DA won’t back down in Ellis case

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has denied a motion by the Pike County District Attorney’s Office to overrule a judge’s decision in the case of Andre Ellis.

The motion, filed on May 24, challenged Circuit Judge Jeff Kelley’s jurisdiction and several of the issues he raised in a May 17 order overturning the conviction of Andre Lamon Ellis.

Ellis was convicted in January of two counts of rape and one count of second-degree burglary and sentenced to concurrent terms of 85 years for each rape and 20 years for the burglary charge.

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But the court’s decision returned this week to dismiss the state’s motion isn’t the final step in the process, Anderson said. There are two more avenues the state can use.

“They haven’t looked at the first merit of this case, they are only looking at a timeliness issue, right now,” explained Pike County District Attorney Tom Anderson. “Not one issue that we took to directly contradict Judge Kelley’s order was even considered by them.”

That’s why, Anderson said, the state will likely file a motion for the court to hear the matter again. If that doesn’t work, Anderson said his office could then take the issue to the Supreme Court.

Anderson said the cases the Court of Criminal Appeals cited when denying the state’s motion were pretrial matters whereas the state’s motion dealt with a finished trial with adjudication. Anderson said the state’s motion was completely “distinguishable” from the cases cited by the court.

Even with having the rape and burglary convictions overturned, Ellis remains in prison where he is serving 22 years on a theft of property charge. Ellis’ family maintains his innocence and is hopeful the recent motion’s denial stands.

“We are super excited,” said Ellis’ brother Raymond Anderson. “We are just one step closer to getting Andre home sooner.”