from Madison Circuit Court (CC-17-2482)
Ann Wilson appeals her guilty-plea conviction for trafficking
in a controlled substance--methamphetamine, see
§ 13A-12-231, Ala. Code 1975. She was sentenced to 20
years' imprisonment and was also ordered to pay a $50,
000 fine, a $2, 000 fine under the Drug Demand Reduction
Assessment Act, a $100 fee to the Alabama Department of
Forensic Sciences, a $100 crime victims compensation
assessment, and various court costs and attorney fees. This
and Procedural History
record indicates that, on April 3, 2016, the Madison-Morgan
County Drug Task Force STAC Team received information through
a confidential informant that a woman, identified as Wilson,
was preparing to deliver a large amount of methamphetamine to
Whiplash Customs in Huntsville. The informant was able to
show agents a picture of Wilson and told them that she would
be driving a gray Infiniti automobile with a Georgia license
agents surveilled a business known as Whiplash Customs
property for approximately three hours before they noticed a
vehicle approach the property that matched the description
given to them by their informant. After the vehicle parked,
agents observed Wilson exit the driver's side of the
vehicle with a purse on her shoulder. Wilson then walked to
the back of her vehicle, knelt down, and tossed a black case
underneath her vehicle.
agents then moved in and detained Wilson. When one agent
reached under Wilson's vehicle, he found the black case.
Wilson denied that the case belonged to her. When
law-enforcement officers opened the case, they found a yellow
bag inside of which was a duct-taped package. Inside the
package were three large bags containing a pink ice-like
substance that was determined to be methamphetamine. An
analysis of the methamphetamine revealed that it weighed 172
grams or 6 ounces. They also found in Wilson's vehicle
two cellular telephones and a notebook containing a ledger.
law-enforcement officers read Wilson her
Mirandarights, they questioned her about the
methamphetamine. During that conversation, Wilson initially
stated that she did not know what was in the case and that
she had gotten the case from a woman who, she said, had told
her to deliver the case to Whiplash Customs. She also stated
that she had marijuana in her purse. Wilson later admitted,
however, that she knew that there was methamphetamine inside
21, 2017, Wilson was indicted for trafficking in a controlled
substance--methamphetamine, see § 13A-12-231,
Ala. Code 1975. On March 2, 2018, Wilson entered a blind
guilty plea to that offense. On May 18, 2018, the court
sentenced Wilson to 20 years' imprisonment.
same day, Wilson filed a motion asking the circuit court to
reconsider her sentence. That motion was subsequently denied.
Wilson also filed a motion to alter, amend, or vacate the
sentencing order but that motion was also denied. Thereafter,
Wilson filed a timely notice of appeal.
appeal, Wilson argues, among other things, that the circuit
court erred in ordering her to pay a $2, 000 fine under the
Drug Demand Reduction Assessment Act, § 13A-12-281(a),
Ala. Code 1975, ("the DDRA"). Specifically, she
contends that, under the provisions in the DDRA, the court
was not permitted to increase her $1, 000 DDRA fine based on
her prior felony trafficking conviction in Georgia because
that specific offense was not enumerated in the statute. We
13A-12-281(a), Ala. Code 1975, provides:
"In addition to any disposition and fine authorized by
Sections 13A-12-202, 13A-12-203, 13A-12-204, 13A-12-211,
13A-12-212, 13A-12-213, 13A-12-215, or 13A-12-231, or any
other statute indicating the dispositions that can be ordered
for such a conviction, every person convicted of a violation
of any offense defined in the sections set forth
above, shall be assessed for each offense an additional
penalty fixed at one thousand dollars ($1, 000) for a first
offense and two thousand dollars ($2, 000) for a second or
(Emphasis added.) This Court has previously addressed a
similar issue in Holloway v. State, 995 So.2d 180
(Ala.Crim.App.2008). In that case, this Court stated:
"'"'"[I]t is well established that
criminal statutes should not be 'extended by
construction.'"' Ex parte Mutrie, 658
So.2d 347, 349 (Ala. 1993) (quoting Ex parte Evers,
434 So.2d 813, 817 (Ala. 1983), quoting in turn Locklear
v. State, 50 Ala.App. 679, 282 So.2d 116 (1973)).
"'"'A basic rule of review in criminal
cases is that criminal statutes are to be strictly
construed in favor of those persons sought to be
subjected to their operation, i.e., defendants.
Schenher v. State, 38 Ala.App. 573, 90 So.2d 234,
cert. denied, 265 Ala. 700, 90 So.2d 238 (1956).
"'"'Penal statutes are to reach no further
in meaning than their words. Fuller v. State, 257
Ala. 502, 60 So.2d 202 (1952).'"'
"Cockrell v. State, 890 So.2d 174, 180-81 (Ala.
2004)(quoting Ex parte Bertram, 884 So.2d 889, 891
(Ala. 2003), superseded by statute as stated in
Hankins v. State, 989 So.2d 610
"The record shows that Holloway had more than three
prior convictions in the State of Ohio for trafficking. As
Judge Baschab wrote in her special writing in Williams v.
State, 941 So.2d 342, 343 (Ala.Crim.App.2006) (Baschab,
J., concurring in part and dissenting in part):
"'[T]he plain language of § 13A-12-281(a), Ala.
Code 1975, indicates that the $2, 000 penalty applies only if
the previous conviction or convictions were for violations of
the sections specifically enumerated in that statute.
Compare Ex parte Bertram, 884 So.2d 889 (Ala.
2003)(holding that, based on the plain language of §
32-5A-191, Ala. Code 1975, a prior out-of-state conviction
for driving under the influence cannot be used to enhance a
defendant's sentence ... for driving under the influence
pursuant to § 32-5A-191, Ala. Code 1975).'
"Holloway's Ohio convictions are not enumerated in
§ 13A-12-281(a), Ala. Code 1975. Therefore, the $2, 000
fine the trial court imposed exceeds the $1, 000 fine
mandated by § 13A-12-281, Ala. Code 1975, for the first
offense. Accordingly, this case is hereby remanded for the
trial court to set aside the $2, 000 Demand Reduction
Assessment Act fine, as required by § 13A-12-281(a),
Ala. Code 1975."
Holloway v. State, 995 So.2d 180, 182
present case, the record shows that the circuit court ordered
Wilson to pay a $2, 000 DDRA fine in light of her prior
trafficking conviction in Georgia. Like the defendant's
out-of-state convictions in Holloway, Wilson's
conviction in Georgia is not enumerated in §
13A-12-281(a), Ala. Code 1975. Thus, the fine imposed by the
court exceeds that permitted by the statute, and we remand
this case for the circuit court to impose a fine of $1, 000
as permitted by the DDRA.
argues that the circuit court erroneously sentenced her to 20
years' imprisonment. Specifically, Wilson argues that the
court mistakenly believed that Wilson was required to serve,
at a minimum, a three-year split term and that it did not
have the authority to suspend that split sentence. As a
result, Wilson contends that this case should be remanded to
give the circuit court the opportunity to split and suspend
circumstances underlying Wilson's claim here are as
follows. Before Wilson entered her guilty plea, the following
exchange occurred concerning the punishment ...