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Farmer v. Tennessee Department of Correction

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

January 27, 2017

KEITH LAMONT FARMER
v.
TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, ET AL.

          Assigned on Briefs January 4, 2017

         Appeal from the Chancery Court for Bledsoe County No. 3267 Jeffrey F. Stewart, Chancellor

         This appeal arises from a prisoner's disciplinary hearing. Keith Lamont Farmer ("Farmer"), an inmate in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC"), was convicted of a disciplinary offense. Farmer filed a petition for common law writ of certiorari seeking judicial review of the decision to discipline him. The Chancery Court for Bledsoe County ("the Trial Court") dismissed Farmer's petition on the grounds that it did not state that it was the first application for the writ, and, that it neither was sworn to nor verified. Farmer appeals to this Court. We affirm the Trial Court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court Affirmed; Case Remanded

          Keith Lamont Farmer, pro se appellant.

          Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter, Andrée S. Blumstein, Solicitor General, and, Charlotte Davis, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellees, the Tennessee Department of Correction and the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex.

          D. Michael Swiney, C.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Andy D. Bennett and Kenny W. Armstrong, JJ., joined.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION[1]

          D. MICHAEL SWINEY, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Background

         In February 2015, Farmer, a prisoner in the custody of TDOC, filed a petition for common law writ of certiorari in the Trial Court seeking judicial review of his conviction for a disciplinary offense, the details of which are not necessary to delve into for purposes of the issue raised on appeal. Farmer was convicted of the offense in November 2014, and, before filing his petition for writ of certiorari in the Trial Court, had lost on appeal at the agency level. Farmer originally filed his petition in the Davidson County Chancery Court but it later was transferred to the Trial Court. In February 2016, TDOC filed a motion to dismiss. In May 2016, the Trial Court entered an order granting TDOC's motion to dismiss. In its Order of Dismissal, the Trial Court stated as follows:

This case came before the Court for review upon the Respondents' motion to dismiss, after which the Court is of the opinion that the Respondents' motion is well-taken and should be granted. The petition for writ of certiorari filed in this cause is dismissed pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02 because: (1) Petitioner did not certify that his petition was his first application for the writ; (2) Petitioner submitted falsities in his affidavit of indigency, and; (3) the contents of the petition are not verified or sworn to. Therefore, the motion to dismiss with prejudice is GRANTED and the case is DISMISSED. Costs of this action are taxed to the Plaintiff.

         Farmer timely appealed to this Court.

         Discussion

         We restate and consolidate the issues Farmer raises on appeal as the following dispositive issue: whether the Trial Court erred in dismissing ...


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