WINDOM, Presiding Judge.
Benjamin Carter Mays appeals his conviction for second-degree escape, see § 13A-10-32, Ala.Code 1975, and his resulting sentence of 17 years in prison. Because the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to sustain the conviction, this Court reverses Mays's conviction and renders a judgment for him.
On May 19, 2011, Mays pleaded guilty in the Jackson District Court to possession of drug paraphernalia and was sentenced to one year in the Jackson County jail. That sentence was split, and Mays was ordered
Later that day, Mays went to the office of Brandon Brown, a court-referral and community-corrections officer with the Jackson County Community Punishment and Corrections Program. Brown and Mays completed the paperwork related to Mays's house arrest. To effect the house arrest, Brown secured a bracelet on Mays's ankle and gave him the equipment that was to be installed in his house. Brown never received a notification that the equipment had been installed.
After repeated unsuccessful attempts to contact Mays and learning that there was no telephone line installed in the house where Mays was supposed to be residing, Brown secured a warrant for Mays's arrest. Mays was arrested on September 10, 2011.
In December 2011, Mays was indicted for one count of second-degree escape. The indictment specifically charged that Mays had "escape[d] or attempt[ed] to escape from a penal facility, to-wit: The Jackson County Jail." (C. 7) (emphasis in original.) Following a jury trial, Mays was found guilty and was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
On appeal, Mays argues, among other things, that the State's evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for second-degree escape because the State failed to present any evidence that he had escaped from a "penal facility." Specifically, Mays argues that the undisputed evidence establishes that when his probation was revoked, he was "placed on house arrest." (C. 90.) According to Mays, his house is not a "penal facility"; therefore, the State presented insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction. The State, on the other hand, argues that Mays was in constructive custody of the county jail; therefore, he was in the custody of a "penal facility." Thus, the outcome of the appeal depends on whether a house constitutes a "penal facility" when a defendant was placed on house arrest. This Court holds that it does not; therefore, the State presented insufficient evidence to sustain Mays's conviction.
Initially, this Court notes:
Reid v. State, 131 So.3d 635, 639 (Ala. Crim.App.2012).
Regarding statutory construction, the Alabama Supreme Court has stated:
Ex parte McCormick, 932 So.2d 124, 132 (Ala.2005)
A person commits the crime of second-degree escape when "he escapes or attempts to escape from a penal facility." § 13A-10-32(a), Ala.Code 1975. A "penal facility" is defined as "[a]ny security correctional institution for the confinement of persons arrested for, charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, including but not limited to the following security facilities: the state penitentiary and any branch thereof or any county or city jail." § 13A-10-30(b)(3), Ala.Code 1975. See Black's Law Dictionary 396, 1314 (9th ed.2009) (directing the reader seeking a definition of "correctional institution" to the definition of "prison" and defining "prison" as a "facility of confinement for convicted criminals, esp. felons"); Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 447 (11th ed.2003) (defining a facility as "something ... that is built, installed, or established to serve a particular purpose").
Accepting all the evidence as true and according the State every legitimate inference from that evidence, this Court concludes that the State failed to present any
The State, relying on Sommerville v. State, 555 So.2d 1165, 1166 (Ala.Crim.App. 1989), argues that Mays was in the constructive custody of the county jail; therefore, his conviction should be affirmed. Unlike Mays, who was placed on house arrest, Sommerville was serving a sentence as a "trusty" in a city jail and was allowed to leave the jail to work with the janitorial staff of the police department. Id. "A city jail is a penal facility." Id. While working outside of the city jail, Sommerville escaped. Id. Sommerville was convicted of second-degree escape. Id. On appeal, he argued that the State presented insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction because he was not in custody when he escaped; instead, he was outside the jail on work release. Id. This Court rejected Sommerville's argument. Specifically, this Court held that, although Sommerville was not in actual custody while on work release, he was in constructive custody. Id.
Unlike Sommerville, who was serving his sentence in the city jail and thus escaped from a penal facility, Mays had been placed on house arrest. As discussed above, Mays's house was not a "security correctional institution" and thus was not a "penal facility" as that term is defined in § 13A-10-30(b)(3), Ala.Code 1975. Accordingly, the State's argument that Mays was in constructive custody of a "penal facility" is without merit. Because the undisputed evidence demonstrates that Mays was released under house arrest and was not in a "penal facility" as defined in § 13A-10-30(b)(3), Ala.Code 1975, the circuit court erred in denying Mays's motion for a judgment of acquittal. Therefore, this Court reverses Mays's conviction and renders a judgment in favor of Mays.
REVERSED AND JUDGMENT RENDERED.
WELCH, KELLUM, BURKE, and JOINER, JJ., concur.