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State v. Prewitt

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

March 24, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
LARRY PREWITT

          Assigned on Briefs March 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County Nos. 09-04193, 09-04191 J. Robert Carter, Jr., Judge

         In September 2009, Larry Prewitt ("the Petitioner") pled guilty to two counts of aggravated burglary and was sentenced to three years in the workhouse with release eligibility after service of thirty percent of the sentence. On May 18, 2016, the Petitioner filed a "Motion to Challenge the Criminal Court Jurisdiction, " arguing that the judgments were void, his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary, and the indictments were fatally defective, which the trial court denied. After a thorough review of the record and applicable case law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

          Larry Prewitt, Mason, Tennessee, pro se.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M. Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Amy Weirich, District Attorney General; and Stephanie Johnson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., and James Curwood Witt, Jr., J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY JR., JUDGE

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Guilty Plea Submission Hearing

         The Petitioner was indicted for aggravated burglary in case number 09-04193 and 09-04194. On September 15, 2009, the Petitioner entered a guilty plea to aggravated burglary in case number 09-04193 and entered a best interest plea to aggravated burglary in case number 09-04194. At the beginning of the plea submission hearing, the prosecutor stated that in case number 09-04193, the Petitioner was "pleading guilty as indicted to a class 'C' felony, aggravated burglary[, ]" but in case number 09-04194, the prosecutor misstated that the Petitioner was pleading guilty to "a class 'E' felony, aggravated burglary." During its recitation of facts in support of the guilty plea, the State alleged that regarding case number 09-04193, on January 22, 2009, the Petitioner entered the residence of Andrew Pickens and stole property valued at $2, 000. The State alleged that regarding case number 09-04194, on January 12, 2009, the Petitioner entered the residence of Nathan Perlsen and stole property valued at $1, 100. The State further alleged that, during an interview with a police officer, the Petitioner waived his Miranda rights and signed a typed statement admitting to participating in the burglary of Mr. Perlsen's residence. The Petitioner stipulated to the State's factual basis of his convictions.

         The Petitioner agreed that he wanted to enter a guilty plea, that he had discussed the plea petition with his counsel and had signed the petition, that he understood that he was waiving his right to a jury trial and appeal, and that if he proceeded to trial he had the right to confront the State's witnesses, present his own witnesses, and to testify or not testify. The Petitioner agreed that his convictions could be used to enhance any future convictions. The Petitioner stated that he was freely and voluntarily pleading guilty. The trial court found the Petitioner guilty and accepted his pleas. The Petitioner was sentenced to three years in the workhouse with release eligibility after service of thirty percent of the sentence.

         Prior Post-Conviction Motions

         On February 27, 2015, the Petitioner filed a "Motion for Writ of Coram Nobis, " alleging that "(1) his guilty pleas violated Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; (2) his guilty pleas were entered unknowingly and unintelligently because he received ineffective assistance of counsel; and (3) there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions." Larry Prewitt v. State, No. W2015-00839-CCA-R3-ECN, 2015 WL 8555268, at * 1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 11, 2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Mar. 23, 2016). The trial court addressed the motion as a corum nobis petition and held that the petition did not state a colorable claim for relief. Id. The trial court further determined that, if viewed as a petition for habeas corpus or post-conviction relief, both forms of relief were unavailable because the sentences had expired and the petition was not filed within the one-year statute of limitations for post-conviction relief. Id. On appeal, this court concluded that "the trial court applied the proper legal standard for coram nobis relief and correctly concluded that the Petitioner is not entitled to coram nobis relief because he did not make a colorable argument for such relief based on newly discovered evidence." Id. at *3. This court further held that "[t]he trial court correctly concluded that habeas corpus relief is not available to [the] Petitioner because he is no longer restrained of his liberty by those convictions as required by Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-21-101(a)" and that "the nature of Petitioner's primary ...


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