Ex parte State of Alabama (In re: State of Alabama vs. Darryl Dewayne Turner)
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ALABAMA COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS
OCTOBER TERM, 2006-2007
Ex parte State of Alabama
PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
State of Alabama v. Darryl Dewayne Turner)
Limestone Circuit Court
The State of Alabama filed this petition for a writ of
mandamus directing Judge James W. Woodroof to set aside his
ruling on Darryl Dewayne Turner's motion for discovery related
to Turner's petition for postconviction relief filed pursuant
to Rule 32, Ala.R.Crim.P.
We grant the petition and issue the
intentionally murdering Barbara Wilson during the course of a
robbery and a rape, violations of §§
5-40(a)(3), Ala. Code 1975.
13A-5-40(a)(2) and 13A-
Turner was sentenced to death. 1
His conviction was affirmed on direct appeal.
See Turner v.
State, 924 So. 2d 737 (Ala.Crim.App. 2002).
certificate of judgment on September 30, 2005.
attacking his conviction and sentence. 2
In October 2006,
prosecution's file and numerous other records from various
state and nonstate agencies.
The State filed a response to
Turner's discovery motions, and Judge Woodroof held a hearing.
At the hearing Judge Woodroof granted Turner discovery as to
Christopher Harris and Trent Rainey were also charged
with capital murder in connection with Wilson's murder.
The limitations period for Turner to file a Rule 32
petition expired on September 30, 2006. See Rule 32.2(c),
Ala.R.Crim.P. However, because that date fell on a Saturday
Turner had until the next business day, October 2, 2006, to
file a timely Rule 32 petition. See Rule 1.3(a), Ala.R.Crim.P.
(1) all documents relating to the employment,
training, discipline, promotions, or demotions of Detective
maintained by the Limestone County jail relating to Turner;
and (3) all records maintained by the Alabama Department of
Human Resources ("DHR") relating to Turner, Beverly Turner
Carolyn Coleman (Darryl's grandmother).
The State then filed
this mandamus petition requesting that we direct the circuit
discovery, except as to the discovery of Turner's own DHR
files, to which the State has no objection.
Turner contends that the State has failed to show that it
therefore, he argues that the State cannot seek the remedy of
mandamus. (Turner's answer at page 7.)
support his argument.
He cites Ex parte
In Ocwen Federal Bank, the Alabama
Supreme Court stated:
"Generally, an appeal of a discovery order is an
adequate remedy, notwithstanding the fact that that
procedure may delay an appellate court's review of
a petitioner's grievance or impose on the petitioner
additional expense; our judicial system cannot
afford immediate mandamus review of every discovery
872 So. 2d at 813 (footnote omitted).
Turner fails to consider that the present action is a
Rule 32 proceeding, which is governed by the Alabama Rules of
Criminal Procedure, specifically Rule 32.4, Ala.R.Crim.P., and
not a civil action, which is governed by the Alabama Rules of
The State has only a limited right to appeal
in the criminal context. 3
In relation to a Rule 32 proceeding
Accordingly, the State's only remedy is
to file a petition for a writ of mandamus.
See Ex parte Land, 775 So. 2d 847 (Ala. 2000).
Thus, this case is
presumptively reasonable time period set out in Rule 21(a),
The circuit court granted Turner's motion for
The State has the right to appeal certain pretrial
rulings such as a ruling holding a statute unconstitutional,
suppressing evidence, dismissing an indictment or any part of
an indictment, or quashing an arrest warrant. See § 12-22-91,
Ala. Code 1975, and Rule 15.7, Ala.R.Crim.P. The State also
may appeal an order granting a habeas corpus petition or an
order granting a Rule 32, Ala.R.Crim.P., petition. See § 1222-90(a), Ala. Code 1975, and Rule 32.10, Ala.R.Crim.P.
discovery at the motion hearing on March 15, 2007.
filed this extraordinary petition on March 22, 2007 -- seven
The Alabama Supreme Court in Ex parte Thomas, 828
So. 2d 952 (Ala. 2001), held that the presumptively reasonable
time for the State to file a mandamus petition is within seven
days of the date of the ruling that is the subject of the
This petition is thus timely.
In Ex parte Land, the Alabama Supreme Court set out the
"We agree with the Court of Criminal Appeals
that 'good cause' is the appropriate standard by
which to judge postconviction discovery motions. In
'good-cause' or 'good-reason' standard for the
postconviction discovery process. See [State v.]
