from Russell Circuit Court (CC-98-511.61)
WINDOM, PRESIDING JUDGE.
an appeal by the State of Alabama from an order of the
circuit court granting postconviction relief to Harold
Vincent Stallings pursuant to Rule 32, Ala. R. Crim. P.
Stallings's Rule 32 petition attacked his December 1999
sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole,
which was enhanced with eight prior felony convictions from
the State of Georgia. On August 18, 2000, this Court
affirmed, by unpublished memorandum, Stallings's
conviction for first-degree robbery and his resulting
sentence. Stallings v. State, (No.
CR-99-0219). The certificate of judgment was issued on
February 9, 2001.
16, 2017, Stallings filed this, his second, Rule 32 petition
in which he asserted that the trial court lacked jurisdiction
to render a judgment or to impose a sentence because the
Alabama Constitution of 1901 was enacted with discriminatory
intent, thereby rendering the Alabama Criminal Code void. On
July 31, 2017, the State filed a motion to dismiss, arguing
that the claim was precluded pursuant to Rules 32.2(a)(3) and
32.2(a)(5), Ala. R. Crim. P., was insufficiently pleaded, and
was without merit. The circuit court appointed counsel for
Stallings, and, on October 23, 2017, Stallings filed a
response to the State's motion. In that filing, Stallings
claimed that his sentence of life in prison without the
possibility of parole is illegal. Specifically, Stallings
argued that the trial court was without jurisdiction to
sentence him under the Habitual Felony Offender Act
("the HFOA"). Stallings contended that the State
did not prove that his prior convictions in Georgia used to
enhance his sentence were felony convictions or that the
convictions had been commenced by an indictment signed by a
grand-jury foreman as required by Rule 12.8, Ala. R. Crim. P.
The circuit court set the matter for a hearing.
a hearing, the circuit court granted Stallings's Rule 32
petition. In its order granting the petition, the circuit
"A. Mr. Harold Stallings was convicted of Robbery 1st
Degree by a jury of his peers and sentenced to a term of
imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.
"B. At sentencing the State produced three certified
copies of previous convictions. State's Exhibit A was a
conviction from Muscogee County, Georgia for shoplifting
whereby the certified copy of said exhibit indicated that the
value of the property was $159.00. Said exhibit failed to
provide or produce any evidence of the grand jury's
finding that said conviction was a true bill and signed by
the foreman of the grand jury.
"C. State's Exhibit B was a conviction from Muscogee
County, Georgia for Possession of a Controlled Substance. The
certified copy included information that the controlled
substance was cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance.
Said exhibit contained a listing of the grand jurors who
returned said indictment.
"D. State's Exhibit C was a conviction from Muscogee
County, Georgia for a 6 count indictment for Forgery First
Degree. Said exhibit failed to contain any listing of the
grand jurors who returned said indictment or the signature of
the foreman of the grand jury who returned said indictment.
"Rule 12.8(a), Ala.[R].Crim.P. states that an indictment
shall not be returned without the concurrence of at least
twelve (12) grand jurors and Rule 12.8(b) further requires
that when an indictment is found, it must be endorsed 'A
True Bill,' and the indictment must be signed by the
foreman. The indictment shall be returned and filed in open
court by the foreman in the presence of at least eleven (11)
other members of the grand jury.
"BASED upon the foregoing, it is hereby;
"ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED:
"1. The trial Court was without jurisdiction to impose a
life sentence without the possibility of parole in this case.
The Court finds that the Petitioner's conviction for
shoplifting, pursuant to State's Exhibit A, would not be
a felony if convicted in Alabama. Alabama Code [1975, §]
13A-8-5[, ] requires that the theft of the property involved
does not exceed $500 and said offense is a misdemeanor.
Therefore, said offense cannot be used under [the HFOA].
"2. State's Exhibit B supports that the Petitioner
was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and
said offense would be a felony if committed in Alabama. Said
exhibit also contains evidence by certification of the grand
jurors of Muscogee County, Georgia and the name of the
foreman who returned said indictment. As such, said
conviction can be used under [the HFOA].
"3. State's Exhibit C does not support that said
conviction should be used under [the HFOA]. The Petitioner
was convicted of forgery 1st degree in Georgia. Alabama Code
Section 13A-9-2 states:
"A person commits the crime of forgery in the first
degree if, with intent to defraud, he falsely makes,
completes or alters a written instrument which is or purports
to be, or which is calculated to become or to represent if
"(1) Part of an issue or series of stamps, securities or
other valuable instruments issued by a government or