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State v. Castanon

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

November 7, 2016

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
LUIS CASTANON

          Assigned on Briefs October 25, 2016 at Knoxville

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 98-C-2056 Seth W. Norman, Judge

          Luis Castanon, Hartsville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and J. Ross Dyer, JJ., joined.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE

         Background

         In 2000, the Petitioner was convicted of four counts of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated burglary and was sentenced to twenty years for each of the aggravated rape convictions and three years for aggravated burglary. Three of the aggravated rape convictions were ordered to be served consecutively, and the fourth aggravated rape conviction and the aggravated burglary conviction were ordered to be served concurrently, for an effective sentence of sixty years. The Petitioner appealed, claiming there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions and that the consecutive alignment of the three aggravated rape convictions was improper. In the direct appeal, this court affirmed the convictions and the consecutive sentences. State v. Luis Castanon, No. M2003-01491-CCA-R3-CD, 2005 WL 544724, *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 8, 2005), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 22, 2005).

         In March 2016, the Petitioner filed pro se a document titled "Rule 36.1 Correction of Illegal Sentence" ("the motion") in which he asked for relief pursuant to both Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1 and the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001, Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-30-301, et seq. ("the DNA Analysis Act"). The Petitioner claimed that his sentences are "void and illegal" because they were imposed in "direct contravention" of the DNA Analysis Act. The Petitioner "request[ed] DNA analysis be performed so that he could attack his prior convictions."[1] Additionally, the Petitioner claimed that the length of his sentence and the consecutive alignment of three of his aggravated rape sentences were imposed in direct violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-102(1) ("Every defendant shall be punished by the imposition of a sentence justly deserved in relation to the seriousness of the offense[.]") and section 40-35-103(2) ("The sentence imposed should be no greater than that deserved for the offense committed[.]").

         In a written order, the trial court found that the Petitioner's sentence was legal and summarily denied the motion. The trial court did not address the request for DNA analysis. This timely appeal followed.

         Analysis

         On appeal, the Petitioner argues that the trial court erred in summarily denying his motion. In his brief, the Petitioner claims that his sentence is illegal (1) because of "excessive prosecution, " (2) because he should have been convicted of "recklessly entering a habitation" instead of aggravated burglary, [2] (3) because the rapes occurred within a two-hour period and therefore the convictions "are without elements of a subsequent crime, " and (4) because the sentence is excessive as the victim never claimed the Petitioner "stop[ped] and came back in [the] bedroom" after the first aggravated rape.

         By failing to raise any issue concerning DNA in his brief, the Petitioner has abandoned the DNA Analysis Act claims made in the motion.

         The State argues the "trial court properly and correctly determined that the [Petitioner] failed to state a colorable claim for relief under Tenn. R. ...


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