Marshall, [148 N.J. 89, 690 A.2d 1 (1997)]; State v.
Lewis, 656 So. 2d 1248 (Fla. 1994); People ex rel.
Daley v. Fitzgerald, 123 Ill.2d 175, 121 Ill.Dec.
937, 526 N.E.2d 131 (1988). As noted by the Illinois
Supreme Court, the good-cause standard guards
against potential abuse of the postconviction
discovery process. See Fitzgerald, supra, 123 Ill.2d
at 183, 121 Ill.Dec. 937, 526 N.E.2d at 135. We also
agree that New Jersey's Marshall case provides a
good working framework for reviewing discovery
motions and orders in capital cases. In addition, we
are bound by our own rule that 'an evidentiary
postconviction relief] which is meritorious on its
allegations (such as ineffective assistance of
counsel) which, if true, entitle the petitioner to
relief.' Ex parte Boatwright, 471 So. 2d 1257, 1258
"We emphasize that this holding -- that
postconviction discovery motions are to be judged by
a good-cause standard -- does not automatically
allow discovery under Rule 32, Ala. R.Crim. P., and
that it does not expand the discovery procedures
within Rule 32.4. Accord Lewis, supra, 656 So. 2d at
1250, wherein the Florida Supreme Court stated that
the good-cause standard did not affect Florida's
rules relating to postconviction procedure, which
are similar to ours. By adopting this standard, we
are only recognizing that a trial court, upon a
petitioner's showing of good cause, may exercise its
proceeding for postconviction relief. In addition,
we caution that postconviction discovery does not
provide a petitioner with a right to 'fish' through
official files and that it 'is not a device for
investigating possible claims, but a means of
vindicating actual claims.' People v. Gonzalez, 51
Cal.3d 1179, 1260, 800 P.2d 1159, 1206, 275
Cal.Rptr. 729, 776 (1990), cert. denied, 502 U.S.
835, 112 S.Ct. 117, 116 L.Ed.2d 85 (1991). Instead,
in order to obtain discovery, a petitioner must
allege facts that, if proved, would entitle him to
relief. Cf. Porter v. Wainwright, 805 F.2d 930, 933
(11th Cir. 1986) ('a hearing [on a habeas corpus
petition] is not required unless the petitioner
alleges facts which, if proved, would entitle him to
federal habeas relief'), cert. denied, 482 U.S. 918,
919, 107 S.Ct. 3195, 96 L.Ed.2d 682 (1987).
Furthermore, a petitioner seeking postconviction
discovery also must meet the requirements of Rule
32.6(b), Ala. R.Crim. P., which states:
"'The petition must contain a clear
and specific statement of the grounds upon
which relief is sought, including full
disclosure of the factual basis of those
constitutional right has been violated and
mere conclusions of law shall not be
"That having been said, we must determine
whether Land presented the trial court with good
cause for ordering the requested discovery. To do
that, we must evaluate Land's basis for the relief
meritorious. Only after making that examination and
determination can we determine whether Land has
shown good cause."
775 So. 2d at 852-53 (footnote omitted).
(Ala.Crim.App. 2005), stated:
"Though Alabama has had little opportunity to
define what constitutes 'good cause,' in Ex parte
Mack, 894 So. 2d 764, 768 (Ala.Crim.App. 2003), we
quoted with approval an Illinois case the Alabama
Supreme Court relied on in Land -- People v.
Johnson, 205 Ill.2d 381, 275 Ill.Dec. 820, 793
N.E.2d 591 (2002):
inherent discretionary authority
post-conviction proceedings. See
Fitzgerald, 123 Ill.2d 175, 183,
121 Ill.Dec. 937, 526 N.E.2d 131
(1988); People v. Rose, 48 Ill.2d
300, 302, 268 N.E.2d 700 (1971).
authority with caution, however,
because a defendant may attempt
to divert attention away from
should allow discovery only if
the defendant has shown 'good
cause,' considering the issues
presented in the petition, the
scope of the requested discovery,
the length of time between the
post-conviction proceeding, the
burden of discovery on the State
and on any witnesses, and the
through other sources. Daley, 123
Ill.2d at 183-84, 121 Ill.Dec.
937, 526 N.E.2d 131; see People
v. Fair, 193 Ill.2d 256, 264-65,
250 Ill.Dec. 284, 738 N.E.2d 500
(2000). We will reverse a trial
post-conviction discovery request
only for an abuse of discretion.
