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SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA
SPECIAL TERM, 2007
Ex parte Sheriff John Mark Tirey
PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
(In re: T.M., as next friend
of K.M.M., a minor
Charles Leonard Uptain et al.)
(Walker Circuit Court, CV-04-277)
Court for a writ of mandamus directing the Walker Circuit
Court to grant the motion to dismiss filed by Sheriff Tirey in
an action brought against him and other defendants by T. M.,
as next friend of K.M.M., a minor.
We grant the petition and
issue the writ.
T.M. is K.M.M.'s mother.
The complaint she filed on
behalf of her son alleges that K.M.M. was sexually assaulted
by Charles Leonard Uptain, an adult criminal sex offender, as
that term is defined by the Community Notification Act, §§ 1520-20 to -38, Ala. Code 1975.
Insofar as Sheriff Tirey is
concerned, T.M. alleges that the assault upon her son was the
proximate result of Sheriff Tirey's alleged failure to comply
with the community-notification procedures prescribed by § 1520-25.
against him on the ground that he is entitled to the State
immunity afforded sheriffs by Art. I., § 14, Ala. Const. 1901.
The trial court has failed to grant Sheriff Tirey's motion to
dismiss; thus, Sheriff Tirey has petitioned this Court for a
A sheriff is immune from suit under most circumstances.
"In Parker v. Amerson, 519 So. 2d 442 (Ala.
1987), this Court held that a sheriff, as an
executive officer of the State of Alabama, is
immune, under Article I, § 14, of the Alabama
Constitution, from suit based on state law claims
arising out of the execution of the duties of his
office, except for actions brought (1) to compel him
to perform his duties, (3) to compel him to perform
ministerial acts, (3) to enjoin him from enforcing
unconstitutional laws, (4) to enjoin him from acting
in bad faith, fraudulently, beyond his authority, or
under a mistaken interpretation of the law, or (5)
construction of a statute if he is a necessary party
for the construction of the statute."
Boshell v. Walker County Sheriff, 598 So. 2d 843, 844 (Ala.
See also Ex parte Sumter County, 953 So. 2d 1235,
1239-40 (Ala. 2006); Ex parte Haralson, 853 So. 2d 928, 932
T.M. claims that Sheriff Tirey negligently or wantonly
failed to fulfill duties imposed upon him as the sheriff of
Walker County by § 15-20-25.
Her claims do not fall within
any of the exceptions to the State immunity afforded sheriffs.
Consequently, T.M. has failed to state a claim against Sheriff
Tirey for which any relief can be granted.
In response to Sheriff Tirey's petition, T.M. invites
this Court to consider her claim
under the principles of
State-agent immunity expressed in Ex parte Cranman, 792 So. 2d
392 (Ala. 2000), and adopted in Ex parte Butts, 775 So. 2d 173
However, the "State immunity afforded sheriffs
... is not affected by this Court's decision[s] on State-agent
Sumter County, 953 So. 2d at 1239-40.
sheriff "is entitled to sovereign immunity, now referred to as
Ex parte McWhorter, 880 So. 2d 1116, 1117
Because Sheriff Tirey is entitled to State
immunity, we grant his petition and direct the trial court to
enter an order dismissing all claims asserted by T.M. against
PETITION GRANTED; WRIT ISSUED.
Cobb, C.J., and See, Smith, and Parker, JJ., concur.