from Lauderdale Circuit Court (CC-99-175.80)
Lee Boyd was convicted of capital murder in 2000 for the 1999
killing of Joseph Danny Sledge during a first-degree robbery.
See § 13A-5-40(a)(2), Ala. Code 1975. Boyd was
sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of
parole. Because Boyd was 17 years old when he killed Sledge,
he was granted a resentencing proceeding pursuant to
Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), and
Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S.___, 136 S.Ct. 718
(2016). At the conclusion of that proceeding, the circuit
court again sentenced Boyd to life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole. Boyd appeals. We affirm.
and Procedural History
Court's unpublished memorandum affirming Boyd's
original conviction and sentence on February 22, 2002, this
Court provided the following factual background of Boyd's
"On the morning of March 12, 1999, Bonnie Clemmons, an
employee of The Galley, a restaurant in Florence, Alabama,
found the owner-operator, Joseph Danny Sledge, dead in a pool
of blood. He had been stabbed 23 times and, ultimately, the
knife blade had broken off in his spine.
revealed that Boyd had worked for Sledge during the summer
of 1998. On March 11, 1999, Boyd and his brother went to
The Galley and ordered food. There was some discussion as
to the fact that they had brought in beverages, which was
against The Galley's policy, and Boyd and his brother
took their food 'to go,' and left.
"On Friday, March 12, 1999, Donna Hawk, another
employee of The Galley, took her niece to work with her.
Sledge bought $20.50 worth of rolled pennies from Hawk's
niece. Hawk wrote her name, address, and telephone number on
the penny rolls. Sledge placed the penny rolls in a bucket
under the register.
that same evening, Boyd and his brother came back to the
restaurant and ordered a glass of water. Boyd argued with a
waitress about the price of water and left. The waitress
left the restaurant around 8:00 p.m. This was the last time
Sledge was seen alive.
"At around 9:10 p.m., Gary Bowlin was driving past
The Galley and noticed a small red pick-up truck exiting the
parking lot. The truck nearly collided with Bowlin, and, as
Bowlin took measures to avoid hitting the truck, he saw the
face of the passenger in the front seat and noticed that the
passenger was taking off his shirt. At trial, Bowlin
identified Boyd as the passenger.
Sunday, March 14, 1999, after receiving an anonymous tip,
officers recovered a bank money bag, receipts, checks made
out to The Galley, and a t-shirt floating in the water near
Goose Shoals Bridge. On Monday, March 15, 1999, law
enforcement received a phone call from Bowlin regarding the
red pick-up truck that had nearly hit him when it was
exiting the parking lot of The Galley. Also on that date,
the Boyd brothers' parents went to the Sheriff's
Department, concerned that their sons may have been
involved in Sledge's murder. Officers, accompanied by
the Boyds' parents, went to the Boyd brothers'
apartment, and found a red pick-up truck parked behind the
apartment. The officers went to the door, knocked, and
obtained consent from Boyd's brother to search the
apartment and the truck. In the apartment, officers found
the rolled coins with Hawk's name, address, and
telephone number written on them. One of the investigators
called Hawk, and she explained how Sledge had purchased the
pennies from her niece. Boyd and his brother were arrested.
Boyd had cuts and abrasions on his left hand.
"In custody at the Sheriff's Department, Boyd
waived his Miranda [v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966),
] rights and agreed to make a statement. In his tape-recorded
statement, Boyd implicated his brother. Boyd was then
transported to the detention center, but, as he arrived, he
expressed a desire to 'tell the truth.' (R. 681.) The
officers escorted Boyd back to the Sheriff's Department.
Boyd then gave a second tape-recorded statement. In his
second statement, Boyd admitted that both he and his brother
had participated in the murder and robbery of Sledge.
evidence from Boyd's t-shirt and his brother's shoe
identically matched a blood sample from the victim. DNA
evidence also revealed that the Boyd brothers' DNA was
present in blood samples taken from a tan cap found at the
scene of the crime. One of Boyd's acquaintances
testified that Boyd had previously expressed a desire to
rob and kill Sledge. Boyd impeached the witness by
eliciting testimony that the acquaintance engaged in
recreational drug use and that the acquaintance had given
two inconsistent statements regarding Boyd's desire to
"Boyd testified in his own defense. He testified
that he and his brother went to The Galley on March 11, 1999,
because they 'planned on robbing it' (R. 920), but
did not follow through with the robbery plans and left. He
testified that, after a day of drinking, smoking marijuana,
and planning, he and his brother returned to The Galley on
March 12, 1999. Boyd ordered a glass of water, and the two
left. Boyd and his brother drove around that night until they
saw the waitress leave.
testified that he hid beside a door and rushed in when he
heard Sledge unlock it. Sledge 'took off backwards
towards the kitchen area,' but Boyd grabbed and held
Sledge while the brother came through the door. (R. 931.)
