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Lovera v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

December 30, 2014

ALICIA SHAYNE LOVERA
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Assigned on Briefs November 4, 2014.

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. P39701 John W. Campbell, Judge.

Alicia Shayne Lovera, pro se, Henning, Tennessee, as the appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Thomas D. Henderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Alan E. Glenn, J., joined.

OPINION

ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE.

Alicia Shayne Lovera ("the Petitioner") appeals from the habeas corpus court's summary dismissal of her petition for writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the Petitioner argues: (1) that the judgment of conviction is "illegal, null, and void on its face" and (2) that the habeas corpus court erred in dismissing her petition without a hearing. We conclude that the judgment of conviction is not void and that the habeas corpus court did not err in dismissing her petition without a hearing.

Factual and Procedural Background

This Court summarized the facts in its post-conviction opinion, as follows:

On November 6, 1994, United States Park Rangers located a Jeep at the bottom of a one hundred foot embankment on U.S. Highway 441. Inside the Jeep, they discovered the body of the deceased, Kelly J. Lovera. The deceased had multiple wounds to the head. An investigation ensued resulting in the arrest of [the Petitioner] and Brett Rae, the co-defendant in this case and the alleged lover of [the Petitioner].
[The Petitioner] and her co-defendant were jointly tried. A jury found both [the Petitioner] and her co-defendant guilty of first degree murder. Although the death penalty was not sought, the State had provided notice that it was seeking a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. On the morning of the sentencing hearing, [the Petitioner] entered into an agreement with the State which provided that she would plead guilty to first degree murder in exchange for a sentence of life with the possibility of parole. In return, the State relinquished the right to seek a sentence of life without parole. The judgment form also reflects that [the Petitioner] waived her right to file either a direct appeal or a collateral post-conviction attack of her conviction.[1]

Alecia Shayne Lovera v. State, No. 03C01-9901-CC-00030, 2000 WL 2646, at *1, (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 4, 2000) reh'g in part granted, No. E1999-01964-CCA-R3-PC, 2000 WL 151164 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 11, 2000).[2]

The Petitioner in her post-conviction appeal claimed that (1) she received ineffective assistance of counsel, (2) her plea was coerced and involuntary, and (3) entry of a guilty plea following a jury verdict of guilt violated her protection against double jeopardy. In addressing the third issue, this Court stated:

There are no limitations under the Tennessee Constitution, Criminal Code, or Rules of Court which would per se prohibit the entry of a guilty plea after a jury verdict had been returned. A guilty plea is in itself a conviction and is conclusive as to the defendant's guilt. Thus, under the circumstances before us in this case, we construe the appellant's subsequent entry of a guilty plea to effectively supercede the jury verdict of first degree premeditated murder. Cf. Haskins v. Commonwealth, 500 S.W.2d 407, 408-409 (Ky. App.1973). But see Daye v. Commonwealth, 21 Va.App. 688, 467 S.E.2d 287, 289 (Va. Ct. App.1996) (entry of guilty plea after jury verdict is moot). The effect of the guilty plea is to nullify, for all practical purposes, the ...

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