I have worked on numerous death penalty cases, including Brandon Mitchell (Birmingham Thanksgiving murders – I was court appointed for the direct appeal along with Donald L. Colee, Jr. – worked on case for over 4 and ½ years), Michael Lewis (direct appeal – worked on case for over 5 and ½ years), Joseph Wilson (Huntsville cell phone murders – represented in post conviction– have been working on this case for over 12 years – December 2001 until present), James McWilliams (worked on his post conviction state and federal for over 11 years), Charles Gregory Clark (direct appeal and post-conviction – have been working on this case for over 14 years – November 1999 until present), Mohammad Sharifi (Iranian convicted of capital murder of his wife and her friend – direct appeal and filed State Rule 32 Petition – worked on this case for over 4 years), O.M. v. State (Gadsden fire bomb murder – after he won his direct appeal of juvenile transfer, case was remanded and dismissed), Leroy White (hired UAB linguistic expert, cert granted by Alabama Supreme Court and then quashed due to United States Supreme Court decision regarding substantial doubt jury instructions), Wesley Quick (I won his appeal and he was later acquitted at his new trial), Merrill v. State (death sentence changed to life without parole; played very minor role), Walter Leroy Moody (legal research), Eric Rudolph (some research and represented civil litigation), and Jermaine Robinson (charged with capital murder before Supreme Court's juvenile decision years later).
I have won numerous civil and criminal appeals, including double jeopardy victories in 2010 in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. I have over 15 appeals that I have authored, either on my behalf or the law firm of Jaffe, Strickland, Drennan, & Dodd, P.C., to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals involving civil and criminal cases. I have written over 100 civil and criminal briefs before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, and the Alabama Supreme Court. The following are my published cases:
- O.M. v. State, 595 So.2d 514 (Ala.Crim.App. 1991)
- Sphere Drake Ins. P.L.C. v. Shoney's Inc., 923 F.Supp. 1481 (M.D.Ala. 1996)
- Lancaster v. Monroe County, AL, 116 F.3d 1419 (11th Cir. 1997)
- Ex parte McCombs, 24 So.3d 1175 (Ala.Crim.App. 2009)
- United States v. McIntosh, 580 F.3d 1222 (11th Cir. 2009)
- Ex parte Sanders, 612 So.2d 1199 (Ala. 1993)
- Quick v. State, 825 So.2d 246 (Ala.Crim.App. 2001)
- Ex parte Hamm, 785 So.2d 1126 (Ala. 2000)
- Lyons v. Walker Regional Medical Center, 791 So.2d 937 (Ala. 2001)#
- Hollingsworth v. Edgar, 2006 W.L. 2009104 (M.D. Ala.)
- Mordecai v. State, 858 So.2d 993 (Ala.Crim.App. 2003)
- Merrill v. State, 741 So.2d 1099 (Ala.Crim.App. 1997)
- Ferrill v. The Parker Group, Inc., 168 F.3d 468 (11th Cir. 1999)
- Raney v. Vinson Guard Service, Inc., 120 F.3d 1192 (11th Cir. 1997)
- Lucero v. City of Birmingham, 592 So.2d 656 (Ala.Crim.App. 1991)
- U.S. v. Floyd, 126 Fed.Appx. 934 (11th Cir. 2005)
- Garcia v. Killingsworth, 425 Fed.Appx. 831 (11th Cir. 2011)
- David v. SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories, Inc., 120 F.3d 1199 (11th Cir. 1999)
- Falkner v. State, 586 So.2d 48 (Ala.Cr.App. 1991)
- Hernandez v. City of Hoover, Alabama, 212 Fed.Appx. 774 (11th Cir. 2006)
- Sims v. Quilliams, 378 Fed.Appx. 945 (11th Cir. 2010)
- Bracewell v. Lobmiller, 938 F.Supp. 1571 (M.D.Ala. 1996)
- Vaughn v. City of Athens, 176 Fed.Appx. 974 (11th Cir. 2006)
- Wallace v. Jackson, 667 Supp.2d 1267 (M.D.Ala. 2009)
- Click v. State, 821 So.2d 218 (Ala.Crim.App. 1999)
- Gooden v. City of Talladega, 966 So.2d 232 (Ala. 2007)
- Ex parte Lewis, 24 So.3d 540 (Ala. 2009)
- Ferrill v. Parker Group, Inc., 168 F.3d 468 (11th Cir. 1999)
- Jelks v. Caputo, 607 So.2d 177 (Ala. 1992)
- Chatman v. State, 813 So.2d 956 (Ala.Crim.App. 2001)
- Williams v. Love, 681 So.2d 137 (Ala.Civ.App. 1995)
- Lyons v. Walker Regional Medical Center, 868 So.2d 1071 (Ala. 2003)
