Supreme Court denies DA’s motion in Ellis case
Published 11:31 pm Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The Alabama Supreme Court on Wednesday 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 challenged Circuit Judge Jeff Kelley’s jurisdiction and several of the issues he raised in a May 2013 order overturning the rape conviction of Andre Lemon Ellis. Ellis was convicted in January 2013 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.
District Attorney Tom Anderson said he was disappointed the Supreme Court chose not to address the issues raised by the prosecution. “We were hoping they would address the issues because we were very strong in our position,” he said. “We stand fervently behind our previous response.”
Both the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court dismissed the petition based on timeliness issues, saying the District Attorney’s Office failed to file the appeal of Kelley’s ruling within a seven-day window mandated by law.
Anderson said, however, that the DA’s office believes Kelley analyzed conflict in testimony that “should have been hashed out by cross-examination” and utilized that to grant a motion for a new trial. “We stand by everything we asserted in response to Judge Kelley’s ruling,” he said.
In overturning Ellis’ conviction and ordering a new trial, Kelley cited “inconsistency” in one victim’s testimony and “reasonable probability” that the results of the first trial would have been different if the state had disclosed other evidence.
Anderson said his office will ask for a rehearing in the case as well as begin preparing to take the case to trial again.
J. Taylor, Ellis’ attorney, said he was pleased with the Supreme Court ruling. “We felt confident they were going to uphold the judge’s order.”
Taylor said he and his client now must prepare for a new trial. “Obviously we’re going to need some time since we now have all the evidence to prepare for trial.”
A new trial date has not been sent. Ellis remains in prison where he is serving 22 years on an unrelated theft of property charge.