Ex parte State of Alabama.Annotate this Case
Jeffery Duncan pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor, and to unlawful possession of a controlled substance, a Class D felony. Before sentencing, Duncan made application to, and was accepted into, the Clay-Coosa Drug Court Program. The trial set Duncan's case on the next drug-court docket and continued the imposition of Duncan's sentence pending Duncan's successful completion of, or expulsion from, the drug-court program. Duncan was accepted into the drug-court program in January 2017. Less than a month later, Duncan was sentenced to 48 hours in jail for violating the terms and conditions of the drug-court program. Duncan was subsequently sentenced to jail on three additional occasions for violating the terms and conditions of the drug-court program. In May 2017, the circuit court removed Duncan from the drug-court program, based on a recommendation of the drug-court-program coordinator and on the circuit court's finding that Duncan was unwilling and/or unable to abide by the rules of the program. On appeal, Duncan argued that the sentences imposed by the circuit court "represented an improper departure from the presumptive sentencing standards," because the circuit court imposed a period of incarceration, although he says the presumptive sentencing standards did not provide for incarceration under the facts of his case. The Alabama Supreme Court determined section 13A-5-8.1 authorized (but did not require) the circuit court to impose a prison or jail sentence on Duncan. The duration of the sentence was to be determined as provided in the presumptive sentencing standards. The parties agreed the duration of the sentence imposed on Duncan was consistent with the presumptive sentencing standards. The Court reversed the judgment of the majority of the Court of Criminal Appeals.