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Bigbee v. Lindamood

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

November 29, 2016

ROOSEVELT BIGBEE, JR.
v.
CHERRY LINDAMOOD, WARDEN

          Assigned on Briefs Date: October 19, 2016

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Wayne County No. 15783 Robert L. Jones, Judge

          The Petitioner, Roosevelt Bigbee, Jr., appeals the dismissal of his habeas corpus petition in which he challenged the legality of his convictions for first degree murder and robbery and his sentences of life for the murder conviction and eleven years for the robbery conviction, to be served consecutively. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the petition was properly dismissed, and we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          Roosevelt Bigbee, Jr., Henning, Tennessee, pro se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; and Brent A. Cooper, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          John Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and Norma McGee Ogle, J., joined.

          OPINION

          JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE

         The Petitioner was convicted of first degree murder and robbery by the use of a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to life for the murder conviction and eleven years for the robbery conviction, to be served consecutively. On direct appeal, this court rejected the Petitioner's argument that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and upheld the judgment of the trial court. See State v. Roosevelt Bigbee, No. 01-C019106CC00173, 1992 WL 75849, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 16, 1992).

          The Petitioner then filed a petition for the writ of habeas corpus, arguing that his convictions violate double jeopardy principles and that he is entitled to "good-time credits." The trial court granted the State's motion to dismiss without a hearing. The Petitioner now appeals.

         ANALYSIS

         The granting or denial of a petition for the writ of habeas corpus is a question of law reviewed de novo with no presumption of correctness. Edwards v. State, 269 S.W.3d 915, 919 (Tenn. 2008). The petitioner bears the burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the sentence is void or his confinement is illegal. Wyatt v. State, 24 S.W.3d 319, 322 (Tenn. 2000).

         Article I, section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution guarantees that "the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion, the General Assembly shall declare the public safety requires it." Tenn. Const. art. I, § 15. The writ, guaranteed constitutionally, is regulated statutorily. See T.C.A. §§ 29-21-101 et seq. The grounds upon which the writ will be granted in Tennessee are very narrow. Taylor v. State, 995 S.W.2d 78, 83 (Tenn. 1999).

         Habeas corpus relief is only available when "it appears upon the face of the judgment or the record of the proceedings upon which the judgment is rendered, that a convicting court was without jurisdiction or authority to sentence a defendant, or that a defendant's sentence of imprisonment or other restraint has expired." Archer v. State, 851 S.W.2d 157, 164 (Tenn. 1993) (quotations omitted). In other words, a habeas corpus petition will only be successful where the judgment challenged is void and not merely voidable. Summers v. State, 212 S.W.3d 251, 255 (Tenn. 2007). "A voidable judgment is one that is facially valid and requires proof beyond the face of the record or judgment to establish its invalidity, " whereas "[a] void judgment is one that is facially invalid because the court did not have the statutory authority to render such judgment." Id. at 256 (citations omitted). In deciding whether a judgment is void, the question "is always one of jurisdiction, that is, whether the order, judgment or process under attack comes ...


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