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State v. Brown

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

February 17, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MICHAEL O. BROWN

          Assigned on Briefs January 10, 2017

         Direct Appeal from the Circuit Court for Lincoln County No. 180-95 Forest A. Durard, Jr., Judge

         In 1991, the Defendant, Michael O. Brown, was convicted of sale of cocaine, and the trial court sentenced him to eleven years of incarceration. In 1996, the Defendant was convicted of sale of cocaine, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty years of incarceration to be served consecutively to his sentence for the 1991 conviction. In 2006, the Defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence. The trial court concluded that the Defendant's 1991 sentence had been improperly enhanced, so it modified the sentence to eight years. The trial court further concluded that this modification did not affect the Defendant's sentence for his 1996 conviction. After filing multiple motions to correct an illegal sentence from 2006 to 2008, the Defendant filed a motion pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36.1 in 2016, contending that his 1991 conviction was illegal and had been vacated, making the trial court's use of it as an enhancement for his 1996 sentence improper. The trial court dismissed the Defendant's motion and denied his subsequent motion to reconsider. The Defendant appeals, contending that his sentence for his 1996 conviction was improperly enhanced and that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to reconsider. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

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

          Jonathan C. Brown, Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael O. Brown.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter and Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel, and Robert J. Carter, District Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J. and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE

         I. Facts

         This case originally stems from a jury convicting the Defendant in 1991 for the sale of cocaine. State v. Michael O. Brown, No. 01-C-019203-CC000083, 1991 WL 335920 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Nov. 18, 1991), no perm. app. filed. The trial court sentenced the Defendant in the 1991 case to eleven years, as a Range I, standard offender. In 1996, a jury convicted the Defendant again of the sale of cocaine, and the State sought an enhanced sentence based on the Defendant's prior convictions, including his 1991 conviction. The trial court sentenced him to twenty years as a Range II multiple offender to be served consecutively to his eleven-year sentence. In 2006, the Defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence seeking to correct his 1991 sentence, and the trial court granted his motion based on the following set of facts and conclusions:

The Defendant testified that he was never addressed and sentenced in open court by the trial judge on any of these dates [when he appeared in court]. Indeed, [the Defendant] testified that he learned of his sentence while he was in jail.
Thus, the Defendant alleged that his sentence was "illegal and void."
At the hearing on the Defendant's motion [to correct an illegal sentence], [the Defendant] testified that one of the prior convictions attributed to him in the presentence report and in the Notice of Intent to Seek Enhanced Punishment was not [the Defendant's]. The proof, a certified copy of the judgment in a case of another Michael Brown in Rutherford County, Tennessee, show unequivocally that [the Defendant] was the not the defendant in that case.
An Addendum to the Pre-Sentence Report dated March 25, 1993, also revealed that another prior conviction attributed to ...

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