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Ex Parte Simmons

649 So.2d 1282 (1994)

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Ex Parte Simmons

Alabama Supreme Court

649 So.2d 1282 (1994)

Facts

Michael Simmons (defendant) was in the back of a pickup truck with several other men on a public street. Simmons and the other men in the truck began shooting at their intended victim, Vernon Peterson, who was on the sidewalk. One of the bullets entered a car being driven behind the pickup truck and struck and killed a three-year-old boy. Evidence recovered at the scene showed that at least three different weapons had been fired. It was not possible to determine which gun, or which individual, had fired the fatal shot. Simmons was charged with two alternative classes of murder under a theory of accomplice liability. The prosecution (plaintiff) admitted that it could not prove that Simmons had fired the shot that killed the child but contended that Simmons had aided and abetted in the reckless conduct that resulted in the killing. Simmons was convicted of reckless murder and appealed. The court of criminal appeals reversed the conviction and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that it was an error for the trial court to hold that a defendant could be convicted of reckless murder on a complicity theory. Simmons and the prosecution both petitioned for certiorari with the Alabama Supreme Court, and both petitions were granted. The prosecution alleged that the court of criminal appeals erred in reversing the conviction because a reckless-murder conviction could rest on a complicity theory. Simmons alleged that the court of criminal appeals erred in not rendering a judgment in his favor.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

Dissent (Almon, J.)

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