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Kindred v. Lester

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

August 19, 2014

JOSEPH KINDRED
v.
JERRY LESTER, WARDEN

Assigned on Briefs June 24, 2014 at Knoxville

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Lauderdale County No. 6715 Joe H. Walker, III, Judge

Joseph Kindred, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin E.D. Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Brent A. Cooper, Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Joseph M. Tipton, P.J., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., joined.

OPINION

ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

I. Facts

A. Background

In 2010, a Maury County Grand Jury indicted the Petitioner for one count of possession with intent to sell over .5 grams of cocaine within a school zone, one count of possession with intent to sell marijuana within a school zone, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of sale of a schedule IV drug within a school zone, two counts of sale of a schedule VI drug within a school zone, two counts of sale of a schedule II drug within a school zone, and one count of sale of a schedule III drug within a school zone.

On July 22, 2011, the Petitioner entered guilty pleas to the following: one count of conspiracy to possess less than .5 grams of cocaine within a school zone, two counts of possession and sale of a schedule IV drug within 1, 000 feet of a school zone, one count of conspiracy to sell a schedule II drug within 1, 000 feet of a school zone, one count of possession and sale of a schedule III drug within 1, 000 feet of a school zone, one count of possession of marijuana with intent to sell, one count of possession of a schedule II drug with intent to sell, one count of possession of a schedule III drug with intent to sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess, and one count of conspiracy to sell a schedule II drug within 1, 000 feet of a school zone. The trial court imposed an effective sixteen-year sentence for the Petitioner's convictions.

B. Habeas Corpus Petition

In November 2013, the Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus relief. The Petitioner alleged that the judgments for his conspiracy convictions were void. He contended that the trial court was without authority to accept his guilty pleas to the conspiracy offenses because "no indictment" existed for those offenses and because conspiracy is "not a lesser included offense to the indicted offense." The Petitioner further contended that the trial court's jurisdiction was "never invoked, " because the "so-called affidavit of complaint[] had not been signed or authorized by a judge, magistrate or a neutral or detached clerk, and therefore, the subsequent conviction is a nullity."

On December 17, 2013, the habeas corpus court issued an order denying relief to the Petitioner and dismissing his petition. In its order, the habeas court concluded that any defect in the affidavit of complaint was cured by the indictment and that the indictment "satisfied the overriding purpose of providing notice to the Petitioner." The habeas court, noting that a plea-bargained sentence was "legal so long as it does not exceed the maximum sentence authorized for the plea offense[, ]" further concluded that the trial court had jurisdiction to sentence the ...


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