The brother hit Sledge in the face and 'more or less
put him on the ground.' (R. 931.) Boyd picked up Sledge
by the back of his pants and carried him to the kitchen.
Boyd held a B.B. gun, which resembled a pistol, on Sledge
while Eric tied him up with a fan cord. Boyd testified that
he and his brother became distracted by headlights in the
window, and Sledge somehow managed to free his hands and
grabbed a knife. Boyd testified that Sledge 'c[ame] up
at [him] with the knife.' (R. 932). Boyd tried to get
the knife away from Sledge while the brother kicked Sledge
back down onto the floor. The brother took a knife from the
counter and stabbed Sledge several times. Sledge continued
to kick, and the brother then stabbed him in the legs and
in the stomach. Boyd could not wrestle the knife from
Sledge's hand, 'until he died.' (R. 933.) Boyd
"'[a]t one point in time he -- he just got
strong -- I don't know -- I guess it was just a ... burst
of adrenaline and [Sledge] pushed ... me and I fell back. It
had kinda got a little slippery from all the blood, and when
[Sledge] came over on top of me and the knife was on my
chest, and about that time I heard a loud pop. And he just
relaxed and went limp. And when that happened, I just stood
up and threw him off of me.'
"(R. 933-34.) Boyd testified that his brother then
picked up a money bag, the bucket of change under the cash
register, and Sledge's wallet, and the two left."
October 6, 2000, a jury found Boyd guilty of capital murder
under § 13A-5-40(a)(2), Ala. Code 1975. At the conclusion
of the penalty phase, the jury unanimously recommended that
Boyd be sentenced to life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole. The circuit court followed that
Court, as noted, affirmed Boyd's conviction and sentence.
Boyd, 854 So.2d 1215 (Ala.Crim.App.2002) (table).
The Alabama Supreme Court denied Boyd's petition for
certiorari on September 13, 2002. Ex parte Boyd (No.
1011331), 876 So.2d 519 (Ala. 2002) (table).
obtained the current resentencing proceeding through a
petition he filed under Rule 32, Ala. R. Crim. P., in 2013.
In that petition, his second Rule 32 petition, Boyd sought
relief under Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012),
in which the United States Supreme Court held that the Eighth
Amendment to the United States Constitution forbids a
mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole for juvenile offenders. The circuit
court granted Boyd's petition on January 6, 2014. This
Court, however, reversed the circuit court's judgment
based on this Court's holding in Williams v.
State, 183 So.3d 198 (Ala.Crim.App.2014), that
Miller did not apply retroactively. See State v.
Boyd, 183 So.3d 236 (Ala.Crim.App.2014). Once the matter
was remanded to the circuit court, that court granted
Boyd's request to stay the petition while the Supreme
Court of the United States considered the petition then
pending in Montgomery v. Louisiana, 135 S.Ct. 1456
(2015). After the decision in Montgomery v.
Louisiana, 577 U.S.___, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016), in which
the United States Supreme Court held that its decision in
Miller applied retroactively, the circuit court
again granted Boyd's petition for resentencing pursuant
the next couple years, Boyd filed several motions for
expenses for investigation and for expert assistance, as well
as motions related to discovery matters. The circuit court
appears to have granted most of Boyd's motions. Before
the resentencing hearing that was scheduled for September 6,
2018, Boyd and the State filed extensive briefs regarding
their respective positions. At that hearing on September 6-7,
2018, both the State and Boyd presented testimony from
several witnesses. The State offered 37 exhibits into
evidence, and Boyd offered 27 exhibits into
circuit court, in a detailed order dated September 26, 2018,
resentenced Boyd to life imprisonment without the possibility
of parole. (C. 326.) Boyd filed a timely notice of
first argues that the decision to sentence a juvenile
offender to life imprisonment without the possibility of
parole should be made by a jury and not by the trial court.