Fair, 193 Ill.2d at 265, 250
Ill.Dec. 284, 738 N.E.2d 500. A
trial court does not abuse its
discretion in denying a discovery
request which ranges beyond the
post-conviction proceeding and
"894 So. 2d at 768-69 (quoting Johnson, 205 Ill.2d
at 408, 275 Ill.Dec. at 836-37, 793 N.E.2d at
607-08). See also State v. Lewis, 656 So. 2d 1248
"The New Jersey Supreme Court in State v.
Marshall, 148 N.J. 89, 690 A.2d 1 (1997), a case
also cited with approval
Court in Land, stated:
"'We anticipate that only in the
unusual case will a PCR [postconviction
relief] court invoke its inherent right to
post-conviction petitioner will be fully
informed of the documentary source of the
errors that he brings to the PCR court's
attention. Moreover, we note that PCR "is
not a device for investigating possible
claims, but a means for vindicating actual
claims." People v. Gonzalez, 51 Cal.3d
1179, 275 Cal.Rptr. 729, 776, 800 P.2d
1159, 1206 (1990), cert. denied, 502 U.S.
835, 112 S.Ct. 117, 116 L.Ed.2d 85 (1991).
The filing of a petition for PCR is not a
license to obtain unlimited information
from the State, but a means through which
a defendant may demonstrate to a reviewing
court that he was convicted or sentenced in
violation of his rights....
"'Moreover, consistent with our prior
discovery jurisprudence, any PCR discovery
order should be appropriately narrow and
limited. "[T]here is no postconviction
right to 'fish' through official files for
belated grounds of attack on the judgment,
or to confirm mere speculation or hope that
a basis for collateral relief may exist."
Gonzalez, supra, 275 Cal.Rptr. at 775, 800
P.2d at 1205; see Deputy v. Taylor, 19 F.3d
1485, 1493 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 512
U.S. 1230, 114 S.Ct. 2730, 129 L.Ed.2d 853
(1994); State v. Thomas, 236 Neb. 553, 462
N.W.2d 862, 867-68 (1990). However where a
defendant presents the PCR court with good
cause to order the State to supply the
defendant with discovery that is relevant
to the defendant's case and not privileged,
the court has discretionary authority to
grant relief. See Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in the United States District
Courts, 28 U.S.C.A. § 2254 Rule 6(a);
[State v.] Lewis, ... 656 So. 2d [1248,]
1250 [(Fla. 1994)]; [People ex rel. Daley
v.] Fitzgerald, [123 Ill.2d 175, 183,] 121
Ill.Dec. [937,] 941, 526 N.Ed.2d [131,] 135
[(1998)] (noting that "good cause" standard
guards against potential abuse of PCR
Jackson v. State, 910 So. 2d at 801-03.
More recently in Ex parte Perkins, 941 So. 2d 242 (Ala.
2006), the Alabama Supreme Court addressed this issue.
determining whether the Rule 32 petitioner had shown good
cause, the court evaluated the merits of Perkins's claim that
his counsel's performance was ineffective for failing to
investigate Perkins's dysfunctional background.
"While the police records Perkins seeks may in
fact show the dysfunctional environment in which he
grew up, according to Ex parte Perkins, 808 So. 2d
1143, 1145 (Ala. 2001), judgment vacated on other
grounds by Perkins v. Alabama, 536 U.S. 953, 122
S.Ct. 2653, 153 L.Ed.2d 830 (2002), there obviously
was evidence presented during sentencing showing the
environment in which Perkins grew up. ...
".... Apparently, Perkins's trial counsel did
perform an investigation and did present evidence
sufficient to convince the trial court of the
existence of mitigating factors substantially
similar to that Perkins now seeks to prove in his
postconviction petition. Therefore, we conclude that
the documentary evidence in the form of lawenforcement records Perkins now seeks would simply
be cumulative of the evidence his counsel presented
during the sentencing phase of Perkins's trial."
941 So. 2d at 248-49.
The State initially asserts that the circuit court erred
in failing to consider the merits of the issues the requested
discovery was to support.
The above cases clearly show that
we must evaluate the merits of the underlying issues to
determine whether the petitioner has established good cause
for the discovery.
