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State v. King

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 22, 2015

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
TRAVIS HEATH KING

Session March 11, 2015.

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Maury County No. 22845 Robert L. Holloway, Jr., Judge.

Lee E. Brooks, Spring Hill, Tennessee, for the appellant, Travis Heath King.

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Brent Cooper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Camille R. McMullen and Roger A. Page, JJ., joined.

OPINION

JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE.

On April 8, 2014, the defendant pleaded guilty in case number 22845 to the possession of marijuana with the intent to resell within a drug free school zone and received a sentence of two years to be served at 100 percent by operation of law. The trial court ordered that the sentence be served consecutively to the "current parole violation sentence" and granted the defendant one day of pretrial jail credit. On May 2, 2014, the defendant filed pro se a motion pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 claiming that the trial court's failure to grant him the appropriate amount of pretrial jail credits rendered his sentence illegal. He claimed that his parole in case number 19290 was revoked on October 12, 2012, and that he was ordered to serve a one- year sentence for the parole violation. According to the motion, his parole was reinstated on October 16, 2013, but he was then taken to the Maury County Criminal Court to answer for the drug possession offense in case number 22845 on December 2, 2013. That conviction has an offense date of October 12, 2012. The defendant asserted in his motion that "to date . . . parole has not been revoked or re[scin]ded" in the prior case. The defendant claimed that he was entitled to pretrial jail credits in case number 22845 for the period from October 16, 2013 to April 8, 2014, because his parole in case number 19290 was not revoked before the imposition of the judgment.

On June 23, 2014, the State moved for summary dismissal of the defendant's motion, arguing that because the defendant violated his parole in case number 19290 by being indicted in case number 22845 in September 2013, he is not entitled "to any such credit" for the time he spent in jail from October 16, 2013. On June 27, 2014, the trial court summarily dismissed the motion, finding that the motion "fails to state a colorable claim that any applicable statutes have been violated."

In this timely appeal, the defendant reiterates his claim that the trial court's failure to award pretrial jail credits to which he was entitled rendered his sentence illegal.

Prior to July 1, 2013, a properly filed petition for writ of habeas corpus was the sole mechanism for pursuing an illegal sentence claim. See Moody v. State, 160 S.W.3d 512, 516 (Tenn. 2005) ("[T]he proper procedure for challenging an illegal sentence at the trial level is through a petition for writ of habeas corpus, the grant or denial of which can then be appealed under the Rules of Appellate Procedure."). Our supreme court then created new Rule 36.1, which became effective on July 1, 2013, and which provides:

(a)Either the defendant or the state 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.
(b) Notice of any motion filed pursuant to this rule shall be promptly provided to the adverse party. If the motion states a colorable claim that the sentence is illegal, and if the defendant is indigent and is not already represented by counsel, the trial court shall appoint counsel to represent the defendant. The adverse party shall have thirty days withinwhich to file a written response to the motion, after which the court shall hold a hearing on the motion, unless all parties waive the hearing.
(c)(1) If the court determines that the sentence is not an illegal sentence, the court shall file an order denying the motion.
(2) If the court determines that the sentence is an illegal sentence, the court shall then determine whether the illegal sentence was entered pursuant to a plea agreement. If not, the court shall enter an amended uniform judgment document, ...

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