Alabama v. SimmonsAnnotate this Case
Charles Simmons was convicted of a Class A misdemeanor. He appealed the conviction to the Lowndes Circuit Court for a trial de novo. He was convicted and appealed the circuit court's judgment to the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the judgment and remanded the case. The State petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari review of the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The mother of the victim filed a complaint, stating that Simmons, a teacher, had had sexual contact with her daughter, who at the time the sexual contact occurred was under 19 years old. It was undisputed that the mother's complaint was not included in the file forwarded to the circuit court by the district court clerk. An information, however, was filed in the circuit court by the district attorney after Simmons had filed his notice of appeal for a trial de novo. Before the trial in the circuit court commenced, Simmons moved to dismiss the case against him because, he said, the original charging instrument from the district court, the mother's complaint, was not being used to prosecute his case, and he objected to being prosecuted on the information filed by the district attorney subsequent to his conviction in the district court. The circuit court denied his motion, and trial proceeded. Simmons was then convicted. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that, "[i]n the absence of a proper charging instrument, the circuit court could not exercise jurisdiction over Simmons's appeal," and that the circuit court's judgment was void and due to be set aside, and it reversed the judgment and remanded the case. The Supreme Court concluded after its review that the Court of Criminal Appeals erred in holding that the circuit court could not exercise its jurisdiction or that the circuit court's jurisdiction did not attach because the charging instrument from the district court was not used to prosecute Simmons's case in the circuit court.