As we said in State v. Stallworth, 941
So. 2d 327, 331 (Ala.Crim.App. 2006):
"The Alabama Supreme Court in Land noted that the
main emphasis in determining whether good cause is
shown is a determination of the merits and the
procedural posture of the underlying claims for
which the discovery is sought to substantiate. The
Alabama Supreme Court in Land stated:
presented the trial court with good cause
for ordering the requested discovery. To do
that, we must examine Land's basis for the
relief requested in his postconviction
petition and determine whether his claims
are facially meritorious. Only after making
that examination and determination can we
determine whether Land has shown good
"775 So.2d at 853. In [Ex parte] Hooks, [822 So. 2d
476 (Ala.Crim.App. 2000),] we stated:
"'[A] claim that is procedurally barred ...
in a postconviction petition clearly is not
one that entitles a petitioner to relief.
If a postconviction claim does not entitle
petitioner has failed to establish good
cause for the discovery of materials
related to that claim. See Land.'
"822 So. 2d at 481."
The State argues that the circuit court erred in granting
promotions or demotions of Detective Heath Emerson and Officer
(State's petition at page 12.)
Turner seeks the officers' personnel files.
The State asserts
that the documents do not support any claim in the Rule 32
petition; therefore, it argues, Turner failed to establish
To evaluate this claim we first consider the merits of
the issues raised in Turner's Rule 32 petition.
alleged that his counsel's performance was ineffective for
failing to properly cross-examine and impeach Det. Emerson
about his knowledge of inconsistent statements made by Taveres
McCurley -- a State witness who testified at Turner's trial.4
erroneously testified that he had not interviewed McCurley
interview of McCurley on February 27, 1996.
alleged in his Rule 32 petition that counsel failed to use
this information to impeach Det. Emerson.
Turner further asserted in his Rule 32 petition that
"Tavares McCurley, Chris Harris's
cousin, testified that on February 21,
1996, Turner came by his house and asked
him to go with him to 'get a lick' -meaning, he said, to go rob someone. He
declined. McCurley said that Turner then
walked to the back of the house to talk
with Chris Harris. He said that the two
talked for about 20 minutes and that they
left together. McCurley said that sometime
later that same day Turner came back to his
house and told him to look out the window.
McCurley said when he looked out he saw
Wilson's Cadillac parked in front of the
house. McCurley testified that Turner told
him that he had 'killed the bitch.' He told
McCurley that he killed her because he did
not want her to tell police what they had
Turner, 924 So. 2d at 746.
Kennemer concerning their knowledge of other suspects and
their suspicions concerning Trent Rainey -- one of Turner's
codefendants who testified at Turner's trial.
The State, in response to Turner's Rule 32 petition,
asserted the following:
"Turner's allegation fails to state a claim.
The petition faults trial counsel for failing to
question [Det.] Emerson on his knowledge of
McCurley's inconsistent statement, but fails to
demonstrate how Turner was prejudiced given that
culpability and that McCurley's credibility was
effectively challenged during his own testimony.
incorrectly about when Harris or Turner was first
suspected in the crime, it is irrelevant given that
the prosecution theory was that both were involved
and both were eventually convicted. ... Even had
trial counsel questioned [Det.] Emerson just as the
petition suggests was appropriate, the facts alleged
fail to demonstrate that the jury's determination
would have been affected.
Because Turner cannot
satisfy his burden of proving deficient performance
or prejudice, this claim should be summarily
dismissed under Rule 32.7(d) of the Alabama Rules of
A review of Turner's Rule 32 petition shows that Turner
failed to allege how he was prejudiced by counsel's failure to
cross-examine and impeach Det. Emerson or Officer Kennemer.
The State made a similar argument as to each claim raised
by Turner concerning the cross-examination and impeachment of
Det. Emerson and Officer Kennemer.
Thus, Turner failed to satisfy his burden of pleading under
establish good cause for the disclosure of information related
to this claim.
See Ex parte Perkins, 941 So. 2d at 249.
Even if this claim was sufficiently pleaded, we question
whether Turner could satisfy the requirements of Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1963). We have reviewed the record
of Turner's trial.6
At trial, Det. Emerson testified on
cross-examine that he was present when Chris Harris and
Tavares McCurley were interviewed but did not participate in
the questioning, that McCurley told police more than one
version of the events surrounding Wilson's death, that during
repeatedly questioned Turner about
Rainey's involvement, that Emerson was not surprised when he
learned of Rainey's involvement in the murder, and that Turner
had been reluctant to say anything about Rainey.