(Boyd's brief, p. 22.) Boyd acknowledges that this Court
in Wilkerson v. State, [CR-17-0082, Nov. 16,
2018]___So. 3d___ (Ala.Crim.App.2018), cert. denied
(No. 1180332, April 12, 2019), ___ So. 3d___ (Ala. 2019),
cited with approval the holding of the Supreme Court of
Michigan in People v. Skinner, 502 Mich. 89, 917
N.W.2d 292 (2018), that whether a juvenile convicted of
capital murder should be sentenced to life imprisonment
without the possibility of parole is not a factual finding
that must be made by a jury. Rather, "whether a juvenile
who has been convicted of capital murder should be sentenced
to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is
ultimately a moral judgment, not a factual
finding." Wilkerson, So.3d at (citing
Skinner, 502 Mich. at 117 n.11, 917 N.W.2d at 305
n.11). Wilkerson quotes the following passage from
Skinner, which was, in turn, quoting from the
decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth
Circuit in United States v. Gabrion, 719 F.3d 511,
532-33 (6th Cir. 2013):
"'"[T]erms [such as] consider, justify, [and]
outweigh ... reflect a process of assigning weights to
competing interests, and then determining, based upon some
criterion, which of those interests predominates. The result
is one of judgment, of shades of gray; like saying that
Beethoven was a better composer than Brahms. Here, the
judgment is moral--for the root of 'justify' is
'just.' ..." [United States v. Gabrion,
719 F.3d 511, 532-33 (6th Cir. 2013).] For the same reasons,
a trial court's decision to impose life without parole
after considering the mitigating and aggravating
circumstances is not a factual finding, but a moral
Wilkerson, ___So. 3d at___ . Boyd directly questions
this quoted passage from Wilkerson, stating:
"[T]here is extreme danger in entrusting moral judgments
of such immense gravity as one which might imprison a child
for the entirety of her/his life in the hands of a single
inherently flawed human being; judge or not."
(Boyd's brief, pp. 25-26.) In support of this assertion,
Boyd cites actions by former Governor George Wallace and
former Chief Justice Roy Moore. (Boyd's brief, pp.
27-29.) Boyd also questions "how out of touch"
Judge Raymond Kethledge, who authored the opinion in
"would likely, himself, be with the average person
living today in Boyd's community, where one seeking to
discuss music in earnest would be much more likely to
converse about whether Florida Georgia Line [a musical group]
is really country music, whether Cardi B [a musical artist]
only won album of the year because the rap albums released in
2018 were so weak, or how excited everyone is about the
upcoming Tool [another musical group] record."
(Boyd's brief, p. 29.) Boyd concludes with an assertion
"Court should mandate, if the decision to sentence a
juvenile offender to life without the possibility of parole
is a moral judgment, that moral judgment cannot be accurately
made by a single judge and must, instead, be made by a jury
made up of community members from the victimized
(Boyd's brief, pp. 30-31.)
did not make these arguments below. Thus, they are not
properly before us. Ex parte Coulliette, 857 So.2d
793, 794-95 (Ala. 2003). And even if these arguments were
properly before us, they are policy-based arguments that
should be directed to the legislature, not to this Court.
See, e.g., Marsh v. Green, 782 So.2d 223,
231 (Ala. 2000) ("These concerns deal with the wisdom of
legislative policy rather than constitutional issues. Matters
of policy are for the Legislature and, whether wise or
unwise, legislative policies are of no concern to the courts.
State ex rel. Wilkinson v. Murphy, 237 Ala.
332, 186 So. 487 (1939). In Alabama State
Federation of Labor v. McAdory, 246 Ala. 1, 18 So.2d
810 (1944), cert. dismissed, 325 U.S. 450, 65 S.Ct.
1384, 89 L.Ed. 1725 (1945), this Court held that a court
cannot hold a statute invalid because of its view that
'there are elements therein which are violative of
natural justice or in conflict with the court's notions
of natural, social, or political rights of the citizen.'
