Alabama House Bill 24 proposes allowing resentencing of habitual offenders with non-violent offenses committed prior to October 1, 2013. Under the proposed law, people currently serving time in Alabama prisons with a sentence on a non-violent offense that was imposed under the Alabama Habitual Felony Offender Act could petition the court for resentencing under the Alabama Presumptive Sentencing Guidelines. The Alabama sentencing guidelines are developed and administered by the Alabama Sentencing Commission.
If the law passes, a person could file a motion for reduction in sentence under the presumptive sentencing standards in effect at the time of the motion, provided that the person meets certain criteria. The proposed law states:
(d) To be eligible for a reduction in sentencing both of the following shall be satisfied:
(1) The covered offense occurred prior to October 1, 2013.(2) The motion for reduction in sentence is accompanied by evidence that the defendant has demonstrated behavior during incarceration that would indicate his or her fitness for resentencing pursuant to this section.
The petition or motion would be filed in the county were the case originated, and would be assigned to the judge that imposed the sentence if possible. The judge has complete discretion to grant or deny the request after taking into consideration the nature of the underlying offense and the persons behavior while in custody. In many cases it is likely that the new sentence under the presumptive guidelines would be equal to or less than the time already served, and the person would be immediately released.
As with any judicial proceeding or court matter, we strongly advise that a person hire a lawyer to represent them in the case. This is our recommendation in this instance particularly because the judge is given total discretion to grant the motion or not.
If the bill passes and the law goes into effect, Bradford Ladner LLP will be ready to file motions for resentencing.