McCurley was thoroughly cross-examined about the fact that he
gave several different versions of the events surrounding
Wilson's murder to police. There is no indication that a more
This Court may take judicial notice of its records. See
Hull v. State, 607 So. 2d 369, 371 (Ala.Crim.App. 1992).
thorough cross-examination of Det. Emerson or Officer Kennemer
would have had any impact on, much less resulted in, a
specifically address whether the personnel files of a police
officer are discoverable during a postconviction proceeding.7
However, other jurisdictions have limited the right to obtain
this information during discovery in a criminal case.
Jeffrey F. Ghent, Annotation, Accused's Right to Discovery or
Inspection of Records of Prior Complaints Against, or Similar
Personnel Records of Peace Officer Involved in the Case, 86
A.L.R.3d 1170, 1176 (1978) ("In nearly all of the cases within
In State v. Stallworth,
So. 2d 327, 341
(Ala.Crim.App. 2006), we held that there was no good cause to
allow the defendant to obtain the employment files of several
police officers because no claim in the defendant's petition
related to the discovery request. In Drinkard v. State, 777
So. 2d 225, 255 (Ala.Crim.App. 1998), we upheld a circuit
court's refusal to order the State to disclose the criminal
records of a police officer who had investigated a defendant's
In Minor v. State, 780 So. 2d 707,
1999), we held that there was no Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S.
83 (1963), violation when the State failed to disclose the
personnel files and other information regarding the alleged
bias of State witnesses.
speculative or unsupported nature of the defendant's belief or
suspicion that the officer's personnel records would or might
contain relevant and material information favorable to the
Disclose: A Discussion of Civil Rights Law § 50-A, Protecting
Law Enforcement Officers' Personnel Records From Unwarranted
Review, 14 J. Suffolk Acad. L. 103, 104 (2000) ("Criminal
defendants have sought to gain access to police personnel
records for the purpose of using information in those records
to impeach the credibility of the police officer's testimony.
sufficient to raise reasonable doubt in the juror's mind of
the defendant's guilt.
This hope, suspicion, or possibility
of finding evidence of 'prior vicious, immoral or illegal
activities' on the part of the police officer is just the kind
of 'fishing expedition' the courts have sought to prevent."
In State v. Blackwell, 120 Wash. 2d 822, 845 P.2d 1017
(1993), the Washington Supreme Court stated:
"Defense counsels' broad, unsupported claim that
the police officers' personnel files may lead to
material information does not justify automatic
Kaszubinski, 177 N.J.Super. 136, 140-41, 425 A.2d
711 (1980) (defendant not entitled to even an in
camera inspection of police officer's personnel file
without a showing that the file contained material
information that might bear on the officer's
credibility); People v. Gissendanner, 48 N.Y.2d 543,
423 N.Y.S.2d 893, 399 N.E.2d 924 (1979) (defendant
made no factual showing that it was reasonably
likely the police officer's personnel file contained
relevant and material information); People v.
Condley, 69 Cal.App.3d 999, 138 Cal.Rptr. 515, cert.
denied, 434 U.S. 988, 98 S.Ct. 619, 54 L.Ed.2d 483
(1977) (defendant made no showing of good cause or
plausible justification for inspection); State ex
rel. Johnson v. Schwartz, 26 Or.App. 279, 552 P.2d
571 (1976) (that defendant's attorney 'heard' of
another similar incident is not a sufficient
showing); State v. Sagner, 18 Or.App. 464, 525 P.2d
1073 (1974) (whether the information exists is
120 Wash. 2d at 829-30, 845 P.2d at 1021. See State v. Butts,
640 S.W.2d 37, 39 (Tenn. Crim.App. 1982)("[C]ourts generally
deny such discovery requests when the defense does not show
that an inspection of the personnel records would yield
In Burrell v. State, 727 So. 2d 761, 766 (Miss.Ct.App.
1998), the Mississippi Court of Appeals stated:
"The appellant asserts in his fifth assignment
of error that the trial court denied him his right
to prepare an adequate defense by overruling
appellant's motion to strike the testimony of
Captain Kitchens, which was based on the court's
refusing to allow the defense to discover the
personnel file of Kitchens. Burrell advances no
legal authority in support of this argument except
cross-examination. However, the particular error
which he advances has been addressed by our supreme
court in White v. State, 498 So. 2d 368 (Miss.
1986). The appellant in White argued that he was
entitled to personnel files of a detective who was
a witness for the prosecution in order to 'sift
through in hopes of finding something damaging with
which to impeach him as a witness.' Id. at 371. The
Mississippi Supreme Court held in White that 'the
personnel file of a potential witness is not among
the required disclosure in Rule 4.06, nor does
appellant cite any authority in support of this
contention.' Id. Furthermore, the court stated that
to require an employer to 'surrender the personnel
files of an employee to be "sifted through" in such
a fashion for no good cause would be an unwarranted
invasion of privacy which this Court, under the
circumstances, will not condone.' Id."