246 Ala. at 9, 18 So.2d at 815.").
the legislature has decided this issue adversely to
Boyd's position. Section 13A-5-43(e), Ala. Code 1975,
"If the defendant is found guilty of a capital offense
or offenses with which he or she is charged and the defendant
establishes to the court by a preponderance of the evidence
that he or she was under the age of 18 years at the time of
the capital offense or offenses, the sentence shall be either
life without the possibility of parole or, in the
alternative, life, and the sentence shall be determined by
the procedures set forth in the Alabama Rules of Criminal
Procedure for judicially imposing sentences within the range
set by statute without a jury, rather than as provided in
Sections 13A-5-45 to 13A-5-53, inclusive. The judge shall
consider all relevant mitigating circumstances.
the defendant is sentenced to life on a capital offense,
the defendant must serve a minimum of 30 years, day for
day, prior to first consideration of parole."
subsection was added by Act No. 2016-360, Ala. Acts 2016.
Section 3 of Act No. 2016-360 states:
"This act shall apply to any person under the age of 18
years at the time an offense was committed who was sentenced
to life without the possibility of parole under Section
13A-5-2, 13A-5-39, 13A-5-43, or 13A-6-2, Code of Alabama
1975, whether the person is currently incarcerated or
(Emphasis added.) Thus, the legislature has decided that
whether to sentence a juvenile to life imprisonment without
the possibility of parole is a decision to be made by a
judge, not by a jury. Unless a constitutional or other legal
problem exists with the legislature's decision, it is not
this Court's job to second-guess that
not entitled to relief on this issue.
next challenges the circuit court's decision to
resentence him to life imprisonment without the possibility
of parole. (Boyd's brief, pp. 38-77.)
Wilkerson, supra, this Court stated:
"'Miller "mandates only that a
sentencer follow a certain process--considering an
offender's youth and attendant
characteristics"--before "meting out" a
sentence of life imprisonment without parole.
Miller, 567 U.S. at 483, 132 S.Ct. at 2471.
"[A] judge or jury must have the opportunity to consider
mitigating circumstances before imposing the harshest
possible penalty for juveniles." Miller, 567
U.S. at 489, 132 S.Ct. at 2475.'
Click v. State
215 So.3d 1189
"... [T]he Alabama Supreme Court in Ex parte
Henderson[, 144 So.3d 1262 (Ala. 2013), ] established
the following factors courts must consider when deciding
whether life in prison with the possibility of parole would
be an appropriate sentence for a juvenile:
"'(1) the juvenile's chronological age at the
time of the offense and the hallmark features of youth,
such as immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate
risks and consequences; (2) the juvenile's diminished
culpability; (3) the circumstances of the offense; (4) the
extent of the juvenile's participation in the crime;
(5) the juvenile's family, home, and neighborhood
environment; (6) the juvenile's emotional maturity and
development; (7) whether familial and/or peer pressure
affected the juvenile; (8) the juvenile's past exposure
to violence; (9) the juvenile's drug and alcohol
history; (10) the juvenile's ability to deal with the
police; (11) the juvenile's capacity to assist his or
her attorney; (12) the juvenile's mental-health
history; (13) the juvenile's potential for
rehabilitation; and (14) any other relevant factor related
to the juvenile's youth.'
"144 So.3d at 1284. See also Foye v. State,
153 So.3d 854, 864 (Ala.Crim.App.2013). It should be noted,
however, that 'some of the factors may not apply to a
particular juvenile's case and that some of the factors
may overlap.' Ex parte Henderson, 144 So.3d at
Wilkerson, ___So. 3d at___.
the circuit court expressly considered and addressed all 14
factors from Ex parte Henderson in reaching its
decision. (C. 326-40.) Boyd contends the circuit court
"'cherry-picked' evidence presented during the
hearing (which in some cases, is utilized in opposing ways to
itself in the sentencing order) to support its sentencing
decision while completely ignoring other equally credible
evidence." (Boyd's brief, p. 38.) Boyd also argues
that the circuit court "misapprehended the import of
certain Henderson factors and their relation to the
purpose of the hearing." (Boyd's brief, pp. 38-39.)
