Alabama Supreme Court to Address Denial of Credit for Time Served on Death Row


On October 6, 2008, the Alabama Supreme Court agreed to review Wesley Quick’s case, in which the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Mr. Quick was not entitled to any credit for over seven years he spent on death row before being acquitted of capital murder. In a brief filed on October 17, 2008, Equal Justice Initiative attorneys representing Mr. Quick argued that the Alabama Supreme Court should reverse the lower court’s decision and get credit for the time he served in prison.

In 1995, Mr. Quick was accused of committing three separate burglaries on three different dates in October 1995 and of capital murder. He was arrested in November 1995 and has been detained ever since. The prosecutor chose to proceed against Mr. Quick on the capital murder charge first while the three burglary charges remained pending.

Mr. Quick was convicted of capital murder on September 30, 1997. He spent over seven years on Alabama’s death row before winning a new trial on appeal. On April 21, 2003, he was acquitted of capital murder.

On October 24, 2003, he pleaded guilty to the separate burglary charges that had been pending during that time, and the trial judge ruled he was entitled to credit for the time he had served on death row.

The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the circuit court’s decision, wrongly holding that because Mr. Quick was convicted, sentenced to death, and ultimately acquitted of capital murder while he was simultaneously awaiting resolution of his burglary charges, he was not entitled to credit toward any sentence for the years he spent in prison.

The Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision would require Mr. Quick to serve those seven and a half years of his sentence over again. His case raises a question of first impression to the Alabama Supreme Court, and asks that Court to find that the Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision unfairly penalizes Mr. Quick for being acquitted of capital murder by refusing to grant him credit for time served toward his remaining convictions.