Supreme Court grants rehearing

Published 10:01 pm Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Alabama Supreme Court agreed to take a closer look at a motion filed by the Pike County District Attorney’s Office to overrule a judge’s decision in the case of Andre Lamon Ellis.

“This is absolutely very good news from the State’s perspective,” said District Attorney Tom Anderson. “We’ve maintained steadfast in our position that the Court overstepped its bounds in overturning the guilty verdicts in these matters.”

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 Ellis.

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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.

Both the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court had 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. Their motion was filed in June 2013.

“We said ‘no, we disagree with you. You need to look at the case we are citing.’ We prosecuted this to the culmination of the case. The State only has rules of procedure if it applies to an appeal for pretrial matters,” Anderson said. “This is the first time anyone will actually look at our motion.”

Each decision for dismissal took the Courts three months to make. If the Supreme Court looks at the case cited and every issue the D.A.’s office has raised, as Anderson hopes, the decision will take much longer.

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.

The new trial will not be heard until the Court’s rehearing of the motion is completed.

“While there is appellate action, there would be a stay in the matter,” said Anderson.

Ellis is currently serving time for theft of property in the first degree.