Boyd specifically challenges the circuit court's
consideration of 13 of the 14 Henderson factors and
its conclusion as to each of those factors.
reviewing the circuit court's sentencing determination
after a hearing conducted pursuant to Miller and
Montgomery, this Court applies an
abuse-of-discretion standard of review. Wilkerson,
___So. 3d at___("Because life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole remains a sentencing option for
juvenile offenders, even in light of the Supreme Court's
decisions in Miller and Montgomery, the
standard of review to be applied is an abuse-of-discretion
standard."). Also, the circuit court's findings as
to the evidence presented at the resentencing hearing,
including its consideration and application of the
Henderson factors, are presumed correct and are
reviewed for an abuse of discretion. See, e.g.,
Smiley v. State, 52 So.3d 565, 568 (Ala. 2010)
("'"When the evidence in a case is in conflict,
the trier of fact has to resolve the conflicts in the
testimony, and it is not within the province of the appellate
court to reweigh the testimony and substitute its own
judgment for that of the trier of fact."'"
(quoting Ex parte R.E.C., 899 So.2d 272, 279 (Ala.
2004), quoting in turn Delbridge v. Civil Serv. Bd. of
Tuscaloosa, 481 So.2d 911, 913 (Ala. Civ. App. 1985))).
argues that "the trial court failed to appropriately
consider, as a mitigating factor, Nathan Boyd's youth,
immaturity, impetuosity, and clear inability to appreciate
risks and consequences." (Boyd's brief, p. 39.) This
argument is addressed to the first Henderson factor,
i.e., "the juvenile's chronological age at the time
of the offense and the hallmark features of youth, such as
immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and
consequences." 144 So.3d at 1284.
first attacks the circuit court's observation that Boyd
committed the crime less than 4 months before he turned 18
and that Boyd's "expert, clinical psychologist Dr.
Robert D. Shaffer, acknowledged that [Boyd] would have been
no more mature in four months on his 18th birthday." (C.
327.) According to Boyd, "[c]hronological age is not to
be analyzed to determine whether it might be a mitigating
factor. It is a mitigating factor and must be
weighed in favor of a parolable sentence."
(Boyd's brief, p. 40.) The circuit court's statements
as to "chronological age," however, do not indicate
that the circuit court refused to consider Boyd's age as
a mitigating factor. Rather, they are merely statements of
fact based on the evidence presented. This was not an abuse
"immaturity, impetuosity, [and] failure to appreciate
[the] risks and consequences associated with [Boyd's
chronological age]," the circuit court stated:
"The Court considered testimony submitted on behalf of
[Boyd] in support of his claim of immaturity, impetuosity,
and failure to appreciate risks and consequences. The defense
presented testimony from [Boyd's] juvenile probation
officer John Winston. The court finds that [Boyd] received
counseling from Mr. Winston with a progressive increase in
sanctions for behavioral issues and criminal conduct. Dr.
Shaffer testified that the progressive sanctions were
appropriate. [Boyd] was placed in the HIT ('High
Intensity Treatment') Boot Camp Program just after his
16th birthday by the juvenile court. A year later, [Boyd]
served 30 to 45 days at Mount Meigs, Department of Youth
Services. [Boyd's] juvenile court history indicates that
he was very familiar with the risks and consequences of
"[Boyd's] testimony at trial established that [Boyd]
selected the time, place, and circumstances of how the crime
would be committed. [Boyd] testified that he and his brother
'planned it out to the "T."' ... [Boyd]
knew the victim. He had worked for him on two separate
occasions. [Boyd] took steps to minimize the risks of being
linked to the crime, wearing surgical gloves while committing
the crime and disposed of evidence in two separate locations.
"The Court finds that the evidence indicates that the
crime was not a spur of the moment, impetuous, immature
behavior of a 17-year-old who failed to appreciate that
substantial penal penalties result from criminal
argues that the "plan" for the crime was
"immature and ridiculous ... [and] stupid."
(Boyd's brief, p. 41.) He cites testimony from Dr.
Shaffer that Boyd was "in an arrested state of
development" (R. 405) and evidence indicating that Boyd
did not do well in school and that he had low-to-average
scores on standardized tests. Boyd's arguments in this
regard, however, do not demonstrate that the circuit court
abused its discretion. Rather, Boyd's arguments indicate
that he thinks the circuit court should have weighed the