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Explaining Applicable Procedural Law Through the Case of Raymond Shane Green


In a case that clarifies the separation of civil and criminal actions, the Alabama Supreme Court recently presided over an appeal stemming from Mobile County. This case, Raymond Shane Greene v. Nicki E. Patterson, illustrates the limited applicability of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, distinguishing civil actions from criminal actions in the context of procedural statutes.

Greene was originally tried in August 2015, but the trial resulted in a mistrial. As part of defense counsel’s argument for a mistrial, the defense asserted that double jeopardy would not bar a second trial. In November of 2015, Greene was convicted of the three separate charges: rape in the first degree, sodomoy in the first degree, and sexual abuse of a child under 12 years of age. Accordingly, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape charge and 99 years for the sodomy charge, to run consecutively, with an additional 10 years for the sexual abuse charge running concurrently to the other sentences. Greene filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds of double jeopardy, but the motion was denied based on his November conviction.

Following Greene’s conviction, he filed a pro see action under Rule 60(b) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides relief from a judgment or order based on mistakes, inadvertence, excusable neglect, and related circumstances. As part of his argument, Greene cited both double jeopardy and the conduct of Patterson, the prosecutor, of prosecutorial misconduct causing a mistrial as grounds to set aside his conviction. Patterson responded with a motion to dismiss, asserting that the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the complaint, that the complaint failed to state a claim, and that Patterson had state-agent immunity and prosecutorial immunity. Patterson’s motion to dismiss was granted, giving rise to this appeal.

The Alabama Supreme Court ultimately affirmed Patterson’s dismissal. Greene’s conviction was a criminal matter, and yet his action against Patterson was a civil action, brought under the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court found, however, that the Rules of Civil Procedure govern civil actions, but are not applicable to criminal proceedings. Instead, criminal defendants seeking post-conviction relief may seek remedies under Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure. Because the Court lacks the power to interfere with criminal laws through civil action, the dismissal of the claims against Patterson was proper.

Raymond Shane Greene v. Nicki E. Patterson demonstrates the limited applicability of procedural laws in Alabama. Although the Rules of Civil Procedure provide a path to relief in civil matters, criminal proceedings and civil proceedings are separated under the law. It is important to remember that, as a general rule, while post-conviction relief may be available, it can only be reached through the appropriate channels, whether that be criminal or civil.

If you have a Federal Criminal case, a State Criminal case, a Municipal Case or a Family Law case, contact Joe Ingram or Ingram Law LLC at 205-335-2640. Get Relief Get Results.


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