- Scott v. Estes, 60 F.Supp.2d 1260 (M.D.Ala. 1999)
- Webb v. State, 696 So.2d 295 (Ala.Crim.App. 1996)
- Ex parte Mitchell, 84 So.3d 1013 (Ala. 2011)
- State v. Click, 768 So.2d 417 (Ala.Crim.App. 1999)
- Woods v. State, 593 So.2d 103 (Ala.Crim.App. 1991)
- S.E.C. v. Healthsouth Corp., 261 F.Supp.2d 1298 (N.D.Ala. 2003)
- Staples v. State, 55 So.3d 362 (Ala.Crim.App. 2007)
- Schoenvogel v. Venator Group Retail, Inc., (Ala. 2004)
- Smith v. State, 660 So.2d 1320 (Ala.Civ.App. 1995)
- Russell v. State, 886 So.2d 123 (Ala.Crim.App. 2003)
- Wilson v. State, 911 So.2d 40 (Ala.Crim.App. 2005)
- McWilliams v. State, 897 So.2d 437 (Ala.Crim.App. 2004)
- Sharifi v. State, 993 So.2d 907 (Ala.Crim.App. 2008)
- Wilkerson v. State, 70 So.3d 442 (Ala.Crim.App. 2011)
- Mitchell v. State, 84 So.3d 968 (Ala.Crim.App. 2010)
- Clark v. State, 896 So.2d 584 (Ala.Crim.App. 2000)
- U.S. v. Matthews, 410 Fed.Appx. 257 (11th Cir. 2011)
- U.S. v. Young, 330 Fed.Appx. 791 (11th Cir. 2009)
- Willis v. Kincaid, 983 So.2d 1100 (Ala. 2007)
- Ex parte White, 587 So.2d 1236 (Ala. 1991)
- Ex parte J.R., 582 So.2d 444 (Ala. 1991)
- Foster v. State, 705 So.2d 534 (Ala.Crim.App. 1997)
- Ex parte Kirby, 643 So.2d 587 (Ala. 1994)
- Click v. State, 1999 W.L. 669423 (Ala.Crim.App. 1999)
- Quick v. State, 2001 W.L. 564259 (Ala.Crim.App. 2001)
- Ex parte Quick, 2001 W.L. 1658291 (Ala.. 2001)
Sample Motion and Appellate Victories
O.M. v. State, 595 So.2d 514 (Ala.Crim.App. 1991) (appellate victory regarding juvenile transfer hearings)
A minor was charged with capital murder and the State sought to have him transferred from juvenile court to circuit court to be tried as an adult.
In a Landmark case creating new law, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals held that juveniles have the right to exercise their constitutional rights during transfer hearings such as the right to confront and cross-examine their accusers and to invoke their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
Sphere Drake Ins. P.L.C. v. Shoney’s Inc., 923 F.Supp. 1481 (M.D.Ala. 1996) (insurance coverage victory at federal trial court level)
In interpreting an insurance policy regarding coverage issues for a sexual harassment case, the United States District Court held that an insurer had to defend and possibly indemnify the restaurant owners and their employees regarding sexual harassment claims made by female employees. This case was a major victory for the female employees because there was concern over whether our clients would be adequately compensated.
Lancaster v. Monroe County, AL, 116 F.3d 1419 (11th Cir. 1997) (appellate victory regarding denial of medical care in a civil rights case)
When a jail detainee died from complications from alcohol withdrawal due to the Sherriff and his jailers failing to obtain medical care for the detainee, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held the Sheriff and his jailers were not entitled to immunity.
Ex parte McCombs, 24 So.3d 1175 (Ala.Crim.App. 2009) (state double jeopardy appellate victory)
Defendant had been charged with murder. He was ACQUITTED of the murder charge when the jury returned a verdict on the lesser-included offense of manslaughter. The defendant was then granted a new trial based on ineffective assistance of his original trial counsel. The State sought to re-prosecute the defendant with the original murder charge but the appellate court held that any retrial on the original charge of murder violated Double Jeopardy.
United States v. McIntosh, 580 F.3d 1222 (11th Cir. 2009) (federal double jeopardy appellate victory)
Defendant pled guilty to drug and firearm charges, but before sentencing the Government discovered the indictment alleged a wrong offense date, obtained a second indictment, and moved to dismiss the first indictment. The United States District Court granted that motion. Defendant's motion to dismiss the second indictment as barred by Double Jeopardy was denied. Defendant conditionally pled guilty and appealed.
