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State v. Malone

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

January 15, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
LORENZO MALONE

Assigned on Briefs at Knoxville December 9, 2014

Appeal from the Criminal Court for Wilson County No. 011404 John D. Wootten, Jr., Judge

Lorenzo Malone, pro se, Only, Tennessee, appellant.

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Tom P. Thompson, District Attorney General; and Linda Walls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Timothy L. Easter, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Alan E. Glenn, J., joined.

OPINION

TIMOTHY L. EASTER, JUDGE

Factual and Procedural Background

Over ten years ago, a Wilson County jury found Appellant criminally responsible for the first degree felony murder of eighty-three-year-old Robbie Jones. One of Appellant's co-defendants beat Ms. Jones to death with the butt of a shotgun as she slept while Appellant burglarized her home. Appellant received a life sentence with the possibility of parole. Appellant's conviction was affirmed on direct appeal. State v. Lorenzo Malone, No. M2003-02770-CCA-R3-CD, 2005 WL 1521788 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 27, 2005). Subsequently, the denial of Appellant's petition for post-conviction relief was also affirmed on appeal. Lorenzo Malone v. State, No. M2007-02641-CCA-R3-PC, 2009 WL 636120 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 11, 2009), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 17, 2009).

On June 11, 2014, Appellant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1, alleging that his life sentence is illegal because it is outside of the applicable sentencing range for his conviction. Appellant asserted that his current sentence should be "reduced to its minimum term of punishment" for a Class A felony committed by a Range I offender. The trial court summarily denied Appellant's motion through an order entered on June 20, 2014, and Appellant timely appealed.

Analysis

Appellant maintains his argument that the trial court erroneously sentenced him outside of the applicable sentencing range. Appellant also argues, for the first time on appeal, [1] that his current sentence impermissibly lacks a fixed term of years from which his release eligibility date can be calculated. The State contends that Appellant's sentence is not illegal.

Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1(a) provides:

[A] defendant . . . may, at any time, seek the correction of an illegal sentence by filing a motion to correct an illegal sentence in the trial court in which the judgment of conviction was entered. For purposes of this rule, an illegal sentence is one that is not authorized by the applicable statutes or that directly contravenes an applicable statute.

If a defendant's motion fails to state a colorable claim, the defendant is not entitled to a hearing or appointed counsel. See Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1(b). "A colorable claim is a claim . . . that, if taken as true, in the light most favorable to the [appellant], would entitle [appellant] to relief . . . ." State v. Mark Edward Greene, No. M2013-02710-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL ...


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