miller's participation in the community corrections
program be “tolled” and “commanded [law
enforcement officials] to arrest said defendant and detain
him in the County Jail until he can be brought before the
Court for a hearing to show cause why his participation in
Community Corrections should not be terminated.”
January 21, 2016, Miller was transported from the Coffee
County Jail to Kilby Correctional Facility, and on February
22, 2016, he was transported from Kilby back to the Coffee
County Jail for a preliminary hearing on the new controlled
substance charge. Doc. No. 1-1 at 2. After the preliminary
hearing, Miller was brought before the trial court for a
community-corrections revocation hearing, but the trial court
continued the revocation hearing to a later date; Miller was
then transported back to Kilby. Id. On March 11,
2016, Miller was transported to Ventress Correctional
Facility, where he was incarcerated when he filed the instant
§ 2254 petition on June 30, 2016. Id.
claims that his confinement in state prison is
unconstitutional because the trial court held no revocation
hearing on his community-corrections sentence before he was
returned to the state penitentiary. Doc. No. 1. He argues
that his placement in the community corrections program in
November 2015 in No. CC-2015-188 “overrode” the
trial court's October 7, 2015 probation revocation order
that he serve the balance of his 15-year sentence in No.
CC-2010-118. Doc. No. 10 at 4-5; Doc. No. 15 at 3.
argument notwithstanding, nothing in the record establishes
that Miller's placement in the community corrections
program in No. CC-2015-188 overrode the trial court's
order that he serve the balance of his 15-year sentence in
No. CC-2010-118 upon revocation of his probation in the
earlier case. The only case referenced in Miller's
request for placement in a community corrections program was
No. CC-2015-188, see Doc. No. 6-2 at 1-3, just as
the only case referenced in the trial court's orders
authorizing Miller's placement in the community
corrections program was No. CC-2015-188, see Doc.
No. 6-2 at 4-5. Nowhere in the record is there evidence
establishing that the trial court's October 7, 2015
revocation order that Miller serve the balance of his
sentence in No. CC-2010-118 was superseded by the ...