Courts: Brad Meeks appeals conviction in death of Curt Wilson

Brad Meeks in a March 2019 booking photo (Cullman County Sheriff's Office)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Bradford Neal Meeks on June 8 submitted a handwritten request to the Cullman County Circuit Court for an appeal of his conviction in the 2017 drunk driving death of Curt Wilson, then 15. Meeks was convicted in January of criminally negligent homicide involving DUI, third-degree assault, DUI and improper lane usage. In May, he received the maximum possible sentence of 12 years on all the charges. According to the Alabama Department of Corrections, as of Tuesday he has served one year, three months and 23 days already in the Cullman and Blount County Detention Centers, for which he will receive credit on his sentence. The Department of Corrections website also noted that Meeks could be eligible for parole Nov. 13, 2022. Meeks was given 42 days to file an appeal.

Meeks did not specify his reason for filing the appeal in his brief letter to the Circuit Court, noting only his desire to appeal and requesting a court-appointed attorney for reasons of financial hardship.  Meeks’ previous defense attorneys Johnny Berry and Brandon Little withdrew following his sentencing in May. 

The Cullman County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion for retrial days before Meeks’ request, alleging juror misconduct. According to the motion, “The State discovered that one of the empaneled jurors had a felony conviction in Cullman County. A felony conviction is good grounds to challenge a juror by either party. The State would have exercised a challenge for cause against venire member.” The document, dated March 9, was filed with the Circuit Court on June 5.

On June 11, Assistant District Attorney John Bryant withdrew his motion for a retrial, stating in his new motion, “The State has elected to withdraw its petition for a new trial out of respect for the victim and victim’s family and their requests due to the extreme difficulty of going through the trauma of another trial.”

On the same day, a formal filing of Meeks’ appeal was made and the court assigned Cullman lawyer Josh O’Neal to act as his attorney, his financial hardship request being approved.

The case now moves to the Appellate Court for further action. Meeks is currently being held in the Blount County Detention Center pending appeal or transfer to a state prison.

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W.C. Mann