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State v. Vantrease

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

March 22, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
EARL VANTREASE

          Assigned on Briefs January 18, 2017 at Knoxville.

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Putnam County No. 02-0666 Gary S. McKenzie, Judge

         The Defendant, Earl Vantrease, was convicted by a Putnam County jury of aggravated robbery in 2003 and received a sixteen-year sentence as a Range II offender. Thirteen years later, the Defendant filed a motion pursuant to Tennessee Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1 requesting that the trial court correct an illegal sentence. The trial court summarily dismissed the motion. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in dismissing his motion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Earl Vantrease, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Robert W. Wilson, Assistant Attorney General; and Bryant C. Dunaway, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, JR., JUDGE.

         In 2003, the Defendant was convicted of aggravated robbery and received a sixteen-year sentence. Although he did not appeal his conviction or sentence, the Defendant unsuccessfully sought habeas corpus relief. See Earl Vantrease, Jr. v. State, No. M2012-02023-CCA-R3-HC, 2013 WL 1 896929 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 6, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Nov. 13, 2013); see also Earl Vantrease, Jr. v. Wayne Brandon, Warden, No. M2006-02414-CCA-R3-HC, 2007 WL 2917783 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 9, 2007).

         On May 11, 2016, the Defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal and void sentence pursuant to Tennessee Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1. In the motion, the Defendant alleged that the trial court enhanced his sentence using an improper enhancement factor, that his sentence was improperly enhanced based upon a previous arrest in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. (2000), that his sentence was improperly enhanced "based solely on [the] prosecutor's request, " rather than upon statutory provisions, and that he was denied his statutory right to allocution at the sentencing hearing. On May 12, 2016, the trial court summarily dismissed the motion for the failure to state a colorable claim. The court interpreted that the Defendant's motion was to obtain pretrial jail credits and concluded that the determination of pretrial jail credits must be addressed pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act. This appeal followed.

         The Defendant contends that the trial court erred by dismissing his motion for the correction of an illegal sentence because he did not allege he was denied pretrial jail credits. He raises on appeal the same allegations stated in his written motion and requests that this court review his sentence for plain error. The State responds that although the trial court erroneously determined that the basis for the Defendant's motion was related to pretrial jail credits, the Defendant nonetheless failed to state a colorable for relief. We agree with the State.

         Tennessee Criminal Procedure Rule 36.1 states, in relevant part, that

(a) Either the defendant or the state may, at any time, seek the correction of an illegal sentence by filing a motion to correct an illegal sentence in the trial court in which the judgment of conviction was entered. For purposes of this rule, an illegal sentence is one that is not authorized by the applicable statutes or that directly contravenes an applicable statute.

Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1(a). A defendant is entitled to a hearing and the appointment of counsel if the motion states a colorable ...


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