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Ex parte Wayne

Supreme Court of Alabama

April 26, 2019

Ex parte Crystal Joetta Wayne
v.
State of Alabama In re: Crystal Joetta Wayne

          Madison Circuit Court, CC-13-2404.70; Court of Criminal Appeals, CR-17-0619

          PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS

          MENDHEIM, Justice.

         Crystal Joetta Wayne petitioned this Court for a writ of certiorari to review the Court of Criminal Appeals' decision affirming, by an unpublished memorandum, the Madison Circuit Court's revocation of Wayne's probation. See Wayne v. State (No. CR-17-0619, August 24, 2018), __So. 3d__ (Ala.Crim.App.2018) (table). We granted certiorari review to consider whether Wayne's due-process rights were violated in the revocation of her probation. Specifically, we granted certiorari review to consider whether Wayne received adequate notice of the State's charge that Wayne had violated her probation by absconding. For the following reasons, we reverse the Court of Criminal Appeals' judgment.

         Facts and Procedural History

         On March 15, 2017, Wayne was convicted of second-degree manufacturing of a controlled substance, see § 13A-12-217, Ala. Code 1975, a Class B felony. The Madison Circuit Court ("the circuit court") sentenced Wayne to 60 months' imprisonment, which sentence was split, and she was ordered to serve 18 months' imprisonment, followed by 36 months' supervised probation. The circuit court further ordered Wayne to pay $4, 799 in various fees and costs.

         On July 31, 2017, Wayne's probation officer filed a delinquency report alleging that Wayne had violated the terms and conditions of her probation by failing to report to her probation officer as directed, by failing to pay supervision fees, by failing to pay court-ordered moneys, and by failing to report to the court referral officer ("CRO").

         On December 14, 2017, the circuit court conducted an initial-appearance hearing. During the hearing, the circuit court informed Wayne that she was being charged with violating the terms and conditions of her probation "by failing to report, failing to pay monthly supervision fees, failing to pay other court-ordered fines and monies and failing to successfully complete the Court Referral Program." Wayne denied having violated the terms and conditions of her probation. Accordingly, the circuit court set the matter for a probation-revocation hearing scheduled for March 21, 2018. The circuit court specifically instructed Wayne "that if you want to go any direction other than to prison, you have to report between now and the time we come back."

         On March 21, 2018, the circuit court conducted the probation-revocation hearing. Wayne did not appear at the hearing, and, over the objection of Wayne's trial counsel, the circuit court conducted the probation-revocation hearing without her being present. At the conclusion of the probation-revocation hearing, the circuit court stated that it "is reasonably satisfied that [Wayne] has violated her probation with regard to the failing-to-report charge and with regard to failing to successfully complete the Court Referral Program." The circuit court stated:

"With regard to the failure to report, [Wayne] did not -- has not reported since May 5[, 2017]. When we had her in court on December 14[, 2017], I emphasized and kind of lecture people when I order them to resume reporting. The people that have failure-to-report charges as part of their probation violations, I really heavily emphasize if you don't go and report now you're going to prison. And she didn't get that message at all because she continued to not report. The length of time that this person did not report, especially after the court's warning amounts to absconding.
"That is left to the judge to decide when at some point failure to report moves to the level of absconding and in this particular case, the court finds that this is absconding."

         On the same day, the circuit court entered an order revoking Wayne's probationary status on the basis that the court was "reasonably satisfied ... that [Wayne] violated the rules of probation, specifically: Charge No. 5, 'Failure to Report -- Absconding'[, and] Charge No. 13, 'Failure to Report to CRO.'" Wayne was ordered to serve the balance of her 60-month sentence.

         On March 26, 2018, Wayne filed a motion to alter, amend, or vacate the circuit court's order revoking her probation. Among other things, Wayne argued that she had not received notice that she was being charged with absconding. Wayne argued that the failure to provide notice violated her due-process rights. On March 27, 2018, the circuit court denied Wayne's postjudgment motion.

         Wayne appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which affirmed the circuit court's March 21, 2018, order revoking Wayne's probation, by an unpublished memorandum. Wayne, supra. The Court of Criminal Appeals did not consider Wayne's argument that her due-process rights had been violated by the failure to provide notice that she was being charged with absconding.

         Standard ...


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