United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division
H. Sharp Chief District Judge
petitioner, proceeding pro se, is an inmate at the
Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville, Tennessee. He
brings this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 against
Mike Parris, Warden of the facility, seeking a writ of habeas
December 7, 2009, the petitioner pled guilty in Smith County
to aggravated statutory rape and criminal exposure to HIV.
Doc. No. 55-10. For these crimes, he received an aggregate
sentence of twenty (20) years in prison. Doc. No. 55-1 at
pgs. 127 and 130.
of his plea agreement, the petitioner reserved a certified
question of law for appeal. Id. at pgs. 122-123. The
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, however, rejected the
appeal, finding that the petitioner's certified question
of law was not dispositive. Doc. No. 55-15. The Tennessee
Supreme Court later denied petitioner's request for
additional review. Doc. No. 55-18.
July, 2012, the petitioner filed a pro se petition
for state post-conviction relief in the Criminal Court of
Smith County. Doc. No. 55-19 at pgs. 4-33. The trial court
summarily dismissed the petition, concluding that the
petitioner's claims had previously been considered on
direct appeal. Id. at pgs. 34-35. Upon review, the
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed this ruling and
remanded the case back to the trial court for further
proceedings. Doc. No. 55-23.
was appointed to represent the petitioner and an amendment of
the pro se petition for post-conviction relief was
filed. Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court
denied the petitioner's request for post-conviction
relief. Doc. No. 55-27. The Tennessee Court of Criminal
Appeals affirmed the denial of post-conviction relief. Doc.
No. 55-31. For a second time, the Tennessee Supreme Court
refused to grant petitioner's request for further review.
Doc. No. 55-34.
October 8, 2015, the petitioner initiated this action with
the pro se filing of a petition (Doc. No. 1) for
writ of habeas corpus. The petition consists of three claims
for relief. These claims include:
1) trial counsel were ineffective due to misrepresentations
made by them that the certified question of law would be
considered on direct appeal (pg. 5);
2) trial counsel were ineffective for failing to properly
preserve the certified question of law for appeal (pg. 6);
3) trial counsel were ineffective for allowing petitioner
“to enter into an unknowing, involuntary, and
uninformed plea as well as allowing a plea through use of
fraud, improper promises and/or misrepresentations”
its receipt, the Court reviewed the petition and determined
that the petitioner had stated a colorable claim for relief.
Accordingly, the respondent was directed to file an answer,
plead or otherwise respond to the petition. Doc. No. 7.
respondent then filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 18),
arguing that the petitioner had failed to fully exhaust his
state court remedies for all three of his claims. The
petitioner conceded that he had not yet fully exhausted his
claims and filed a Motion to Hold Action in Abeyance (Doc.
No. 21), to allow him time to conclude the exhaustion of his
remedies in the state courts.
order (Doc. No. 22) entered January 7, 2016, the
respondent's Motion to Dismiss was denied and the
petitioner's Motion to Hold Action in Abeyance was
granted. This case was ...