We hold that the circuit court erred in granting Turner's
employment, training, discipline, promotions, or demotions of
Detective Heath Emerson and Officer Lee Kennemer" because
Turner failed to show good cause for the disclosure of these
documents. This discovery request is just the type of fishing
Discovery in postconviction proceedings "'is not a device for
investigating possible claims, but a means of vindicating
Land, 775 So. 2d at 852.
The State further contends that the circuit court erred
It asserts that there is no claim in the Rule 32
petition related to these records; therefore, it argues,
Turner has failed to show good cause for their disclosure.
Turner alleged in his Rule 32 petition that counsel was
ineffective for failing to present the testimony of Sgt. James
Pugh who, he says, could have testified that Turner had no
disciplinary infractions while he was incarcerated at the
Limestone County jail awaiting his capital-murder trial.
asserts that this is mitigation evidence according to Skipper
v. South Carolina, 476 U.S. 1 (1986), that should have been
presented at the penalty phase of his trial.
The record shows that the sentencing hearing before the
jury was waived after Turner became disruptive when the jury
returned a verdict finding him guilty of capital murder.
During the sentencing hearing before the circuit court the
defendant told the court that he had become a Christian while
he was incarcerated.
The probation officer's report also
states that Turner is a born-again Christian. Turner's mother
and his grandfather testified that they were shocked by
Turner's involvement in the murder because, they said, such
conduct was totally uncharacteristic for Turner.
Thus, it appears that some of the information which
Turner sought was, in part, cumulative to other evidence that
had been presented.
Also, the information contained in the
jail records was information that was within the knowledge of
available through other less intrusive means; therefore, [the
petitioner] can show no good cause for disclosing information
related to this claim."
Jackson v. State, 910 So. 2d at 808.
The circuit court erred in granting Turner discovery of the
records relating to his incarceration at the Limestone County
The State next argues that the circuit court abused its
discretion in granting Turner access to the DHR records
related to Beverly Turner (his mother), Dwight Turner (his
father), and Carolyn Coleman (his grandmother).8
As noted earlier, the circuit court allowed Turner access
to his own DHR records; however, the State does not challenge
the ruling insofar as it allows Turner access to his own DHR
asserts that he is entitled to this information because the
files may contain additional mitigation evidence that should
have been presented.
"The Alabama Supreme Court in Land did not
address discovery as it relates to confidential
files on individuals other than the petitioner.
However, this Court has noted that Alabama law
protects the confidentiality of DYS and DHR records.
See §§ 12-15-100 and 12-15-101, and § 38-2-1, Ala.
Code 1975. Because these records are confidential,
the most a party is entitled to, upon a showing of
good cause, is an in camera inspection of the
documents by a circuit court. See Gibson v. State,
677 So. 2d 233 (Ala.Crim.App. 1994). A party is not
entitled to unfettered access to records that are
not related to him and that are maintained by state
agencies specifically charged with guarding the
confidentiality of those records. See Jackson,
Ex parte Perkins, 920 So. 2d at 605 (footnote omitted).
"Certainly, it was not necessary to show the
exact amount that Perkins's mother received from the
government every month in order to show that Perkins
was raised in a poverty-stricken household. This
information was available from other sources,
without resort to subpoenaing the federal government
files. As Perkins states in his mandamus petition,
the one record he was able to obtain from DYS shows
that at the time DYS was involved Perkins was living
in a 'shack' in Berry, Alabama. When evidence is
available through less intrusive means, a petitioner
fails to establish good cause for requested
discovery. See Jackson, supra. Therefore, we cannot
say that Perkins has a clear legal right to relief
on this claim."
920 So. 2d at 606.
Here, the information Turner sought
information that was available by questioning Turner's family
Thus, the circuit court erred in granting Turner
discovery of DHR files relating to his family.
For the foregoing reasons, we grant the State's petition
and issue a writ of mandamus.
Judge Woodroof is directed to
personnel files of Det. Emerson and Officer Kennemer, the jail
records maintained by the Limestone County jail, and the DHR
records related to Turner's family members.
PETITION GRANTED; WRIT ISSUED.
Baschab, P.J., and McMillan, Shaw, Wise, and Welch, JJ.,