On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a second conviction for the same offense violated the Double Jeopardy Clause. The judgment of conviction was vacated and the case was remanded with instructions to dismiss the second indictment.
Ex parte Sanders, 612 So.2d 1199 (Ala. 1993)(appellate victory on behalf of all indigent defendants)
In this case, we submitted a “friend of the court” (amicus) brief concerning when a criminal defendant is deemed to be indigent for financial assistance from the State. The Alabama Supreme Court held that a defendant whose relatives or friends retain the services of counsel may still be considered indigent for purposes of receiving funds for expert, investigative services, or other legal needs when those funds are necessary to the defense because the assets of friends and relatives, not legally responsible for the defendant, are not considered assets for determining whether the defendant is indigent.
Quick v. State, 825 So.2d 246 (Ala.Crim.App. 2001) (death penalty appellate victory)
On appeal, an indigent capital murder defendant who had been given the death penalty was given a new trial due to the State failing to give our client a free copy of the transcript from his first trial that ended in a mistrial. Our client was acquitted (found not guilty) at his new trial.
Ex parte Hamm, 785 So.2d 1126 (Ala. 2000) (appellate victory on behalf of our indigent client)
An indigent defendant’s family hired our firm to represent him for his appeal but his family could not afford to pay for the trial transcript. On appeal, the Alabama Supreme Court held that our client was entitled to a free copy of his transcript for his appeal.
Lyons v. Walker Regional Medical Center, 791 So.2d 937 (Ala. 2001) (appellate victory regarding wrongful death lawsuit)
The trial court dismissed our wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital. On appeal, the Alabama Supreme Court held that our client’s estate was entitled to a jury trial on the issue of whether the hospital breached its duty to prevent the death of an inmate from ketoacidosis due to diabetes mellitus.
Hollingsworth v. Edgar, 2006 W.L. 2009104 (M.D.Ala.) (motion victory before federal trial court)
A jail detainee committed suicide by hanging himself. The United States District Court denied the jailers’ motion to dismiss our civil rights lawsuit against the jailers for failing to take any precautions to prevent our client’s suicide despite the fact that the jailers knew our client was suicidal.
Mordecai v. State, 858 So.2d 993 (Ala.Crim.App. 2003) (appellate victory)
At trial, a criminal defendant was not allowed to put on a self-defense case nor obtain self-defense jury instructions due to the fact that the defendant used deadly force with a pool stick in order to defend himself and consequently poked out the victim’s eye while he was defending himself. Normally, someone cannot claim self-defense when he uses deadly force such as a pool stick against an unarmed aggressor. However, on appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals held that when there is a great disparity between the two parties such as height and weight, and when there is other evidence to support a self-defense claim, a person can in self-defense use a weapon against an unarmed aggressor. Our client was then given a new trial.
United States of America v. Rebecca Kay Morgan, et. al. (unpublished opinion from Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals – Case number 03-16408) (appellate victory on behalf of some of the HealthSouth defendants)
Our firm (along with the substantial assistance of other firms) successfully played a key role in writing the appellate brief in opposition to the Government’s arguments for jail time and restitution for five HealthSouth managers.
Merrill v. State, 741 So.2d 1099 (Ala.Crim.App. 1997) (death penalty appellate victory)
Based on interpretation of criminal statute (which was later changed by the Alabama legislature), the Court of Criminal Appeals held that our client’s death penalty sentence had to be set aside and that our client had to be sentenced to life without parole.
Ferrill v. The Parker Group, Inc., 168 F.3d 468 (11th Cir. 1999) (appellate victory on behalf of our business client)
Following a jury award of $500 in compensatory damages and $4,000 in punitive damages, the Eleventh Circuit agreed that client did not act with animus towards its employees and that punitive damages were inappropriate.
Raney v. Vinson Guard Service, Inc., 120 F.3d 1192 (11th Cir. 1997) (trial and appellate victory on behalf of our business client)
A discharged employee accused our client of gender discrimination and retaliation. The federal trial court granted our motion to dismiss the federal causes of action on the ground that the employee had failed to prove her case, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court.
Lucero v. City of Birmingham, 592 So.2d 656 (Ala.Crim.App. 1991) (appellate victory)
Our client was given a new trial after the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on self-defense of our client’s premises when he struck victim with metal rod to prevent victim from possibly shattering glass wall.